Publicity director, 48. Returned to Bendigo, Victoria, in 2015 after 29 years away.
I left Bendigo when I was 17 to go to uni, thinking I’d never come back. Leaving made me realise the world was much bigger than that little pocket and the friendship group I grew up with.
I studied in Warrnambool and then moved to Sydney. Then my little sister Peta got sick with ovarian cancer and the world ground to a halt.
I transferred to Melbourne to be close to her, but she didn’t make it. She was 21. That derailed me and made me realise that life is short. So I went travelling. The world was a safer place then, I felt like the universe was supporting me. I stayed in the UK for five years, but then the visas and opportunities ran out and I got homesick.
I came back to Melbourne and ran my own PR business. It was exhausting and stressful, but I loved it. When a huge development commenced next door to my townhouse in South Melbourne, I knew there was no way I could live next door to something that was seven storeys up and three down. I thought, “Bugger it. I’ll go back to Bendigo until I work out what to do.”
I knew I could run my business and maintain my