Growing up in Ambleside on the North West Coast, coming to Launceston for the day was a big deal when I was a kid.
There'd be the anticipation build-up throughout the week, talking to friends about getting to go to Launceston and what I was going to get up to.
Before one trip, I remember losing a tooth - and the Tooth Fairy gave me extra money to buy myself a treat, which was just the best thing in the world back then.
I loved the drive from Devonport to Launceston - often stopping at the Deloraine Deli for a toasted sandwich with my parents and a play at the Train Park to burn off some energy.
Getting to Launceston was the best part. I don't remember too much of what happened on those trips, but things that stand out are the giant Anzac cookies that I got from a cafe close to Myer, and what seemed like countless hours wandering around, shopping at all the "big shops" we didn't get in Devonport.
The Myer toy section seemed like it went on for miles at that age - and I still have with me a toy reindeer that my dad got me as a surprise after one trip to the Christmas section.
Some of my happiest childhood memories come from those trips.
When we moved to Hobart I didn't visit Launceston as much - travelling up the Bass Highway we'd do our usual Deloraine stop, but Launceston just didn't have that shine for shopping anymore, not compared to the "big city" I now lived in.
(2003 was a very different time.)
Launceston is somewhere I did continue to periodically visit.
As a teenager, I'd jump on the Redline bus from Hobart to Devonport to visit my grandparents in the school holidays, and a stop at the Transit Centre always meant hot chips - to be quickly scoffed before boarding the bus again.
There was a time a group of friends and I bussed up to attend an under-age local music concert back in 2011 which was the first time I really spent much time in Launceston itself.
It wasn't until I started working in the media industry that I visited Launceston more often to see the friends that I made - there were a few weekend trips, and visits on the way back from Devonport.
And so, when the opportunity presented itself for me to move to Launceston and start working at the Examiner I thought, why not?
I'd grown up reading The Advocate when I was younger and the Sunday Examiner of a weekend, so the opportunity to work somewhere that had played a big part in my life growing up was something I couldn't deny.
But, there were questions from my friends - mainly, why would you move to Launceston, when Hobart is so much better?
And for a while, I was inclined to agree - but I've discovered there's a lot to love about Launceston.
For starters - you can leave from a destination 10 minutes away and actually get there 10 minutes later - it took me a long time to realise I don't need to leave half an hour early anymore.
We might complain when the traffic banks up on Wellington Street after 5pm - but if you've battled Macquarie Street and the Southern Outlet in Hobart on a daily basis like I have it's absolutely nothing.
While I'm at it - the drivers are so much nicer than what I've experienced in Hobart - try and merge on Davey Street and you'll be waiting a while.
But where I live here, I need to merge onto a busy road - and even in school traffic of a morning I never have to wait for more than three cars to pass before somebody lets me in.
I've definitely complained that I can't get a roll of sushi anywhere in walking distance from the office on a Sunday - but I honestly don't need it, and that just gets me to actually make my lunch and not waste money, so I'm the real winner from that one.
Nando's is yet to open a location - but that's good for both my wallet and my waistline.
Plus, we now have a Boost Juice ... funny how I'm still yet to go to there.
The food truly is incredible though - I'm yet to eat my way through nearly as many bars and restaurants as I'd like, but there's no denying why Launceston restaurants are hailed as being at the top of the Australian food scene.
Then, there's the Cataract Gorge. I didn't really understand why it was so special to people for a long time, but I do now.
There's something so stunning about its natural beauty, the free walks and the beautiful views they offer, and it is absolutely captivating to witness during different stages of flooding after heavy rain.
I did a walk at the Gorge three days in a row - and it was beautiful and magnificent in different ways every single time.
I covered a kayaking event in January, and getting to see people at speed going down was spectacular - along with seeing how many people gathered on the rocks and along the pathways to enjoy the fun.
Not to mention Launceston is in a great spot in the state - it's an hour to visit my grandparents in Devonport (which I definitely don't do often enough, sorry guys), an hour and a half to visit some of my best friends in Burnie, and now that the Midland Highway roadworks are all but done, a little over two hours to head back to Hobart for the weekend.
On a day off recently I did a day trip to the snow in Waratah with a group of friends - and was back in the CBD for a massage by 2pm. How many places can you live where you can do trips like that?
I didn't know how I'd feel when I moved to Launceston - I felt like I'd be marooned somewhere, a decent drive away from my friends or my family.
But Launceston has grown on me.
I've made some incredible friends, visited some incredible places and had some incredible experiences.
When someone asks me where I'm from, I might still initially say Hobart - but I'm pretty okay with referring to Launceston as my home.
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