I took this job without ever having seen Esperance.
I remember my boss frequently calling before I was given the position and asking “Do you know where it is? have you looked on the map? Are you sure about this?”
At the time I couldn’t imagine how much my life was going to change and what a significant impact this experience would have on me.
It was hard to see myself living here but now I struggle to picture leaving.
Sadly that is just what I have decided to do. In my eight months here I have developed greatly as a journalist and as a person.
I lived on my own for the first time, made friends for life and was forced to start shopping at Woolworths due to the fact the is no Coles in town!
I’ve learned how fulfilling it is becoming a part of a community, something I will take with me for the rest of my life.
I have witnessed strength, despair, joy and unity and I have had the privilege of telling a number of your wonderful stories, some of which changed the way I see the world.
I have learned to appreciate the little things in life again, like sand that squeaks, fresh ocean air and good friends.
In my time as your journalist I have been berated and I have been praised, with the valuable lesson being to always listen carefully and remain humble.
It was amazing how quickly I became used to being away from my hometown Perth, I hardly flinched when I left.
But the thought of getting in my car and driving away from here on Saturday morning makes my stomach flip.
I get the sense I’ll be constantly looking back wondering what I’m missing.
The amount of people I’ve met who have stories like “I was only meant to be here for two years and here I am 18 years on”.
It’s a really hard place to walk away from.
I’m sure you’re all tired of seeing young journalists come and go from your town, but please don’t be mistaken, as steep as the learning curve may be, this is a fantastic community to work in.
I’m leaving behind a great friend and an awesome writer who is incredibly passionate about her job.
I hope you all realise what a valuable asset Caitlyn is to your local paper and how much she cares about this town, so please be sure to treat her kindly.
You all just need to keep doing what you’re doing down here because whatever it is works.
Thanks for the experience Esperance.