Penny Wedesweiler took a leap.
Living in South Yarra and an established career, she leapt from her home to move four hours away and start a new job in Horsham.
Though she revels in the freedom, open space and community Horsham offers, she said the move was a lot harder than she anticipated.
"In the middle of stage four last year I went through a career crisis and I was really struggling with my work," she said.
"I loved it; it just wasn't going so well.
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"Everyone responded really differently to COVID-19 and it created a lot of challenges to overcome in a lot of different ways."
Ms Wedesweiler said in the middle of the restrictions, her apartment building in South Yarra had a serious fire.
"There were flames hitting the ceiling, exploding windows. It was very dramatic," she said.
"It made me think what I want to do with my life."
She found a graduate certificate in emergency and disaster management.
"Emergencies aren't going anywhere," Ms Wedesweiler said.
"I signed up to my course, put it on my CV and got a job in Horsham two weeks later."
Ms Wedesweiler works for the Wimmera Emergency Management team, which operates across four councils.
"I was hoping to move regionally at some point," she said.
"I was very ready to leave Melbourne.
"There is a collective fatigue in Melbourne. People are broken. That stage four lockdown really broke a lot of people.
"I feel very lucky to get away."
"I've been lucky to meet some really genuinely lovely and supportive people who I'm really grateful to be able to call friends."Penny Wedesweiler
One of the biggest challenges was finding a place to live in Horsham.
"It took me a few months to be able to move up here after I got the job because there was just nowhere to live," Ms Wedesweiler said.
"It's so tough in Horsham. Things come on the market for just hours and get snapped up really quickly."
She said she is glad to get away from the confinement of Melbourne after such a challenging year.
"It was psychologically debilitating in Melbourne," she said.
"It affected everybody in different ways."
Ms Wedesweiler said her job has helped with the transition into a new town.
"I do feel very lucky that I have come in and been really warmly embraced by my colleagues," she said.
"They've made the transition here really easy. I've been lucky to meet some genuinely lovely and supportive people who I'm grateful to be able to call friends.
"People just say hello to you. I walk and run along the river, and everyone says hello.
"I spent six years in the country, and it's nice to have that friendliness there again.
"The sense of community is incredible. Even as an outsider I have felt very welcomed."
She said not only space, and open sky is a breath of fresh air but the higher morale with COVID-19.
"It's such a non-event here," she said.
"People feel annoyed when they were locked down here when the cases were in Melbourne, which I can appreciate.
"I was freaking out with the third lockdown here, but people were just annoyed.
"People just accepted it in Melbourne; it was a bit like Stockholm Syndrome.
"There isn't that fear here."
Ms Wedesweiler said she had embraced trying more things to meet more of the Horsham and Wimmera community.
"I'm doing stuff I would never do in Melbourne," she said.
"I love food and wine, so I went to Great Western.
"I really like Dimboola Store. The places around Horsham have a lot to offer."
Ms Wedesweiler sells knitted and crochet beanies and gloves to meet new people at the local markets around the Wimmera.
But she advised those who want to make a tree change to take it one step at a time.
"It's hard to turn up to a new town and have to start all over again," Ms Wedesweiler.
"You need a certain amount of fortitude to get through some lonely times.
"It can be romanticised but the reality is that it can be really hard."
Ms Wedesweiler said the lockdown in Melbourne placed her in good stead to weather the loneliness and isolation when starting a new life in regional Victoria.
"Be prepared to push yourself out of your comfort zone," she said.
"You have to push yourself to get out there and make friends.
"Try new things and see what sticks. You get out what you put in.
"There is a lot on offer and it's up to you what you make work for you."
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