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The homecoming.

Fourteen years ago Alice Sims couldn’t have anticipated returning home, but now she is grateful to be back.

May 3, 2019

Words: Alice Sims
Images: Billy Butler

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For the last 10 years I have been operating my own fitness business in the trendy corporate environment of East London. Returning to regional Victoria after such a long time has meant some adapting and adjusting, both personally and professionally. I am curious as to how I will fit back in but the future is promising. —

My clients in London were mostly corporate professionals, some of them triathletes in training and some were new mothers, but I was happy to share my knowledge and approach to fitness with all of them. All humans need both strength and flexibility to live a balanced life. So far, I can say that across both countries clients seem to have similar goals: predominantly weight loss, stress reduction or both. Stress seems to be a big factor. One might expect stress levels to be lower in a beautiful place like Gippsland compared to hectic city life. But with the many stressors associated with the economic downturn, drought and mental health issues, I have noticed the need for stress management strategies. I think I can play a role here with my approach to functional movement, my yoga teaching, my mindfulness training and my knowledge around core strength and pelvic health. Luckily I am coming home at the right time. There seem to be a lot of new and exciting things happening here right now. When I visited in the past, I felt not much had changed but with more young people moving back there’s more to do and more on offer. Country living can be isolated and it’s easy to slip into being a bit reclusive, given the distances to drive are so long. That’s why I think it’s important to continually invest in our social activities, sports and networking. If we continue to invest in trying new things, we will meet like-minded people and develop a strong sense of community. Having lived in such a busy city I missed the feeling of community most of all. Sometimes it takes leaving a place to gain a different perspective and be able to see what’s in front of you. Life can be full of surprises, changes and adaptations. For me, coming back to Gippsland has been a big transition. When I left 14 years ago I couldn’t have anticipated returning, but I am now grateful to be here. With stunning and ever-changing nature as a backdrop and familiar faces on every corner, I am home.

Why East Gippsland is rocking right now:

Great community vibes; it seems the locals are always up for a chat!Farmers’ markets selling fresh local produce.The fitness and yoga scene is popping!Great variety in cafés, restaurants, wineries and breweries.Shops supporting local artists and designers.Increased local and global environmental concerns and awareness — to make a change.We are stronger together. Gippslandia #10 - Feature. - The Homecoming.

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