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Murray Pioneer Pilot Piece

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During a recent morning on the Magic 93.1 breakfast show, at around 8.42am, I made my co-host, Lachlan Winnall, sniff my under arms.

He couldn't have escaped it if he tried. I came straight for him – pits gaping and ready to unleash their fragrance for final verdict. This was all part of a controlled social experiment, of course. We were testing if 48-hour deodorant can in fact claim two days of odour-free coverage. I couldn't take a whiff of my own scent - that would be scientific misconduct.

Lachie didn’t exactly jump at the opportunity to be my sample audience, but he was the only other guy in the room. So being the sweetheart he is, he took a hit for the team and a hit of my aroma to provide the Riverland with impartial results. Turns out, 48 hours is a bit of a sham.

This was a likely an uncomfortable situation for Lachie. I mean, we're mates but when it comes to formalities we usually behave like humans, not dogs. I must admit I felt a slight prong of empathy as I shoved my un-masked axillae in his face, even though I knew it was for a good cause. Perhaps this was because I too have been recently reacquainted with the feeling of discomfort.

In February 2017, at 25 years old, I packed my entire life into a Ford Focus and drove 1,165km from Sydney to the Riverland to start a new job, a new lease, and a new life, all on my own. No matter how much of a gangster you think you are, that is uncomfortable.

But I got lucky. The Riverland took me under its own armpit and was kind to me in ways I never expected.

In the last four months, I have learned the importance of community, of team sport, of nature. I have learned that age doesn’t matter and if your friends have kids but you don’t, they’re still cool. I have learned that mastering stillness is far more difficult than mastering any city-centric timetable I’d juggled in the past. I have learned that hospitality is essential and kindness needn’t be accompanied by expectation.

More importantly, my snap move to the Riverland has taught me that in order to get the best results, sometimes you’ve got to get a little comfortable in the uncomfortable.

Originally published in The Murray Pioneer

Paige Leacey