Bay of Plenty Times reporter Caroline Fleming left Auckland - land of notoriously bad peak hour traffic - looking for a cheaper lifestyle and an escape from the busyness of our bursting-at-the-seams biggest city. She found those things in the Bay of Plenty. But she also found that, for the right job, she would have to accept that not all grass was greener on the other side of the Bombay Hills. Like so many others in this region, the big commute has become her daily reality.
My alarm goes off at 6am every morning.
But every minute I try to cling on to my slumber is another minute I will be late to get in my car and make the one-hour commute to work.
My morning routine starts with a quick whizz of the smoothie machine with the radio loud.
I hit the road at 6.30am for my 7.30am start at work.
I am not the only one on the road, not by a long shot.
Many people I come across tell me "my husband did that" or "I know someone who had to do that", giving me comfort that the Rotorua to Tauranga commute for work is not an uncommon one.
• Workers hit the road early for Bay commutes
So why do I do it? As someone who is fresh out of university, living at home in Rotorua is a lot cheaper than renting in Tauranga.
The $200 I fork out each fortnight on gas is a much smaller hit than those living expenses.
After living three years in Auckland, I needed an escape from the hustle and bustle and coming back down to the beautiful Bay for a job that would kick off my journalism career was a no-brainer.
Although my day can seem just that bit longer with an hour attached either end, living at home gives me the chance to cross out all that life admin like cooking dinner and doing my dreaded washing.
I like to think my commute is a sacrifice I make for good reason.