When Sarah Carli touched down in Italy last weekend, the memories came flooding back.
The memories of a successful junior career that until recently looked set to be the pinnacle of her athletics journey.
But now, in the final stages of her preparation for the upcoming Athletics World Championships in Doha, the 400 metre hurdler is determined to create new memories.
"Getting off the plane, that's when it started to get more exciting," Carli said. "Having a few of the guys here that I went to World Juniors with, the memories come flashing back. I have fond memories from both my junior experiences and I think this will be the same.
"It's my first time as a senior athlete, so I'm here to take it all in. I raced internationally as a junior, but this is on a completely different level.
"I did always race quite well at the big international meets as a junior, so hopefully if I could handle it at 17, now that I'm more mature and a bit older, I'll take those skills with me into this meet."
Carli will be joined in Doha by fellow Illawarra products Ryan Gregson and Jessica Hull, with the pair both racing over 1500m.
Like Hull and Gregson, Carli impressed as a junior athlete, however her journey to the top has involved a number of twists and turns.
As she battled a string of injuries and attempted to juggle university and work commitments, athletics took a backseat in Carli's life.
Once she graduated from uni and found herself in a full-time job, she was able to recommit to her running. Slowly, the steady gains turned into bigger leaps before the Kembla Joggers athlete finally broke through at the Canberra Track Classic in January.
That race saw Carli run a one-second personal best and upset Australian hurdles superstar Lauren Wells with a stunning surge down the home straight.
As well as defeating Wells, Carli ran a World Championships qualifier and she's spent the past eight months building towards the competition.
While the winter can often be a tough slog for track and field athletes, Carli said this year has been different. With a clear goal to work towards, she's continued the heavy training throughout the colder months and she's confident she will arrive in Doha in top physical shape.
"This winter was a bit different. We didn't want to keep racing and come to the World Championships tired, so we structured the program as a bit of a condensed season.
"Knowing I have something to work for made it a little easier, sometimes slugging it out in winter is tough, with no racing coming up.
"The training I've done leading up to Doha has been quality, I'm feeling fit, really good. We're shortening everything up now and getting ready to race.
"You don't go to these meets without wanting to make a final, so to make a final and run a personal best, that's all I can hope for.
"I feel like I'm ready to run a PB, and I'm not far off the Olympic qualifier, so that's a target for me."
While you're with us the Illawarra Mercury is offering sport readers 20% off an annual digital subscription. Sign up to stay up to date with all the local sports you love for only $3.00 a week. Terms and conditions apply.