Moving to a city for the first time can be a daunting prospect, but the more effort you put in, the more you will be rewarded. Learning to love where you live is no exception. It won’t suddenly happen over time but like all good things in life, topophilia — ‘a love of, or emotional connection with a place or physical environment’ — takes a conscious effort to develop.
If this sounds like something you could do with working on, you’re in the right place. Our suggestions below will help you get started and well on the way to loving where you live.
Do your research
Before you arrive somewhere as a tourist, chances are you will have spent time researching some cultural places to visit, great places to eat, and fun activities to take part in. Yes, you’ll have also spent a little more than usual in the process, but by the end of the holiday you’ll really feel like you’ve got to know the area and experienced much of what it has to offer.
Think about how you actively explore a holiday destination and try applying the same levels of enthusiasm and research into your local area. You can take your time, and spread the cost, you’ll hopefully be living there for longer than a week or two.
Change your attitude
A positive attitude can transform your feelings about a place. So, if you find yourself constantly banging on about the negatives, try switching things around. All areas have their fair share of downsides so focus on changing your perspective and start seeking out some positives. The more positives you can find the more you will grow to like, and enjoy, living in an area. Remember, try not to let your happiness be defined by the area in which you live.
Go for a walk
As well as being a great form of exercise, walking allows us more time to experience our surroundings, connect with people and explore what’s between our home and our destination. This is especially true when living in London when jumping on the underground can take longer, cost more and prevent us from exploring beyond the beaten tracks. Walking around your local area is a fantastic way to discover the real community in which you live and not just the tourist hotspots.
If you’re new to living in London there are some great walks you can download which will educate you in the process. Try these self-guided walks for starters http://www.walklondon.com/
Meet the locals
Developing a relationship with your neighbours has less to do with shared interests and activities and more to do with just being friendly to each other.
If the mere thought brings you out in hives, start by saying hi to your local shopkeepers and build up gradually. They will provide a font of knowledge about the local area so are perfect for making recommendations for places to eat, or local clubs that might exist but aren’t well publicised.