Imagine moving to a new city and living your best life. 3 months ago, that’s exactly what my friend Rebeqa did. She took the leap, hightailed across the globe, and set off on a new journey. (She’s kind of awesome like that.) Now that the chaos is settling the fun begins: today we sat down to think through cultivating her new SENSE OF PLACE AND HOME.

She wants to feel inspired in her home and her new city – live her life fully integrated, and engaging in activities she enjoys. It’s so easy to just run around focused on work and forget to fully LIVE in your home city. We could all use a little intention setting around this.

So we sat down today to write a big ole list of things to discover!

🏡 1. Making a new house a home.

• Designing Activities Zones

• Rest and Relaxation Area! (Including setting out her Oculus, coloring books, and art supplies.

• Thinking about color and texture and smell

Because she works remotely, she wanted to define a new workspace that doesn’t make her dislike the vibe of that area of the house during non-work hours. Ultimately, we determined she could do some sort of visual reset – like a “relax plant” or “fur blanket” to nest in off hours.

  1. Next step was to make a list of neighborhood integration. Find or ID her “places”:

• Library Card
• Plant Store and/or gardening!
• Crafts store (or art supplies)
• Health store
• Favorite Post Office (and how do you send registered mail?)
• Easy access pharmacy

☕️ And for the priorities:

Coffee shops (vibes: “sit for hours”; “place that has food”; “place for working”; “Instagrammable and MOOD”)

And food options:
• Late night reliable takeout
• Backup quick meals out on the go (good burger! great Himalayan!)

A High Tea place.

💆🏻‍♀️ 3. We then identified self care options based on her preferred relaxation:

• manicures, massages, Korean spa, Hammam
• Place (or people) to cuddle with animals (ie: Cat Cafe)

Green spaces within WALKING DISTANCE
• City Parks, Hiking Parks within a 15 minute 🚗

We noodled here a little more:

• Picnic Spots
• Places with a VIEW
• Best Water Vistas (pond, river, lake, stream, ocean
• Fancy Houses of Note “national registry houses”

Also, finding a local Independent bookstore run by a woman with cats (my addition, but seems right.)

👋 4. We wanted to identify places for her to learn and connect with people (other than say, bars and partying.)

• SALON/Intellectual Events
• Local Startup Culture (there’s a startup hub)
• Drawing Classes (she’s already been going and signed up for more!
• Hiking Groups

🚌 5. Lean into being a tourist in your own home city.

• Tourist-ing in place “where to take people to visit” (ID Top 10 attractions; completing a city museum bingo)

• Tourist-ing within 3 hours of travel
• When safe: fly fly fly! Visit Friends – according to best weather

🥦 6. Of high important to me personally: determine your Supermarkets of Note.

• Big one
• Little markets
• African Grocery Store
• Middle Eastern market
• Pakistani market
• Pan-Asian market

Where do you get your special bread? Who is the best butcher? Ice cream shop?

Having moved to Europe she’s also on a quest for food exploration:

• Exploring the European Canon
• Exploring the best of Immigrant Cuisine (Turkish Cuisine, Indonesian in the Netherlands, etc.)

Who is writing about this? (I’m on a hunt to find out if anyone has ideas!)

🛫 Given her newfound proximity to the rest of Europe (and beyond)

• 1x/ month travel:
– Castle Checklist
– Hikes (either short or long adventure)
• Explicit Restorative Travel
– Health Spas
– Hiking
• Unique Places to Stay: Caves, ice castles, see-through domes

🤝 Finally, a sense of home is rooted in finding your community. We talked about:

• An Emergency Support Network (your favorite octogenarians who will always look out for you, the person at the grocer who always has your back, friendly neighbors.

How do you find these folks?

🌱 After spending a few hours coming up with a long list, I’m so thrilled for her plans to root into place. Next up? Thinking about how I can do this for myself to better integrate in the place I’ve lived for years.

PS: if you love thinking about this kind of thing, one of my favorite ways to develop a sense of place is through reading, film, and music featuring the city you are in. Also, I highly recommend Strong Sense of Place – for travel and literary inspiration.