In my adult life I have now moved cross county twice and lived in a few very different cities. Most recently I made the move from Boston to San Francisco, and once again find myself attempting to settle in and feel at home.
Aside from the obvious unpacking, and arranging my things in a new space, I've found that there are a few things I can do outside of my apartment that make me feel more at home in a new place and a part of the community at large.
The three factors that I've found relate to this sense of belonging all relate to a sense of social, mental and physical well being. Some activities address only one, some all, but each makes a big difference. Working primarily from home tends to amplify the need to seek these out and build a sense of community for myself. Here are a few examples...
- I found a yoga studio that I love. For me, this addresses all three: I'm meeting new people while taking care of my body and mental well-being. For others this might be a running or biking group.
- I found a comfortable "third place" where I could work outside of my home. For me this is the local coffee shop, but there has also been an explosion of great community co-working spaces for freelancers and creatives to share a workspace and connect with one another.
- I started a garden. There is something symbolic about putting down roots in the most literal sense, be it a windowsill herb garden or a plot of dirt. In my last city I did community gardening adjacent to a public park and got to know and enjoy my neighborhood in a new way.
- Another thing I did in my last neighborhood was to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It was a huge payoff in terms of cutting down our grocery bill and encouraging us to eat well, but it also made us feel more a part of our local community by supporting independent, local farms.
What make you feel at home?