Loving Where You Live


Lady Loggerhead tracks made on her way to nest.

One of my favorite running buddies is moving away soon. We’ve spent the last nearly five years getting together once every couple of weeks to log a few miles and catch up on each other’s lives. We talk about careers, husbands, her kid, our families, our pets. It’s nice. I’m going to miss these runs.

Because she’s leaving I had her down to the beach for one of our last runs together. We haven’t done much running on the beach in recent years. After her kid came along (the little guy is 3 now!), leisurely runs at the beach were harder to fit in, so we settled into a routine of meeting at a park halfway between our respective homes for our runs. So when we met at the beach the other day, my friend confessed.

“I don’t even know when the last time I was at the beach. It’s sad. I live in a tropical paradise just minutes from spots that people pay ridiculous amounts to vacation in. I am about to leave forever, and can’t remember the last time I stopped to take this all in.”

And take it in, we did. On our run, we spotted three freshly laid sea-turtle (probably loggerhead) nests. We even got there before the turtle ladies came along to rope the nests off and protect the little eggs! We watched the pelicans dive bomb the waves for breakfast. We saw a father teaching his son to cast a fishing line. An elderly couple out for their morning beach stroll with coffee mugs in hands. And even spotted a dolphin in the distance.  It was just a wonderful morning. And we appreciated every second of it.


I Love Where I Live

I’ve lived in a fair number of different locations in my 30 years on this third rock from the sun. Small towns to big cities. Baking hot deserts to cold green climates. But our little quarter-acre slice of suburbia within jogging distance from the beach is by far my favorite place I’ve ever lived.

Even so, it can be easy to fall into a rut and not appreciate it as much as possible. I know, we’ve been there.


Cookie Cutter Experiences

Last fall, Mr. PoP and I realized that most of our “date nights” were the same. To decide our destination was too often a question of: “Which shopping center should we go walk around? The one with the Coldstone Creamery or the one with the Panera Bread?” A big night might have been going to a third shopping center that had a CPK. Oh my!

It wasn’t a matter that we were shopping too much and overspending. We rarely bought anything except for dinner out on these dates. It was more a matter that other than the fact that the malls were outdoor malls, which is somewhat unique to warmer climates, our experiences could probably have been the same at any number of suburban shopping centers across the United States.

And yet, even as we did this, driving 10+ miles on most of these “shopping center dates”, we bemoaned the failure of unique non-chain restaurants within walking distance of our home. But that wasn’t really fair. After all, we were opting for the cookie cutter experience, too!

So we did something about it.


Winter Walking Agenda

We called it our Winter Walking Agenda. This works in FL. I might recommend another season if your climate is colder. =)

But the gist of it was this. During the winter, we reset our default date night from a chain restaurant at the shopping mall to a local restaurant within walking distance of our house. Sure, these restaurants are a bit more expensive than the chains, but it’s worth it. We’re loving our little area right around our home more than ever and feel like we’re taking it less for granted.

Someday (though not anytime soon!) we’re probably going to move away from our lovely little slice of heaven here, and I don’t want to end up like my friend, who couldn’t remember the last time she really enjoyed where we live.


Are you making loving where you live a priority? Do you really love where you live?

56 comments to Loving Where You Live

  • I don’t really love where I live. In fact, I often ask Greg “So….why do we live here again?” But, I love being close to my family and now that we have kids I don’t want to move them away.
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  • When I moved away from college a few years ago I lost my running friend. Neither of us have found a new one since! So make sure you work on that soon :)

    And when you run out of local restaurants close to your house, you could always switch to restaurants within biking distance.
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  • Stop it! You’re making me want to dump our home that we’ve lived in for 2 weeks and move to Florida.

    Really though, we’re thinking about buying Florida real estate and will be down there in January to check things out.
    Mr. 1500 recently posted..Performance Update 6 of 50: June Boom!My Profile

    • Ahh that wasn’t the point. =). There are so many things to love about your neck of the woods, too! The hiking, the cooler weather, the lack of humidity… =). Mr PoP misses elevation sometimes, particularly when he realizes the highest he gets above sea level is about 50 or so feet for bridges.

      • Yeah, LOL! We’re not moving for at least 15 years when the youngest finishes high school. However, we do love Florida and the ocean, so we’re thinking about a vacation/rental property.

        We have a relative in Vero Beach, so were considering that area. However, we are still very early in the brainstorming stage, so that may change.
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  • We’ve always viewed our current location as temporary, so we haven’t made it a huge priority to really get to know the area. Which is a shame, because I do think there are a lot of really interesting parts of our neighborhood that we have come to know, if mostly by accident. We have made a little more effort recently to explore some of the local parks and beaches, which has been fun. It’s definitely easier since it’s warmer and our son is old enough to run around. I think it’s definitely been a positive experience.
    Matt Becker recently posted..Stop Focusing on the Negatives. Start Enjoying Life.My Profile

  • Swimmy44

    I finally am in a place that I love. sure there are problems but we got a great house for a great price during the slump. My job paid to move me here in 2008 and we just love Oakland CA where we enjoy the best weather in the nation (more sunny days, less humidity) – there is so much to do only minutes away including the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco Bay, wine country, the mountains, skiing 2 hours to the east (if you like that) and Oakland is beautiful – there are miles of trails and many square miles of wilderness just ten minutes from where we live in a beautiful suburb of downtown – plus when we don’t want to drive we can walk to everything – including my new running path, 4 miles long around Lake Merritt, the Oakland estuary just down the hill from my home. You can’t beat it – plus when I fly out of here, coming back is such a pleasure. I have spent my whole life on the east coast until now – never again. Prices are back up on homes making it less affordable now but for us, timing was everything and here we are.

    • Oakland seems to be a popular place! I don’t think I’ve known anyone who has gone there that hasn’t really liked it (Mr PoP even bought an A’s hat when he was out there!), and I’m glad you got in on the price dip!

  • W and I have been talking about this a lot lately. We are really making it a priority to enjoy our surroundings and love where we live!
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  • As we grow closer to leaving Durham, we are realizing that we have not taken full advantage of its wonderful qualities! We have only a short time left to enjoy them so we have to pack it in. We have a list of restaurants and parks we want to visit at least once.
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  • Yes I LOVE where I live, and I think I take advantage of what this area has to offer. I would LOVE to do more dining though at some of the awesome places to eat, but it’s not in my budget, so I tend to avoid that. For me it’s more about enjoying the outdoors, farmer’s markets, concerts and movies, etc. It’s hard to live here on a budget though for sure!
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Life UpdatesMy Profile

  • Debbie M

    I moved a lot growing up and after college I stayed in my favorite place I’ve ever lived. It has my four most important things: English-speaking (I suck at foreign languages), warm weather, open-minded people, and a college town. It’s not that easy to find a warm place in the US that is open-minded. I got a few added bonuses: one of the biggest libraries in the country, good movie theatres (the pre-show is related movie clips and cartoons, not ads), gorgeous springs (we have loads of wildflower everywhere), cool gnarly trees, no state income tax, lots of Tex-Mex, a job with a really good pension in good fiscal shape, and a very casual vibe (you can where shorts even to fancy restaurants, though you can also dress up if you want to). Plus I found a place in town I can afford to live (I find the suburbs to be the worst of both worlds–too far away from fun things like living in the country, but also too built up like the city).

    I think almost wherever you live there are things to appreciate, though. From other places I’ve lived, I miss good Chinese food, awesome mass-transit and walkability, pleasant summers (ours are HOT), gorgeous autumns (ours are subtle), forest trails (but not the mosquitos), tall trees (ours are stunted), green grass and moss (we have low rain), croissants with enough dark chocolate inside, and good museums. I even miss when my own city was smaller and free events weren’t so unpleasantly crowded.

    And even if you don’t much like your town, there are things you can do to make your own living quarters pleasant. Every time I moved, the first thing I would put up (after the toilet paper and refrigerables) were pictures. It’s good to collect things you can enjoy very long-term like games, musical instruments, and a comfortable bed.

    • You are so right. Loving the inside of your house is important, too! Mr PoP didn’t have many requests when it came to decorating, but he did want a couch he could sink into a bit. So that’s what we got!

  • I absolutely love where I live and make it a point to run by the beach/bay as my “reward” on Saturdays from the work week, as well as mornings since I love the salty air. We’re big fans of non-chains, as well, though more often than not we’re just going to a dive Mexican joint or bar. Those turtle tracks are so cool!
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  • I am fairly certain I will not live in NYC/Brooklyn forever. Although I really try to take advantage of living here, it’s really difficult sometimes! I’ve been getting better at finally seeing certain museums, neighborhoods, and landmarks that people fly hours to come see and I just walk past on the way to work.

    I completely empathize with your feelings of being stuck in a routine. While I don’t frequent chain restaurants, I still stick to my “regulars” and it’s a really hard pattern to get out of.
    Leslie Beslie recently posted..June 2013 Monthly Spending in NYCMy Profile

  • I live in Texas. I know I don’t want to live here forever. I find there’s not much to do, and it’s so big, it takes forever to leave. Hoping in a couple of years, we move to a new location :)I love new adventures! I would love to live overseas in Europe, but especially in Latin America.

    • Debbie M

      It takes forever to leave? You must not live in El Paso. Or Texarkana. Or Brownsville. Or Laredo. Or Galvston (oh, did you want to still be on land when you left?). There may be some interesting state parks near you! Good luck in getting new adventures!

  • I had the same thoughts as your friend when we left San Diego. My wife and I live mere blocks from the beach in OB, but didn’t frequent the beach nearly as much as we should have. We take for granted the things we have all around us.

    But I love where we live now, too. The summers are ridiculously hot but we adjust. The biking here is incredible — it’s the best city I’ve lived in for getting around on two wheels. And we have the nation’s largest art walk on First Friday…who knew?
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  • Great post as usual, Mrs. PoP!

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. I complain so much about where I live, but when I come to think of it, I’m in a great location! I live 45 mins away from San Francisco, so I have access to the busy, noisy city whenever I want and I can still come home to my (relatively) quiet house in the suburbs. There are also tons of viewpoints/hikes/waterfronts around that I need to explore and this post reminded me to do so!

    I plan to move around a lot in the future and I’m going to make it a point to find something I love about every place!
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    • I think it’s so easy to get in a rut, but when I really think about it, there hasn’t been any place that I’ve lived that hasn’t had tons of things to love. Here’s hoping you find your future homes the same! =)

  • Up until a couple years ago my wife and I lived in Chicago and then we became really unhappy. The commute anyplace was too long, the people were rude and we just wanted to be somewhere a little more relaxed. We moved to Colorado and now we love whe we live.
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  • I absolutely love where I live. Beaches (although like your friend, we def don’t take advantage!), great weather year-round, and close to family. Granted there are a lot of downsides too (crazy expensive!) but for the most part I love it here.

    We also get in a rut with our dates but we’ve made an effort to at least do one fun thing a month together!

  • We really enjoy and like where we live. I made it a point to get a home close to the water so I can watch people on their yachts and jet skies while still being close to the beach. Lately we have made it a point to go out and do the non-normal things like trying new places to eat that most people don’t go to. I haven’t ran on the beach in awhile but I am hoping to change that starting this week. I am glad that you love and are enjoying where you live.
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  • We like living here in Southern Arizona. We’re close to mountains, hiking trails and relatives. If we want more excitement we’re within striking range of southern California beaches and amusement parks.
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  • I definitely think I take where we live for granted. Even though Minneapolis doesn’t have the great weather, it has a lot of other great things. Although, I do have to say that I’m not sure I’d ever take the Florida weather and beaches for granted. 😉
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  • We adore where we live. The other day, I was marveling about how much there is to do around here. There’s so much I love about it!
    SuburbanFinance recently posted..Get Rich With Passive IncomeMy Profile

  • I can honestly say that we have taken advantage of our surroundings, although I do feel like maybe we should be heading to the mountains every weekend. There are so many different trails and things to see that I don’t think we could ever do them all. I do hate living in a small town sometimes, but I think we get the most out of it.

    We don’t have many chain restaurants other than fast food, so sometimes when we go out of town, it’s fun to actually go to a chain!
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  • I don’t mind living where I live but I’m not sure I’ve ever “loved” where I live. Maybe, like you mentioned, I keep opting for the cookie cutter experience over and over again. Maybe I should spend more time getting to know my city….
    Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility recently posted..Cell Phone Plans & Weekly Review: July 1 – 7My Profile

  • Tara

    I love the Florida beach! My sister lives in Atlanta and drives to Destin/Panama City every summer to summer on the beach and I’ve flown in e a couple times and driven down with her. When I get older, my dream is to own a small place on the beach.

  • Great post, Mrs. PoP. I am terrible about appreciating where I live lately. Thanks to you, I am going to make more of an effort to be thankful for our for seasons, even if one of them sucks terribly. :-)
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  • We love where we live. We both put up with long commutes to live here, but we like the walkability of our community, the proximity to family, and the convenience of being close to NYC. So far, we’ve done a good job of seeing family frequently — we have dinner with my husband’s family every Sunday. However, we definitely don’t get to NYC as much as we’d like — especially since we live about 3 blocks from the train station. There are certainly some downsides though…we’ll need to save for quite a while before we can consider buying a house here!
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  • I definitely don’t love where I live. I don’t mind it, but I can’t wait to move. We do have great weather (all seasons), we are basically surrounded by beaches (but most of them are $10+ for parking) and everything is conveniently located nearby. The problem is it’s too expensive, and I don’t think I could ever afford a house here. As it is our rent is more than some people’s mortgage payments! I’d rather be somewhere more peaceful and scenic – it’s also super crowded here. Ah well, next year we will hopefully find somewhere else!
    E.M. recently posted..Review of June’s Budget & July GoalsMy Profile

  • I love where I live too, and try to enjoy it as much as possible. I am waiting for friends to visit to travel around with them because we did extensive traveling last year around Europe and I don’t feel like going around alone since I already know the country but as far a local enjoyment is concerned, we do a lot and love it.
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  • CF

    We love our neighbourhood. There are so many great, unique stores and restaurants. I don’t think I’ve even gone downtown in the last few months! When we go out, it is generally to something local!
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  • This is a timely article for me. I got home early from work this evening to walk over to a new pizza parlor/brewery with a few neighbors and kiddos. It was nice taking a stroll and having the kids run most of the way. Tomorrow I’ll be biking down the coast to work, which I always enjoy. I’m pretty grateful for where we live even though we definitely pay a high price to live in southern California.
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  • […] Loving Where You Live Planting Our Pennies – This is something that W and I have been thinking about a lot lately. We still haven’t found a house that we love, which means that we will be staying in our current house longer and won’t sell it just yet. We have been loving where we live more and it’s been nice. […]

  • Ha, when I wrote this post (http://nzmuse.com/2013/04/love-where-you-live-auckland/) it definitely made me wonder whether I was making the most out of Auckland, especially before we left. To be honest, I almost think Auckland (and NZ) is kinda wasted on me … I’m not outdoorsy enough to really appreciate its merits.
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