I’ve lived in four cities across two countries and three provinces in the past fourteen months. Even though I’m usually a go, go, go person who loves exploring and new experiences, I’ve realized that having some sort of stability in my life is critical to my happiness. Living out of a suitcase or only coming home to sleep and change clothes can be exhausting and I’ve learned to try to schedule a few quieter days and nights every once in a while. I’ve also come to crave a feeling of being settled. To having all of my clothes unpacked and a fridge filled with food… even on the weekend. After all of the moving that I’ve done in the past two years (four apartments and two houses), I’ve come up with a list that I prioritize finding when arriving in a new place. These simple things are key to my happiness and help me to live my best and most positive life.
Running Route- it’s no secret that my first priority regardless of where I am is getting my run in. I usually love using my morning runs to explore a city and even signed up for a running tour of Tokyo last summer. Getting a little lost on a run allows you to see a part of the city you would have missed if you were walking or driving and it also helps you to learn your way around. All of this being said, one of my favourite running routes is a five mile out and back on the country road that I grew up on. It’s actually an incredibly boring route with pretty much only fields and cows as scenery but I love it. I’ve run it so many times that I have markers for every half mile (mostly fence posts and mail boxes) and because of this I’m able to really push myself rather than worrying about where I’m going to turn next or if I’m going the right way. So although running has been and is still a great way for me to explore Calgary, finding a few go-to routes close to our new apartment has been exactly what I needed to feel settled in.
Spin Studio- Not far behind my love of running are spin classes. bronze & gold is all about balance and spin is one of the ways that I balance out my running routine. I found an awesome studio just a 10 minute drive from our apartment that also offers hot yoga and barre classes. They have an unreal speaker system, provide complimentary clip-in shoes, and you get a cold lemongrass towel after class. Yup… I’ve found my version of heaven. A tip if you’re looking to try spin for the first time or if you’re living in a new city is that most studios will offer a free first class or a great deal on a trial week or month for first-time visitors. It’s a great way to shop around and find a studio you like without breaking the bank. This is typically the case for any type of studio or fitness centre from yoga to circuit training.
Grocery Store- sometimes it really is the little things in life that bring you the most happiness and as silly as it sounds, finding the right grocery store is key for me. I love knowing exactly where everything is so that I don’t waste time walking up and down aisles and back tracking. As a super health conscious eater, it also makes me happy to find a store that carries all of my must-haves such as my vegan protein powder, Ezekiel bread, and black bean pasta. I guess I was meant to live where I do now because I’ve got a one-stop shop across the street.
Brunch Spot- my life outside of work pretty much consists of working out and finding new restaurants to try… aka the best kind of balance! Breakfast is my favourite meal and we go out for brunch almost every weekend. I’m a vegetarian but also a flexegan (read my post from awhile back here) so I really restrict my dairy and egg intake. Which means that when I do eat eggs, they’ve got to be more than worth it. As a vegetarian, I love finding a great vegetarian brunch spot because they’re normally really creative with their dishes and I don’t miss out on half of my meal from ordering it with no meat. Plus just having a go-to brunch spot is key for lazy weekend mornings when you don’t want to think or decide where you should head. We found an awesome spot called The Coup and I’ve been craving their el sombrero since we left. I’ll definitely be heading back there asap.
If you’re new to a city and you want to feel more settled, try making your own list of four or five things that you can’t live without. Whether it’s going to the library or painting classes, realizing what makes you happiest and finding somewhere to do it should be a priority when you move. At the same time, maybe you’ve lived in the same place for years and are feeling a little too settled. Trying a new Friday night take-out spot or a different yoga studio may be exactly what you need to freshen things up!
Let me know what your can’t live withouts are!