Published by Viking on June 21st 2016
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Close to eight years ago, just a month after our wedding, my husband and I loaded up a truck and moved from Michigan to Richmond, Virginia. Neither of us had jobs in our new city, which we only visited once and chose with some pretty limited knowledge. On paper, it wasn’t the smartest decision I ever made. In reality? The best.
We adore Richmond and we’ve loved it from day one, but I’m fascinated by the factors that push people to live where they do and knew I had to read Melody Warnick’s This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live. After moving several times, Warnick and her family landed in Blacksburg, Virginia, determined to stay rooted. Instead of picking up and looking for the right place, she would make her family love where they were. Armed with research on place attachment, which is the deep bond between a person and a place, Warnick came up with ten steps she could take to help her fall in love with Blacksburg.
Many of Warnick’s ideas are familiar (they’re how I fell in love with Richmond!) but what’s great about This Is Where You Belong is that it takes common sense and makes it actionable. At times some of the suggestions feel slightly privileged (joining a cash mob, donating money within your community, etc.), but they are well-balanced by the more affordable and free ideas she compiles. And even though I’m already in a serious, cozy relationship with my city, I took some of her tips to heart. There’s always room for even more attachment to a great place.
Do What Your Town is Good At
Richmond is actually good at a bunch of things that make it a bit of a charmer. It’s good at being historical and pretty. It’s good at weather. It’s good at murals and art and bikes and food.
Eat Local Food
Speaking of food. There is so much delicious food here that this is pretty much the easiest. And my favorite. If you visit, we’re eating and eating a bunch.
Enjoy the Green
After two years adjusting in an apartment, we took the plunge and settled down in our own home. Now we’re on to house number two and definitely feel like this is where we belong.