Happy Friday, y’all!
I am so happy spring is here in Texas and the weekend is upon us. Hope you have fun plans this weekend!
Today I am really excited to share my review of This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick. My awesome sister sent this book to me for my birthday–as a surprise! What is better than surprise books? I can’t think of anything I love better. Thanks, sis!
This book is perfect for my current phase of life. We are going to be moving cross country this summer so it certainly will be helpful in feeling at home in a new place. But it also has helped me a lot now. With only a few months left in a town and house that I love, this book gave me some practical ideas of how to deepen my place attachment while also looking forward to the future.
- Listen to the audiobook. I read the first few chapters in my hard copy book before finding the audio on Hoopla. I am so glad I did! This is an easy book to listen to as you’re driving, working around the house, or exercising. I think it’s a lot easier to read it faster too.
- I like to read (or listen to) these types of self care books straight through first. Then I go back in my hard copy to parts I liked or forgot or want to reread. This isn’t a once and done kind of book. It’s a book to return to over and over.
This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick gives us practical ways to make the towns we live in feel like home no matter our circumstances. According to Goodreads, “How we come to feel at home in our towns and cities is what Warnick sets out to discover in This Is Where You Belong. She dives into the body of research around place attachment—the deep sense of connection that binds some of us to our cities and increases our physical and emotional well-being—then travels to towns across America to see it in action. Inspired by a growing movement of placemaking, she examines what its practitioners are doing to create likable locales. She also speaks with frequent movers and loyal stayers around the country to learn what draws highly mobile Americans to a new city, and what makes us stay. The best ideas she imports to her adopted hometown of Blacksburg for a series of Love Where You Live experiments designed to make her feel more locally connected. . . . What Warnick learns will inspire you to embrace your own community—and perhaps discover that the place where you live right now is home.”
I appreciated the practical 10 main ideas about loving where you life. Warnick calls these her love where you live principles. I like concrete advice that I can practice easily. This book is full of concrete advice which makes the book more helpful and valuable. I can practice 10 ideas or at least try them. Plus, you can break it down to read in shorter sections or focus on putting a particular idea into practice before moving on to the next one. Warnick shares her own experiences moving multiple times as an adult. And even better, she has tried all these strategies herself. I liked that she had volunteered in her community, bought local food at the farmers market and
Favorite Love Where You Live Principles:
*All of her principles are awesome and worthwhile. But I tried to narrow down a few of my favorites here.
- Say Hi to Your Neighbors: This is such a simple idea but it can be powerful. Warnick talks about starting by meeting your neighbors but then going a step further. Have them over for dinner, organize a block party, celebrate holidays together. It’s about getting to know people and building trust.
- Volunteer: She had so many great ideas about volunteering in your community. It’s great to participate in service projects for national institutions like the Red Cross or Habitat for Humanity. But again Warnick challenges us to dig deeper. What local charities, programs, or businesses need help in your area?What is something you love in your community that you are willing to work to keep there? I also loved her birthday service–one act of service for each year of your life. Get creative and get out and serve!
- Eat Local Food and Buy Local: These were two separate chapters that go together well. I loved the practical ideas she had about cash mobs (groups of locals that all spend money at a certain local store), visiting the farmer’s market, become regulars at a local restaurant, and choosing an amount to spend at local stores monthly. These strategies are not about saving money but about making stronger connections to others in your community and thereby tying you closer to your place.
- Stay Loyal: This one really struck me. Warnick lives in Blacksburg, VA where the Virginia Tech shootings happened several years before she moved there. She talked very eloquently and respectfully about her efforts to support her community and understand how that tragedy affected it. She participated in a memorial walk and talked with friends about their experiences. I love that she took the good, the bad, and the tragic parts of Blacksburg and made the part of her. I am quick to discount a place when I find something that I don’t like about it or I hear about something sad happening there. But this was a beautiful way to understand that no place is perfect but we can each find places that become part of us.
So how am I using what I’ve learned from this book? It’s been fairly basic for now. We’ve met a few more neighbors and stopped to talk for a minute rather than just say hello. We got our local city pass and explored more downtown. We are walking further in our town (Warnick suggests walking as much as you can especially within a one mile radius of your home). We have signed up for a local 5K (which I have never run before). I hope to attend our town’s farmer’s market when it comes back. And I have a few more local restaurants I want to try (and a few I want to return to like our favorite local donut shop).
I like how applicable it can be no matter your situation. Most of this isn’t life changing. It’s really about getting out and being involved. Some chapter felt a bit long. For me, some ideas didn’t strike me at this time. But I am glad a book like this exists. I think it’s important to find ways to love where you live. And I intend to do more to love where I live.
How do you feel about where you live?
Any other books that inspire you to love where you live?