Are you looking to develop a deeper connection with and appreciation for the place you call home? Spending time outside in your area can be an excellent way to foster a sense of connection and appreciation for your community. From exploring local parks and hiking trails to discovering hidden gems and natural wonders, there are many opportunities to discover the beauty of your environment. Today, Amy Eastin, Kansas City mom of three, explores the many benefits of spending time outdoors in your area, and how it can help you fall in love with where you live. Get ready to be smitten with your location! 

From unremarkable to unbelievable

I have lived in some spectacular places. And, I’ve also lived in some pretty unremarkable places. Or, at least, I thought they were unremarkable…

I’ve lived in Bulgaria, South Korea, England, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. I lived in a village of 500 people and a city with 10 million people. Everywhere I went, there were people who loved where they lived and those who hated where they lived. 

Living in a place that you love can have a significant impact on your mood, attitude, and overall mental health. When you feel connected to your surroundings, it can provide a sense of security, belonging, and fulfillment. Furthermore, when you are happy with your surroundings, it can help to reduce stress levels and alleviate anxiety.

But loving where you live may be easier said than done. Not everyone gets to choose their location based on their interests or needs and everyone’s preferences and interests are unique. However, there are a few things that can help individuals develop a deeper connection with their surroundings and foster a sense of appreciation for their environment.

advice for learning how to appreciate and love where you live by getting outside and finding fun things to do in your area   

How the outdoors can help you fall in love with where you live

Living in the Midwest, I hear all the time that there is “nothing to do here,” especially when it comes to getting outdoors. True, we do not have snow-capped mountains or white-sand beaches. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have other remarkable outdoor attractions. We have plains, caves, woods, and creeks. We have outdoor festivals, outdoor entertainment, and amazing outdoor parks.

Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, I have taught myself to find the good in all the places I have lived. It has helped my mental and physical health, as well as given me so much to look forward to doing with my family.

The Midwest has a ton to offer outdoor adventurers (and families just wanting to spend more time outside). However, I did not always know that. I lived in Kansas City for years before I started exploring it and realized there was more to do than I ever imagined! Once I started looking for gems around the Midwest, I found more and more incredible places. I quickly realized that so many places have a lot to offer if you just give them a chance. Here’s how you can do this, too.

child running through the Kauffman Memorial Gardens Kansas City Missouri

Exploring our home in Kansas City, Missouri

Finding local destinations/attractions

My first recommendation for falling in love with the place where you live is to find nearby experiences and places that interest you. One of the main reasons people don’t like where they live is because they believe there is nothing to do there. What is more likely, is that they just don’t know all the things there are to do!

Here’s how to change that and find local destinations, events, and activities that pique your interest: 

Follow local social media accounts

I like to follow accounts of local tourism boards, experiences, public places (nature sanctuaries, libraries, etc.), and travel bloggers on social media. All of these accounts give me ideas about what there is to do in my area. 

Look for events

I’m always on the lookout for local events or local calendars with nearby activities and events on them. Finding special things to do helps me get excited about all the fun things happening in my town. Maybe this is a local festival, concert, outdoor expo, fair, or presentation. Attending local cultural events or traditions can provide an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of your community, and develop a sense of pride in your surroundings. It can also be a fun way to connect with others, make new friends, and create lasting memories.

tips for falling in love with the place where you live

Collect local and nearby travel brochures

Did you know you can get state and local travel brochures mailed to you for free? If you go to your state’s travel website, they will send you a big magazine, plus you can usually opt in to smaller travel bureaus’ pamphlets as well. You can also go to local tourism boards’ websites and order them there too. Also, when you’re out exploring, pick up pamplets and brochures for local attractions to file away. Then, anytime you need an idea for someplace to explore, pull one out and give it a try! 

Make lists

I have a Google document full of places I would like to go.  Anytime I hear about a place we’ve never been, I add it to my list. I make notes on the places we explore (e.g. where to park, whether we should go back, what there was to do, etc.).

I also make seasonal bingo boards for my family (you could also do this with seasonal bucket lists). We include activities like pumpkin carving or apple picking in the fall, splash pads in the summer, and sledding in the winter. We also add places we love returning to, such as our favorite pumpkin patches. It helps us look forward to what we’re going to do and keep traditions year after year. 

Save places on Google Maps

Any time I learn about somewhere new that I am interested in checking out, I pin it on my Google Maps. That way, if it’s a Saturday morning and we’re looking for something to do that day, I will pull up my Google map and look at options. Seeing where something is on the map also helps me decide if we have time for exploring a new place a bit further away, or whether we may need to explore closer to home.

Also, any time we’re going on a road trip or to a part of town we’re not usually in, I’m able to pull up my map and see if there is anything we’d like to do in that area or on the way.

Bulgarian village near Sliven in the Stara Planina Mountains

A Bulgarian village I lived in when I was in the Peace Corps

Find your people

It’s ridiculously hard to love where you live if you don’t have any friends or feel like a part of the community. Friends can make a town feel less lonely, they give you someone to adventure with and allow you to appreciate where you live more. Here are a few ways to find like-minded individuals, who will hopefully turn into your new adventure friends! 

Join groups on Facebook or MeetUp

If you’re looking for friends, Facebook and MeetUp are good places to start. There are so many local Facebook groups that you can join no matter what your interests or location. There are tons of local mom groups based on the ages of your kids, your school district, kids’ interests, neighborhood, etc. If you are interested in mushroom hunting, there’s probably a group for that! Archery? There’s probably a group for that, too. Use these groups to your advantage to find your people!

Be bold and show up

Joining an online group is easy, but actually attending events is a lot harder- especially when you don’t know anyone. You will probably have to force yourself to go the first few times, but if you do, you will probably thank yourself later. Luckily, you probably won’t be the only one there that doesn’t know anyone. And people are generally very welcoming and happy to show you around and introduce you to other members. 

women in hanbok in Seoul, South Korea

A photo from when I lived in Seoul, South Korea

Change your perspective

There will always be some people that don’t like where they live. If their home suddenly became the coolest spot on the planet, their minds probably wouldn’t change because of their mindset. If you think you’re stuck in a mental rut about where you live, here are some tips to change it.

Consider what would make you happy

What do you wish your location had? Can you bring that to where you live? Some people think they can only be happy if they live in the mountains. Unfortunately, you can’t bring mountains to where you live if they don’t currently exist, but maybe you can ask yourself why you think you need mountains and what the root cause is for what you desire. Are you actually craving nature? Do you have a belief that where you live isn’t beautiful, but places with mountains are? If that’s the case, then look for beautiful nature closer to home. I guarantee you’ll find something. The more you look, the more interesting places you’ll find.

Take action

If there are things you don’t like about your environment, take action to change them. This can involve participating in local politics, volunteering for community organizations, organizing the events or activities you’d like to see in your area, or simply taking steps to beautify your neighborhood. Don’t have a local moms group for your area? Start one! No outdoor play groups that you’re aware of? Organize your own! Taking action can help you feel more connected to your community and give you a sense of agency in shaping your environment and maybe even make you some friends in the process. 

advice for learning how to appreciate and like where you currently live

Change your attitude about the weather

Some people hate where they live because it is too cold, hot, or rainy. You can’t change the weather, but you can try to change your outlook and attitude. Sometimes overcoming weather obstacles means being properly outfitted and getting outside despite the weather. As moms, sometimes we’ll worry so much about properly outfitting our kids for the weather that we don’t take our own comfort into consideration. If your outdoor gear is lacking (maybe it’s old, doesn’t fit properly, or is non-existent), look into buying yourself the proper clothes and gear to get outside. Having the right gear could help you be more comfortable when you’re out and make you more willing to get outside despite the weather. Will you love winter as much as the rest of the year? Probably not. But you can still enjoy it more and improve your mental health by getting outdoors.

Practice gratitude

Another way to shift your mindset about where you live is to practice gratitude. Take a moment each day to reflect on the things you appreciate about your surroundings, such as the natural beauty, cultural events, or friendly neighbors/people. What is it that you do like about where you live?  Look for opportunities to connect with your community, participate in local events, or explore the natural beauty around you. Focusing on what you’re grateful for can help you develop a positive attitude toward your environment and foster a sense of appreciation for your community.

learn how to love where you live by getting outside and exploring

What do you love about where you live? 

About the author 

Amy is a Kansas City-based adventure mom to three kids. She loves exploring all that the middle of the USA has to offer, from hiking trails to family experiences, rivers, museums, and everything in between. Before kids, Amy traveled and lived around the world, rode camels, trekked through mountains, and occasionally danced with the locals. Now Amy is usually road-tripping with her kids (and sometimes her husband), getting outside, and exploring Kansas City. Amy is passionate about promoting the Midwest as a travel destination and encouraging families to get outdoors with young kids.

You can find more from Amy in the following locations: 
Instagram: @everydayoutdoorfamily
Facebook: Everyday Outdoor Family
Tiktok: @everydayoutdoorfamily
RWMC posts: Amy Eastin