Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Bringing the countryside to the city!

Notes From The Frugal Trenches

For those that don't know I live in London, England. London is a fabulous city with amazing galleries, museums and buildings to explore. There are tourist attractions aplenty and some pretty nice parks. Those same nice parks get pretty crowded at the weekends, filled with tourists from afar and in truth they rarely satisfied my need for open space. Over the last six months I've come to feel suffocated by the people and noise so I decided I needed to find a way to get more of the countryside into my city life and I came up with & tried some of the following strategies

1.Try at least once a week to get to one of the city's great parks before the tourists arrived. This often meant getting up early, which took some adjusting, but oh so worth it in the end!

2. Find out about city farms local to me. Many of them are small and rely on fundraising and volunteers to function, this means they are usually eager to find helpers! What a great way to feel like you're living the rural life - certainly being surrounded by pigs & chickens made me forget I was in the city!

3. Become a dog walker at an animal shelter - what a brilliant way to give back, help animals in need, get some exercise and see grass instead of concrete!

4. Participate in an outdoor exercise group - I found this so much more rewarding then simply walking on a treadmill!

5. Buy or rent a bicycle - concrete often looks more appealing when cycling instead of sitting on a bus or tube/subway!

6. Take up a new hobby - often cities have canoe clubs, running groups and other great activities.

7. Try to escape the city at least once a month! I joined an association here in the UK where you can stay at no frills hostels (including family friendly ones) for about £15/$30 a night (some even less!). This means I can take advantage of cheap train deals and escape for a night or two regularly!

8. Plan that yearly holiday - I'm really becoming a person who craves simplicity. On the whole I'd now rather rent a little cottage by the sea or in the countryside. As long as I have countryside to roam and hills to climb I'm pretty happy!

9. Plant a garden - if you don't have a garden get some indoor plants or window plants. Even with no outside space you can grow herbs!

10. Join your works social committee or away day team - often this means you get a say in where work events are held and you can suggest and encourage outdoor pursuits!

None of these allowed me to accomplish my dream of having a little cottage in the English countryside with my rescue cats and rabbits, but it did let me feel a bit of peace and simplicity in a very hectic and busy world!