Finding Joy in your Local Area & Community

As I type this, the UK has been in some kind of lockdown for around 10 weeks. We have not experienced full lockdown like some countries and being able to explore our local area has been an option for those who are not self-isolating/shielding throughout the entire time. 

Finding Joy in your Local Area & Community

As somebody who is always out and about, I thought I may struggle with just staying local but actually, the opposite has been true. Lockdown has definitely provided me with a new appreciation of our immediate local area and now that I could go a little further, I am a little hesitant to at the moment and exploring places that are just a short drive/walk for us at quieter times is something we will be taking advantage of for a while yet. 

I am extremely lucky with where I live. I Northumberland we have beautiful countryside and coastline on our doorstep. I have not ventured far though and we have stayed within a 6 mile radius of our home so far. It is amazing what you can find on your doorstep when you look for it though. 

We started self-isolating as a household before official lockdown as myself and Harry had a cough. I don't think I physically left the house for three weeks to be on the safe side. I vividly remember the first walk by myself just along the cycle track next to our house after staying indoors for three weeks. It was a bit of an emotional experience.

The path is usually filled with cyclists, children playing, dog walkers and people walking to the shops but it was eerily quiet. There was a strange stillness in the air. It was a beautiful day with bright blue skies, the birds were tweeting and the flowers were looking gorgeous in the sunshine. It reminded me of the tweets I had read saying that earth was taking this time to heal and recover from decades of human damage. 

I actually shed a tear as I was walking and noticed that almost every window was filled with rainbows. It kind of felt apocalyptic because it was so quiet but also provided me with a sense that we were all in this together and we were not alone. 

In our street,  we have never been one to talk much with our neighbours. We enjoy polite hellos and chit chat but that's about it. During lockdown, I have spoken more with our neighbours than I have in the entire 6 years we have lived here. The sense of community is lovely.

One neighbour gave away tomato plants and another set up a book swap at the end of their drive. Then there has been the Thursday night routine of everyone waving and clapping at each other together.  Lockdown has definitely brought us closer together and in the future, if I ever needed any help with emergency childcare/anything I would not think twice about knocking on their doors where as before this, I may have been a little more hesitant. 

As lockdown has started to ease, I thought I may have the urge to explore places a little further from home but so far, my overwhelming urge is to stay at home and stay local. We try and go out in the evenings for walks once or twice a week now when it tends to be a lot quieter. We have enjoyed our local nature reserve which is somewhere we would have just driven past en-route to  a more exciting day out in the past. It feels silly to say that now as our local nature reserve is lovely and perfect for a short stroll. There is no need to go anywhere else if we just need to stretch our legs and enjoy nature. 

Our local beach is somewhere we have visited a few times in the evening now. Blyth Beach is not the most picturesque beach in Northumberland but that doesn't seem to matter to me at the moment. It is more about the sense of freedom visiting the beach provides you, not about how picture-perfect it is. 

These times have really made me question, why jump in a car and travel for an hour to walk through some woods or visit the beach when we can do this on our doorstep? 

I absolutely love travel and exploring new places and I have not lost this - once I feel safe enough to do so, I am sure I will be back to exploring the wider world.  But I am so thankful that lockdown has forced me to appreciate what is on our doorstep too and for that I am grateful. I can see moving forward, we will probably stay at home and enjoy our local surroundings more often and although we will still travel and enjoy longer days out, I can see us doing this a little less than we have in previous years. 

What do you think? Have you found a new appreciation for your local area? 

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