England / Expat life / London

The Geography of Bliss

St Ives, Cornwall

Today was particularly rainy, grey, and overall miserable.  However, to be fair winter has so far been fairly mild.  I’m always on the fence about whether I will settle here for good and things like crappy weather can sometimes make me reevaluate.  To balance out the score in my head I’ve been thinking about some of the reasons why I am happy to call England my home.

A few years ago I read the book The Geography of Bliss.  The author is a self proclaimed grumpy man who goes on a search to find the happiest places in the world.  Interesting observations on many countries around the world ensue.  You would assume that all the hot countries would be the happiest places.  This was not necessarily the case as a lot of the Scandinavian countries had high rates of happiness.  Unfortunately I gave the book away so I am unable to share other findings.  One point raised that resonated with me was a story about an American who had moved to Iceland.  This expat found that he was just not a good fit with his country of birth.  So he moved to a country that better aligned with his personality, views, and values.  Many people move to make a better life for themselves because of career opportunities so I thought this was an intriguing reason.  Essentially what the author was getting at is that any country has the potential to be a place where one can find their bliss.

This post is partially inspired by fellow Canadian blogger Jennifer at My Sardinian Life. She recently wrote 11 reasons why living in Sardinia rocks, check it out.  While London can’t compete with 300 days of sunshine it is clearly is a huge tourist and expat draw.  So I have devised my list of 10 reasons (I just prefer even numbers) why I’ve come to love living in England in no particular order.  The list is London centric as you would expect.

1. Travel – London is a great place to get to other destinations cheaply and quickly.  Paris just over 2 hours away by train?  Yes please.

2. Free world class museums – see this post on some of my favourites

3. Markets – favourites include Columbia Rd flower market and Camden

4. Great transport links – the underground, overground, dlr, buses, boats and soon this

5. History – from royal history, to churches, pubs.  England also has some of the most universally identifiable tourist attractions in the world

6. The people – I know, Londoners are notoriously stereotyped to be rude BUT if you stand on the right and walk on the left things will be alright

7. The diversity – London draws people from all over the globe which makes finding amazing Thai, Japanese, Jamaican, fill in blank food here easy

8. The music – yes Adele is dominating at home and abroad but there are many other amazing artists I’ve come to know and love.

9. Cornwall – stunning landscape and friendly people make a great mix

10. The accents – alright I’m a sucker for an accent but besides that it’s just interesting encountering so many regional accents as there are few in Canada.  Check out this video on Yorkshire accents.

What do you love about where you live?

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12 thoughts on “The Geography of Bliss

  1. I really love this post. It resonates with me because in many ways, my country of birth, Jamaica, is not a suitable fit for values, lifestyle, etc. Canada is for sure a good fit, and now I’m trying to figure out if Holland is as well. I love peaceful countries, not a lot of crime, great nature, opportunities to travel and also to save. I hope the decision is getting easier for you. 😉

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. My birth country is Jamaica as well and had I grown up there I know that I would have ended up leaving eventually if my family hadn’t. I feel that Canada and Canadian values definitely are a fit for me but I wanted to try something else for a while. I think what would be best for me is to stop over thinking, and just trust that it’ll work out.

  2. Oh, I will be looking up that book. Sounds like something I need, for sure.

    “I know, Londoners are notoriously stereotyped to be rude BUT if you stand on the right and walk on the left things will be alright”

    Lol!

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