Back in the day, my 20s mind you, I lived in Los Angeles. I moved out there for really no other purpose but to get out of St. Louis, and LA seemed like as good a choice as any. I was broke most of the time, living paycheck to paycheck, stockpiling quarters for the laundry machine, and commuting between school, a paid job and an unpaid internship, but I was on my own, and I really enjoyed the West coast. One of the few major drawback to living in such a big city was meeting people and making connections. It was hard to do things spur of the moment. Most people I worked with, or went to school with, lived in various parts of the city. Meet for coffee? Oh, you live near the beach. 45 minute drive one way. Saturday Afternoon at the Getty? 50 minutes. Because LA is so spread out, long commutes and traffic are the norm, and consequently, LA is a hard city to be spontaneous. Everything requires planning, scheduling and a calendar, unless the person you’re meeting is your neighbor.
Likewise, when my husband and I had the opportunity to live in London for two years, I found the city to be the same situation. I will say, however, between the Tube, Black cabs and buses, and good ol’ fashion walking, which is its own transportation category, it was easier to explore London in general. But again, it took a bit of planning to meet up with friends. Like LA, everyone lives all over, and since the Tube and pubs shut down at 11 p.m. most nights, and we would naturally stay until close, often times we would arrange for our friends to crash at our house, or vice versa. On Sundays we would hop the hour-long train ride to visit friends for an English BBQ and stay the day. (Side note, grilled Haloumi rocks!)
Now that I’ve been back in St. Louis, I’ve realized just how easy it is to do things at a moments notice in this city. Mind you, this is a car city, so if you rely on public transit, namely the buses, this might be a bit more difficult. But with the Metro, on-street bike routes popping up, and access to three major highways, most things are a reasonable 20-minute commute. Shopping in the CWE? Sure, be there in 20 minutes tops. Grab a cup off coffee? See you in 15 minutes. The point being, St. Louis let’s you be spontaneous, and therefore, meet people and build relationships. This is one of the perks of living in St. Louis that is often times overlooked and underappreciated, but really must be celebrated. So, what do you say? Shall we grab a pint? Be there in 15.