If you're not a fan of big city life, you're not alone. But according to a recent study by the Center for an Urban Future, more than 70% of New York City residents say they can't afford to move out of the city. Well, we've got good news for you: it's true - you can live in NYC, LA, or your city for that matter and escape it simultaneously.
If you've ever dreamt of escaping the city without truly leaving it, here are seven secrets to help you do it.
#1. Look for the standard building. The more ubiquitous a building looks, the more likely it's a standard apartment block designed by a contractor who sold the same design to the building after the building. That means a very low-profit margin for the owner and very low rent for you!
Bonus point: Go with a balcony if you can. Most of those traditional buildings came with balconies, and there is something seriously liberating about opening your front door and seeing a bit of sky from 35 floors up. Most of those balconies are pretty small, but if you're not planning on barbecuing or growing an avocado tree, it's just enough space to sit on a stool or lie on a bed and watch the world go by - which is exactly what most people want from their balcony.
#2. Explore nature nearby.
Most of us don't live within walking distance of a wilderness reserve, but there are plenty of nature preserves nearby that you can visit. For example, if you live in New York City, you can take advantage of the nearby parks like Central Park, Prospect Park, and Fort Tryon Park-all of which offer great hiking trails.
#3. Practice Yoga
LA offers several opportunities for yoga practice, with studios spread across the city. You can find yoga studios in West LA or at your local neighborhood gym. There are even some unconventional spaces that have yoga classes, including the Griffith Observatory. Yoga is also practiced on the beach with sunrise yoga classes, on rooftops with sunset yoga, and in the park with a free class. Do a quick search for "yoga" in your neighborhood app to see where you can practice.
A word about mats: they are not provided at most locations. Bring your own mat to reduce the temptation of buying one overpriced mat from a studio, which will make you feel pressured to return for more classes.
In addition to yoga, there are plenty of other ways to work out without leaving your neighborhood. Whether you prefer to run, swim, hike, or take a dance class, you'll probably be surprised by how easily you can stay active in Los Angeles.
#4. Find your soulmate
If you're single, live in Los Angeles, and want to make friends, date or mingle, you'd be hard-pressed to continue suffering the search alone. The world's entertainment capital has it all, from hobnobbing with celebrities on the Sunset Strip to dining at one of the city's best restaurants. But if you're looking for something more meaningful, consider signing up with one of the city's popular dating sites like Match or eHarmony. Sites like these are not only great for meeting that other-half, they're also great options for making new friends and expanding your social circle.
#5 Do your shopping during the day.
This might be the most obvious tip, but I've found that it's the one that makes the biggest difference in my overall experience of living in New York City. I've lived here for nearly five years, but it still takes me by surprise every time I leave work an hour earlier than I usually do to hit the stores before they close at 9 pm. The streets are gloriously empty. The city is mine. I imagine this feeling is similar to Conrad Hilton's obsession with buying up property in Manhattan during the Great Depression when "you could buy buildings for nothing." The difference was that instead of buying buildings, he bought hotels. And you didn't have to be a billionaire to enjoy this feeling of an empty city at night. Just get off work.
#6 - Make friends with the neighbors.
A new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology revealed that living near close friends and family is good for your health. For those seeking a quiet, more intimate neighborhood, making friends with the neighbors could be the best step towards wellbeing. Not only is it good for your health, but it's also good for your wallet.
#7 Get to Know Your City. Just because you're staying put doesn't mean you can't learn new tricks. All you need is a little curiosity and a dash of imagination. Start by taking a closer look at the neighborhood where you live and work -- and then venture beyond that into other areas that interest you. Who knows? You might find something magical right down the street from home.
# 8 Join a co-working space when you want an office environment.
When you think about escaping the city without leaving, do you think about moving?
How about getting away from it all without leaving the city? We've got an unconventional solution: Move your office.
For a lot of us, a big part of a fulfilling life is a sense of community. And in a city like New York, where everything is in constant motion, and it doesn't seem like people ever sleep, having a place to connect with other people who share your passions can be an important source of energy and inspiration.
Companies like WeWork make this kind of nomadic, co-working city-living easy, providing occupants with state-of-the-art office environments in convenient locations every few blocks in some of the busiest parts of town. And while not everyone can afford an expensive WeWork or Regus membership, there are cheaper ways to get a taste of a co-working life.
In the end, escaping the city without actually leaving it isn't about picking one specific neighborhood to call home, but about creating a place where you can live and work and play and eat and sleep and watch and listen and learn and laugh and watch again and learn again and laugh again - often in the same day - and be happy to be there at all times, not just when the sun is shining, or the sky is blue, or the subway is running on time, or you've got free tickets to a Broadway show.