From New York to…Edinburgh

It’s a big change, moving from a small town to a big city. It feels too vast, too claustrophobic, too many people in too many streets that twist and turn into each other like streams in never-ending deltas.

It’s not just a specific city, though. Anywhere from New York to Paris to Mumbai can feel like that when you’ve never experienced it before. Sure, moving to a city can be exciting, but even that doesn’t completely erase the other feelings.

But there’s some comfort. Every big city can feel like a small town once you recognize the spots that feel a little cozier, the neighborhoods that feel more like lakes than constant oceans. In New York, that means avoiding midtown at all times and in Edinburgh, it means fleeing tourists on the Royal Mile, especially during the summer months.

Why compare New York to Edinburgh when talking about a small town feeling? Well, both cities hold a relatively large percent of their country’s population in a very compact space for the number. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by either when you’re not from the area, but they each have unique spots that make you feel like you never left the small place you grew up in.

https://www.favrify.com/

https://www.favrify.com/

https://edinburgh-chamber-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/

https://edinburgh-chamber-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/

Avoid tourist destinations

New York and Edinburgh both have a large tourism industry concentrated in a highly dense area, and if you spend a lot of time there you will feel overwhelmed by your new city life. For Edinburgh, this is a lot less important since the Royal Mile has a lot of less crowded spots where there are virtually no people such as the Writer’s Museum. However for New York, any street you visit in Midtown during the middle of the day is pretty much guaranteed to be crowded.

Try new neighborhoods

Instead of tourist areas, try opting for new neighborhoods in both cities. Both Hamilton and Washington Heights in New York are great places to feel like you’re in the suburbs again. With the lack of the ever-present crowd, the water on both sides, and the plethora of parks like Fort Washington and Highbridge, it’s a great area with a casual, residential feel. Coffee shops like The Chipped Cup give a cozy, warm feeling without escaping the novelty of New York. For Edinburgh, nothing gets away from big city life and screams small town like nature. Calton Hill is smack in the center of the city and a great place to hang out if you want to avoid the crowds at Arthur’s Seat. Or if a hike isn’t your cup of tea, try the area around Dean’s Garden and Cemetery— it’s super cozy and beautiful.

Chipped Cup Coffee http://www.chippedcupcoffee.com

Chipped Cup Coffee
http://www.chippedcupcoffee.com

 

View from Calton Hill Taken by Jainita Patel

View from Calton Hill
Taken by Jainita Patel

Take a day trip

One of the best parts about living in a small town is being able to drive and see another place. In both New York City and Edinburgh, you can still access new places even without a car. For New York, if you’re an experienced hiker and need to get out for a day, take a train from Grand Central to Fishkill, NY ($25-$30 one way, about 2 a hour journey) and hike Breakneck Ridge. If that seems a little too intense, try a day tour with Vertically Inclined ($35, about an hour’s journey) to Anthony’s Nose in the Bronx. In Edinburgh, if the breathtaking view from atop Calton Hill wasn’t enough, maybe try a trip into a Highland with Rabbies (tours range from £28 to £42).

View from the Breakneck Ridge Trail. https://cdn-files.apstatic.com/hike/

View from the Breakneck Ridge Trail.
https://cdn-files.apstatic.com/hike/

View from Loch Lomand (Peaking into the Scottish Highlands) Taken by Jainita Patel

View from Loch Lomand (Peaking into the Scottish Highlands) and me.
Taken by Jainita Patel

 

Talk to your neighbors.

Yup, it’s as simple (or as difficult) as that. The ease of living in a small town is that you know a lot of people. Without that social cushion, cities can seem cold and awkward. In Edinburgh, most people tend to be friendly and generous with their conversation and advice if you can muster the courage to ask them. In New York, people can be a bit tougher to crack, but frequenting a local coffee shop or other nearby venue is guaranteed to have the barista or another frequent patron notice you and that could be a good way into a friendship that can make the big city seem a little smaller.

These few tips can help you feel a little less alone and scared in a big city. Both places require quite the adjustment period, but trust me, soon it will start to feel like home again and you’ll get a lot more comfortable. And who knows? If you like how New York or Edinburgh can start to feel like a small town, hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit the other city someday and find the same feeling there as well.


By Jainita Patel

Jainita is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is double majoring in English and Environmental Studies at NYU. Though writing fiction and painting are her two main passions, she also has a love of travel and adventure that has taken her across the globe.  Jainita writes under the pseudonym Jordan C. Rider. If you like her posts, you can find more of her work here or follow her on Twitter. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

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