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Finding a sense of place


Finding a sense of place

Sami Muirhead is on a mission to find her own ‘Central Perk Cafe’ space, where friends gather and embrace their feeling of community.

Do yourself a favour and embrace third place. I am not talking about medal podium finishes here but I refer to a new concept of a place you go to regularly and that makes you feel really great.

Your first place is your home or where you live. Your second place is where you go to school or work. So, the question is: when you are not at home or work or school, where are you? Mine may be driving kids where they need to be as they jokingly refer to me as their ‘Moo-ber’ (Mum Uber). But the concept of a third place has me hooked.

Your third place includes spaces such as parks, the beach, cafes, libraries or community centres. The idea is that your third place is somewhere you feel welcome and you do not need to spend much money to feel satisfied and part of a community.

Buying a latte is a treat many of us can afford. The French embrace a break from the rush of everyday life where they drink their short blacks out of real cups in a real café. Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it?

Remember Central Perk Café in TV sitcom Friends where we all wanted to go and hang out with our buddies? This is a third place. So, I am on a mission to find my third place. It used to be Pt Cartwright where I watched my dogs run off lead. I knew all the dogs’ and dog owners’ names. I don’t go there much anymore as I find it too sad after the laws banned dogs off leash.

But there is an old, weathered timber bench at the Buddina boat ramp I have long looked at with fascination. A bunch of ‘salty old dog’ blokes meet there at dawn every morning with their cup of coffee from home and they just chat. They do not sit texting on their phones. They simply talk to each other. What a powerful concept.

I interviewed a lady over a decade ago who was part of The Monday Morning Cooking Club. In 2006, a group of Sydney Jewish women came together to share recipes and discuss food. They cooked, ate and told each other of their problems and highlights of the week. Fast forward to 2024 and there are many women in the club and they have printed endless cookbooks with recipes from hundreds of women spanning generations. What a wonderful way to start the week.

So as the world looms larger, let us all try to stop feeling smaller.


Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami tune into Mix FM.

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