How intuition can lead us to the most surprising places (literally!) - Expat Nest e-counselling


How intuition can lead us to the most surprising places (literally!)

Have you ever found yourself drawn to a particular place, without really knowing why? Or landed up somewhere on a whim, or by accident, only to find it’s just right for you – or that you meet someone just right for you? When this happens, writes author Linda Lappin, you’ve been “touched by the soul of place”. As we follow Lappin’s reflections, we discover that our feelings about a place may reveal a lot about us, and even where we could be happiest…


“Many expats I have met in my journeys have confessed that they found their far flung homes or exotic partners by following intuition,” says Lappin.

Like the young French-Canadian woman who revealed to her: “I hated the winters, hated my job and I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I opened a map, closed my eyes, and put my finger on a spot, saying to myself, ‘Whatever happens, I will go there!’.” She moved to a village in eastern Crete, Greece, where she settled down and raised a family.

Or the Australian woman who followed photos she had seen in a magazine to a tiny Italian village, where she now lives and works as a guide.

The strangest things can call to us…

“Detours, car breakdowns, casual invitations, or in earlier centuries, shipwrecks are common circumstances in which travellers get waylaid in places that hold the unsuspected spiralling of destiny,” writes Lappin.

And, as she can attest, objects from childhood can have a similar effect… Her father’s lucky Roman coin exercised a magic of its own, she writes, and led her from Tennessee, USA, to Rome (where she continues to live more than thirty years later).

For others, notes Lappin, the mere name of a place – “Montmartre”, “Innisfree”, “Congo”, “Sunset Boulevard” – has the power to draw them to it.

It may sound mystical, even bizarre, to talk about a place having a soul, but this was obvious to many of our earliest thinkers. In the ancient world, Lappin tells us, the soul (or spirit) of place – the “genius loci” – was believed to come from an intelligence in the landscapes or buildings that interacted with all the beings held there.

Using “questions of place” to guide you to your best place

Lappin encourages us to ask these questions of ourselves, and in asking them, to ‘listen for the constant conversation going on between ourselves and our environment which may have more impact on our health and well-being than we can possibly imagine”.

  • Do you see patterns in the places that have attracted you?
  • Are there cities or homes that have nourished or depleted you?
  • How do you feel in the setting where you are currently living?
  • How can you enhance your awareness of your surroundings and of the genius loci (the soul or spirit of the place) operating there?
  • What would it be like to find the place where you finally feel at home?
  • And how might you set out to discover it?

“Places inhabit us just as we inhabit them,” she says. What do you think?

Adapted with permission from “Finding Your Place” by Linda Lappin – also the author of The Soul of Place – A Creative Writing Workbook: Ideas and Exercises for Conjuring the Genius Loci.


Have you ever felt inexplicably drawn – or not – to a place? Where has your intuition led you? (For example, intuition led me to Bali some years ago). Just leave a comment below. We’d love to know, really!


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© Vivian Chiona, Expat Nest



  1. Renata says:

    Thank you for sharing this! The article has helped me realise that my intense longing to be in a wild space and among wild species may just be part of my true self (I’m not crazy!). I feel a strong “soul of place” in wild areas and in the bushveld of South Africa in particular – possibly a sign that I would flourish and feel happier there.

    1. Dear Renata,
      Thank you so much for your comment! Glad that you found it valuable and gave you the ‘why’ behind your longing to be in a wild space!
      I also love going after the ‘soul of a place’!
      Best wishes

  2. Lili says:

    Dear Vivian,
    Indeed, our physical environments can have such a profound effect on our mental well-being. It varies from individual to individual which surrounding they find energizing. It not only takes insight, but also courage, to follow your intuition to places which feel right for you personally. Taking the plunge to relocate can be terrifying at first, and so rewarding after!
    Thank you for sharing,

    1. Hi Lili
      Well, I couldn’t have said it better. To find that place, or those places, that energise you is a real gift. And you’re so right about the rewards of bravely listening to your intuition! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. We have many readers coming to the site and contributions like yours really deepen the conversations here.
      With thanks

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