I think it is safe to say that most people spend copious amounts of time daydreaming about the future.
As you get older, your daydreams become more detailed and more realistic. One of my favorite things to think about was always where I would live throughout my life. Would I end up in a sunny beach cottage? An exotic foreign hut? An apartment in a bustling city? A quaint house in a peaceful countryside? I loved the idea that one day, I would be able to go anywhere I wanted.
Being 19 years old, daydreaming about future destinations has become almost a hobby for me because within the next decade I will be able to make my own choices about where I live. I’ve actually already made my first monumental life decision when I decided to attend college in Tampa. This decision led to an amazing experience because I left the small New England town I grew up in and ventured out to a relatively large city in paradise. I would say the best part about moving to Tampa was not the gorgeous weather, as most would probably assume, but the chance to experience living in a city.
That brings me to the focus of this post: the nature of cities in general. Whenever I find myself in a city, I am so captivated by my surroundings that I can just meander around for hours and never get bored. Because cities consist of large amounts of physical matter condensed into one area, the intricate maze of streets and kaleidoscope of lights and sounds can be overwhelming. But if you take the time to observe and absorb the busy surroundings, you’ll find beauty in the chaos.
I recently read The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which includes many eloquent descriptions of city life. The following passage from page 26 describes New York City:
“The soft rush of taxis by him, and laughter, laughter hoarse as a crow’s, incessant and loud, with the rumble of the subways underneath–and over all, the revolutions of light, the growings and recedings of light–light dividing like peals–forming and reforming in glittering bars and circles and monstrous grotesque figures cut amazingly out of the sky.”
Fitzgerald provides a sensory adventure when describing the harsh sounds and mesmerizing lights of NYC. I find his description very accurate, because New York might be the busiest city I’ve been to. NYC holds this feeling of nonstop action, where numerous different sounds clash all around you and flashing billboards crowd your line of vision. The hectic appearance of NYC infuses you with energy and provokes feelings of excitement, especially at night when the neon lights slice through the sharp darkness of the sky.
( I took these pictures in NYC this past Thanksgiving. I purposely made the first photo blurry to symbolize the chaotic aura of the city night life. That’s a lie…I actually just lack photography skills.)
Some cities around the world contain less craziness than NYC, but are nonetheless packed with culture. Warsaw turned out to be one of my favorite cities because of its simplistic atmosphere that combines pristine contemporary architecture with ornate traditional buildings. Older areas of Warsaw burst with color and intricate designs while others emanate a clean sense of modernity. Rich green parks dotted with fountains add freshness to the city, and numerous cultural landmarks contribute to the incredible history and cultural significance of Warsaw.
As a physical representation of culture, every city is beautiful and intriguing in its own way. Every place on this earth has its own sense of purpose and holds its own unique history. I’ve experienced the wonder of some amazing cities in my life so far, I cannot wait to travel around the world and see as many places as possible.