Back to basics: Why I love cities

Back to basics: Why I love cities

We bought an apartment in 2017, which means all of our money now has to be spent on the said apartment instead of trips abroad. I’m not complaining; we’re bloody lucky to have this home. But I do miss traveling. We didn’t go anywhere last year and made a little trip to Philly not long before, so I miss my spontaneous city breaks.

I feel like I need to take a step back and remind myself why I always choose cities over beach destinations. After selling my city soul out with a two-week beach break in the Caribbeans in 2012, and then a Maldives honeymoon in 2014, I think I firmly established my love of exploring. So here they are, the reasons why I’ll always love city breaks the most.

Feeling like a tiny speck in a great, wide world

When everything else is huge and roaring loud, you feel about two inches tall and begin to realise exactly how small you are in the great scheme of things. I might be the only person who likes to feel tiny, but I also like to feel that rush of appreciation that the world is such an expanse of places, full of friends you don’t know yet.

There’s always something to do

Relaxing holidays aren’t usually my bag. I’ve written before about having trouble learning how to take it easy. Evenings after work and weekends are ‘do nothing’ times for me. Holidays are all about activities and exploring. Since I work full-time, breaks abroad are precious for me so I like to full almost every waking hour with something to do.

Whether it’s learning about history and architecture or taking in culture or nature, city travel makes this so much easier. I guess it’s largely due to the number of museums you find in cities and the number of recommendations you get from friends and family who’ve visited before. I often end up having to cut a huge list of things to do, simply because we’re not staying long enough.

Cities make me more creative

There’s something about exploring a city that gives me flashes of inspiration to tell stories or start a new stitch. I need random snippets of conversation, lots of faces with a wealth of expressions to interpret, buildings that are so tall they block out the sun yet with one more footstep can stream a direct beam of light right into the back of your corneas.

I need the tiniest patch of grass in the middle of a pollution that somehow manages to survive, the sheer heat of summer when you’re surrounded by glass, and the rush everyone seems to be in. Silence and stillness just don’t cut it when I need to get inspired.

City breaks give me energy

I’m an off the chart introvert. Put me in a room with loud and extroverted people for an hour and I’ll spend the last 45 minutes trying to blend into the walls. But cities – they give me a new lease on life.

I can enjoy all the bustle of a city center, with its slow-walking tourists and fast-moving traffic, and then retreat to a quiet hotel room or apartment and watch all the fuss outside. It’s the best of both worlds.