Is Every Big City The Same?

Photo by Nate on

I understand why many people from major metropolis have such pride and even arrogance about their city. If you meet people from one of those places they don’t tell you which country they’re from, they simply say “I’m from London.” “I’m from Paris.” “I’m from Beijing.” And of course, “I’m from New York.” The city is philosophically bigger than its country. Some call it the crown jewel of the country. It’s where the trends come from, where the money is, where the players play. People from all over the globe congregate in these cities. The rest of the country is ignored. The smaller cities are forgotten. If you live in Barcelona, you matter. If you live in a town 100 miles away, you don’t. You tell someone you’re from Rome, you don’t need to add Italy. They already know. Your reputation precedes you. But what most arrogant city dwellers don’t realize is that, well, your city just ain’t that special.

Every major world city is built on the same formula. It goes like this:

Fill the city center with tall western style office buildings for the financial sector; destroy the aesthetics of the national culture in favor of shameless advertisements and corny commercialism everywhere the eye can see; dedicate spaces for multinational fast food chains and the obligatory Irish Pub; ignore traffic efficiency; and despite the population ranging from dead broke to crazy rich, maintain a high cost of living. Noise, deafening noise, everywhere you go. Noise is your shadow when you live in a big city. Chaos is the defining characteristic of these places.

Big cities are all the same: Boring. And this is great for a traveler.

Photo by nappy on

Major cities serve one purpose. To act as a sample platter of the country’s flavors and as a business hub. That’s why they’re so populated. There is a representative from every type of industry, business, food, housing, entertainment, or idea for sale in a city like a Tokyo, or a New York. For you, the adventurous man, big cities are a great landing point. You drop in, take advantage of the conveniences, and two days later get the hell out. If you need anything, you can get it in a major city. Well almost anything.

I’m from LA and everyone in the world visits, but the real California vibes are elsewhere in the state.* I’ll let you discover for yourself. The real beauty of a country is never in the big cities. The true aesthetic beauty of a country is often found miles away from all the glamour, glitz, and gasoline fumes. The cultural traditions of the land are preserved in their purest form in small towns or remote villages.

Mystery, romance and spiritual wonder cant be found in big cities because why would people go to work if they had access to such thirst quenching nectar?

When you been to one big city, you’ve been to them all. Some are less obnoxious than others. Some have better weather than others. If you want to really see a place, you should see it. But trust me when I tell you that going to a big city for vacation, especially when you live in one already is not a vacation at all. Use that time and money to really step out and experience something spectacular.

*not SF.

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