I grew up in the country and I love the quiet, the peace and the wide open spaces. But cities still thrill me with their unexpected surprises around every turn, the hum of humanity with a shared sense of purpose (to the trains! Waiting for dinner! Standing at the bus stop!). I don’t think I could ever chose between the two, nor could I deem one better than the other. I think both are necessary, not only for a progressive civilization, but for diversity of experiences and understanding.
It’s a common theme to set up this false dilemma between city and country life. It doesn’t need to be a choice, nor should we argue that one surpasses the other because of some more worthy frame of reference one can build in either location. The toughness of a do-it-yourself rural citizen is equal to the gritty determination of a city-born hourly wage earner. But it is true that a city is lost without the fields of agriculture the rural life provides; and a remote region requires the technology of cities for communication and connection to the rest of the world. Neither can exist, and provide their citizens with the rich experiences of the world, without the other.
When I daydream about the places I want to see in the world, fully half are cities and the other half are remote open spaces. Madrid and the Atacama desert. Paris and the Okavango delta. Hong Kong and Tasmania. They both draw me in, for reasons beyond my own understanding. Maybe it’s because my soul is never truly content in one setting, and must always be searching for a new one. Or maybe just the idea of greener pastures elsewhere.
No matter the reason, I’ll continue my travels to both cities and fields; metropolises teeming with life and plains with nothing on the horizon but hills; urban sprawls and rural back roads. Together, they knit together a life filled with wonder and wandering.