Man, I should be draggin' ass at work today, as I stayed up all night to watch my New England Patriots win their 3rd Superbowl in 4 years. The game comes on at 1230am here, so I had no choice. I'm tired, but it was well worth it. Just wish I could have watched it with my friends from back home...
Anyway, on to today's topic. I sometimes find myself pondering where I would like to live if I had a choice. Would I prefer to live in a city or in the country? It's a hard question to answer. I grew up in Nashua, NH, which is close enough to Boston to be considered somewhat of a suburb (some people even call it Boston North), but far enough away to have it's own identity. I always preferred being far enough away from the city that we didn't have to deal with the "big city problems", but as I'm getting older, I find my view changing quite a bit. It stems mostly from two things:
1. Going to College and getting a College education and
2. Traveling around the world and getting a real world education.
Although I didn't exactly grow up in the sticks - Nashua is a very modern city of around 100,000 - I did certainly spend quite a bit of time in the great outdoors. I used to love going up into the mountains, fishing, canoeing, camping. When I was young, I thought this was what I wanted to live in. But now, I find that I prefer the conveniences of a big city. For instance, I hate going home to Nashua, as I now find it boring, but I absolutely love going to Boston. Not only that, but when I travel, I feel much more comfortable in the bigger cities such as Rome, Berlin, Munich, and Hong Kong. There is just no substitute for getting ANYTHING that you want at any time of the day or night. Plus, the bigger cities have much better food. For me, the big plus is the culture. I need a plethora of bars, pubs, restaurants, and I especially need to be wired. I'm an information junkie, I need access to information at all hours. When I wake up in the morning and don't have a newspaper, I feel cut off from civilization. I can get this in a city. I can't get this in the country.
If I was to pick one place where I could get the best of both worlds, it might be Hong Kong. The city life is legendary, but most people have no idea that Hong Kong has plenty of quiet wilderness that is close nearby. You can take a ferry 20 minutes and be hiking on a secluded mountain on an island somewhere. In fact, if I had the choice, Hong Kong would be the city I would choose to live in for the rest of my life. I just love the energy.
I do still enjoy the outdoors however. I've always been an avid hiker and I do miss tying a fly to the end of my line and getting a rise out of a nice fat rainbow trout. But as I've learned, sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to gain others. That's one thing I love about Europe - everything is here, and it's all relatively close. On any given weekend, I might choose to go to Milan, Venice or Rome, or instead I might opt to take a drive up through the Alps, or into the wine country, or some other place far away from the hustle and bustle.
So which is better? As for me, I'd prefer to live in the city, but at least have the country at my fingertips. Call me greedy, but I want it both ways.