I dreamt last night that I was working in downtown Los Angeles, a far cry from my current home office digs on the outskirts of Phoenix. It was a reminder of days past when I did spend more time working — and playing — in a big city environment. I wouldn’t trade my current peaceful surroundings for anything, but being downtown from time to time still brings me joy..
The dream wasn’t surprising as I did work in downtown Los Angeles through much of the 1990s, and even visited Manhattan and Chicago on business trips. I really enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big cities … they feel “alive.” When Judy and I got together, one of our first trips together was to L.A. to meet my family and I took her to see all my old haunts, which sometimes felt like a tour of the fast-food capital of the world!
Of course, Judy and I also met at work in one of the most iconic big cities in the world — Washington, DC. It’s “downtown” — The Mall — is a lot more green than many big cities. But even as you stroll the museums, memorials, and monuments, the political urgency is pervasive. Living in nearby Alexandria, we often visited Old Town Alexandria with its shops and restaurants. We loved the feeling of history in that particular “downtown” and its role in our nation’s heritage.
Traveling across the pond, there’s a realization that the history associated with downtowns dates back centuries and sometimes millenia. European cities are even more walkable than their American counterparts. Unlike in most of the U.S. where you hit the suburban malls, the best shopping in Europe is usually downtown. There’s always a great little cafe where you can stop for a quick nosh. Often centered on the main church or plaza, downtown is where both tourists and locals gather, making for great people watching!
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. There’s something truly vibrant and joyous about visiting the big cities of the world.
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