Home » Travel inspiration » Why we travel to cities: the search for multiple conformities

Why we travel to cities: the search for multiple conformities

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

Bangkok bike tour

We love the city. We love watching people, we love the buzz that moves through buildings, parks and squares like an airflow. The city is home to multiple conformities. In a city it all happens; a microcosmos of opportunities and historic failures.

In one way or another we search for conformities while we travel. We like to understand a religion, a culture or the habits of people in a small village.

We tend to praise ourselves that we are different. We feel special walking around in that different conformity. But when we return home, our own conformity hits us again, right in the face. It’s difficult to escape the conformity that has grown to cover us. Some travel continuously, from one conformity to another. I believe that helps and I envy those who jump from one stepstone to another as soon as conformity tends to take over.

That is exactly why we love to travel to cities. The more extreme, the better. You can travel a whole country to discover multiple conformities or rather visit that one city to see them combined. The city is the place where conformities are born, live next to each other and die again. Cities are Mother Diversity. That’s why we travel: to enjoy the diversity and make a conformity something special.

City travel

How about you, do you love to travel to cities?

This post was inspired by Manuel Loigeret, thanks!

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Gaby November 22, 2011 - 04:36

This is a very intriguing article!  It made me reflect on my own fascination with cities and travel.  Thinking about each place as a localized conformity is also very interesting.  Sometimes it really just takes the proper wording for us to realize such a simple truth.  Thank you for such a great piece!

I’ve been so busy with work over the past month and a half I’ve been so behind with all the blogs I regularly read!  I can’t wait to sink my teeth into your other articles!  I hope all is well!

Emiel van den Boomen November 24, 2011 - 09:57

Hello Gaby and thank you for your great comment! It is wonderful to hear when readers want to sink their teeth into your stories. Really, this is very much appreciated.
What is the one city that you were most inspired by and why?

Maryrichardson October 26, 2011 - 17:05

Yes, I love visiting cities too. There’s something so exciting about seeing how people organize themselves and of course the buildings and restaurants. I love visiting a city and stopping in a public space and writing down all the details. So much happening like a Richard Scarry children’s book. 

Emiel van den Boomen October 26, 2011 - 20:59

So much happening indeed, glad to see you again Mary,  after your move from Japan to USA! 

Emiel van den Boomen October 20, 2011 - 22:33

Love and hate…that’s visiting cities for sure. Glad you love the European cities that much 🙂  For us, there great places are indeed just around the corner.. thanks Jenna.

Monique, bringing travel home October 20, 2011 - 03:48

I do love traveling to cities, some of my past favorite memories are in London, Palermo, Paris, Madrid, Berlin….Amsterdam. But this post has me thinking. Why is it that most of my immediate future travel destinations have very  few cities involved..?… – possibly, for now, we’re drawn to natural beauty. islands, natural parks, etc. (or the nature, sand and water is a known happy place for young kids) But I do miss living in /visiting cities and their grit and color, and will plan to again….

Emiel van den Boomen October 20, 2011 - 22:36

We were also doubting whether it would be a good idea to bring our kids to cities like New York and Kuala Lumpur. But they love it. They are not being overwhelmed with city life, for them it’s just a pool of opportunities 🙂  Thanks Monique!

Vibeke October 19, 2011 - 12:52

I thought it was impossible not to like cities – until I met my husband who hates them! He doesn’t like the traffic, the pace of life, the absence of natural elements, the costs… his list is long. I on the other hand am a city girl. I miss my anonymity as soon as I hit the countryside. I miss the buzz, the variety, the people, the things on offer. However, we’ve somehow managed to learn from each other, and these days we make sure to include a bit of both on our travels. I suppose it’s stuff like this that makes the world go round. Thanks for your insight into an interesting issue!

Emiel van den Boomen October 20, 2011 - 22:35

That’s an interesting comment Vibeke. You miss your anonymity. I think I know what you mean. In a city you can drown in your anonymity but at the same time use that to watch other people and get involved in what happens around you. Thanks!

Manuel Loigeret October 19, 2011 - 05:17

The more I think about, the more I find that travelling in my own city is wonderful. I have just discovered that the building in front of my appartment is an old style canning company. You can bring your food and they have old machines to put it in cans. A little museum and everything. And it’s just there in front of me! I will never know everythin in this city. The possibilities are endless. I think that’s also why we are drawn to cities when we travel: we can find the right set of possibilities for us.

Emiel van den Boomen October 20, 2011 - 22:31

Cities always surprise us as they are constantly changing. I am currently writing a blog post about my Top 10 most incredible travel discoveries and guess what, I decided to add my home town Deventer. Thanks for the inspiration Manuel.

Michi October 18, 2011 - 22:42

I love traveling to cities, though I’ll tend to do a little of both, having come from a very big city myself. I would say it’s been a great balance of cities (I adore New York, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brugge, Paris, Vegas) and a bit of relaxing nature (Yosemite, Sequoia, the Canyons, Las Alpujarras, Chefchaouen, Tikal). You’re completely right, one of the most refreshing aspects of a city is its never ending diversity, and breaking out of our day-to-day conformity is a huge plus. I especially love the variety of food available!

Emiel van den Boomen October 20, 2011 - 22:29

Your comment wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the variety of food! Thanks Michelle.


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