This past October marked my 10th year of living in Durham, North Carolina. It’s the longest I’ve lived in one place since I left Connecticut for college in 2002. In those intervening 16 years I’ve traveled to dozens of countries and lived in more than half a dozen places. I’m fairly incapable of staying put, I’ve learned, but as time has passed I’ve come to discover that there are a very small number of places that trigger a very specific feeling deep inside me. I call these my soul cities.
Soul cities are more than just your favorite destination, they are an inescapable part of who you are. These are places that you don’t just visit, you inhabit. They have a vibe that speaks to you on an almost instinctual level; as if you’re at home before you even arrive.
Your soul city might be the place you live right now, or it might be a place you’ve left and long to return to. It may be the place where you’ve vacationed for decades, or it could be a place you’ve only just visited but has stolen your heart. Soul cities don’t have a rhyme or reason, they just exist and cling to you with all of their might.
I have four soul cities right now.
Grafton, Vermont. New York City. Zagreb, Croatia. Mexico City.
These four wildly different places have all left indelible marks on my being. They have helped form the person that I am today, and they show me the person that I want to be in the future. They are integral to my understanding of myself, and each represent a different aspect of my crazy, complicated life.
In the coming weeks I’m going to write short essays on each of my soul cities and what they mean to me. I hope that in sharing my connection to them I can encourage you to seek out and fall in love with your very own soul cities, or share your thoughts on the places that define you.
Cheers to soul cities!