As a certain Dorothy once said, “There’s no place like home!” I spent the best part of last year travelling the world, from Hawaii, to New Zealand and Australia to Japan. I saw some truly astounding sights and stayed in some beautiful places, but never once did I consider not returning home. I’ve lived in London all of my life, and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
Partly this is because I have set down roots. I have friends and family here, I have a lovely house in a mostly riot-free neighbourhood, I am settled. Yes, it’s noisy and crowded, as are all large cities, but it’s also full of verve and endless possibilities.
But it’s not just that.
I’m pretty sure that cities are living breathing creatures, as much about their inhabitants as their buildings. That everyone who ever lived in a place becomes part of it’s very fabric. That if you listen very carefully, every street echoes with the footsteps of all the people who have ever walked down it. I am a rational, logical sort of person, but when I walk through the dank, cobbled, back streets of Southwark on a frosty night, it’s hard not to believe in the existence of ghosts.
So if everyone who ever lived here has become part of the soul of the city, that means I am part of it too, and it is part of me.