I travel every week around Europe. Not long ago, I started to have a sensation, that I like to call an art. Upon landing in an airport, in less than 30 minutes, you just feel like if you lived in that place.
The shocking epiphany is soon to be discovered when a friend, colleague or client asks you the magic question: when did you arrive? It is then that you find yourself wondering what that person may mean, because you think you live there or you just don’t remember when you arrived because it feels days, weeks ago, but it is just a few hours before. You simply do not manage to answer right there. It takes a few seconds to shockingly reply: a few hours ago.
I guess it is a skill, an art that manifests itself mainly to people who have lived in many cities and have learn to adapt in constantly changing environments. In those situation, you don’t have time to acclimatize to the new location; you just need to quickly adapt to find new friends new familiar places to call the new place “home”.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent but it is the one most responsive to change
The trap, hidden in this way of thinking is that you end up living each city in a strange way. You get a bird-eye view like on a Wikipedia page, deep-diving into the paragraph you are interested in.
After collecting a few cities this way in your memory, your brain categorise them like in a Frankenstein-like city, with the public transport of Stockholm and the vibrancy of London; the monuments of Rome with the size of Prague; the business mindset of New York City with the climate of Barcelona, resulting in a city that does not exist apart from inside your brain: the DIY city.
I guess that this syndrome is the real world representation of the DIY city that cannot exist but, this way, it gets close enough.
This hecitc and digitally enabled world has made traveling possible,it has shortened distances and got lifestyles closer to each other. The ubiquity syndrome is surely a gift, although sometimes I wonder if it is not a curse?