Hello all

Aaah … Greece! For the first time I have been thinking of visiting Greece.  Why is this so? I have been exposed to a couple of things that have made the difference to my mindset. For instance, I watched a recording yesterday of Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey which was played over Christmas.

joanna lumleyAs I watched, I saw Joanna travelling all over Greece as only Joanna can do, all dressed up and looking wonderful for her age, but what I love most about Joanna is her ability to be thoughtful. She is often mulling on things. She looks off into the distance and has discussions about the history of the place with the camera, that do not appear to be scripted. She captures your attention and draws you in so that you find yourself lost in what she is saying.

At one point, Joanna cried as she listened to an old man of 96 tell the story of how his family were killed by the Turks in an area of Greece bordering Turkey and Bulgaria. This was in the 1930’s when a fight was on for this last part of Greek territory. At the end of the interview as the old man wiped tears from his eyes he said: “I cannot talk about these things again.” Clearly too painful to keep repeating.

You see, Joanna introduced me to a part of Greece that one never hears about: the top northern part which only became Greek territory in the 1930s. This is a ‘must see’ area of Greece folks. But Joanna also visited the Greek Islands, which we all know about of course, but it was the places off the beaten track that most attracted me to want to visit Greece.

Of course, I want to go to the Greek Islands. In fact, I found the loveliest photo of  a Greek Island on a Greek friend’s Facebook with the caption: “Imagine yourself in this picture on the alluring Island of Kastelorizo in Greece.”

The Island of Kastelorizo in Greece

The Island of Kastelorizo in Greece

Oh yes … yes please. I want to be dropped into one of those pictures where my friend’s uncle owns the water taxi! I am still trying to recover from the disappointment of not visiting any Greek islands when Geoff and I travelled on a cruise from Venice to Istanbul in 2008. Our ship went right through the surrounding seas but not one island did we visit. This MUST be rectified!

All this made me think about the countries I have visited in Europe and where I would most like to live. I often say that the only place I really long to return to is Paris. It seemed to Geoff and me that it was ‘our sort of city.’

This idea came from a blog review I read earlier about a book called Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, Richard Florida, which had me intrigued. In her blog post Rian from Truth and Cake.com  talks about the book and how one relates to various cities. She says you visit some places and you feel an instant ‘click’ and are excited and at home. Yep I know about this … for me it was Paris.

But back to the book. Not every critic thinks this idea has any merit and I do not want to go into an in-depth review of ‘Who’s Your City?’ I just want to draw your attention to the concept of feeling good about the city that you live in. Truth and Cake put it simply for me:

I’ve often wondered why people have such strong attachments and aversions to various cities. Obviously, taste plays a role–some people simply prefer mountains to oceans and cities to prairies. But urban studies theorist and author Richard Florida believes there’s another factor at play.

He thinks that cities, like people, have distinct personalities. 

In his book, “Who’s Your City?” Florida dissects the personality traits that people share with cities and posits that the more similar you are to a city, the likelier you are to be happy there.”

An artist's impression of Paris' Cafe culture

An artist’s impression of Paris’ Cafe culture

Really? Can this be true? Is this why I love Paris so much? It’s lifestyle may very well suit my temperament which is all about conversation in cafes, cooking and eating as well as about creativity. A perfect match!

Which brings me to where I live NOW: Brisbane, Australia. I was born here and except for a short ‘working holiday’ for six months in the mining town of Mt. Isa out in the outback of North Queensland, I have lived here all my life. Is Brisbane my city? Does it suit my personality for instance?

Do I simply live here because I was born here? … Probably.

Do I want to move from here? … No, not really.

How then does this idea of Florida’s where personality matches a city,  impact me at all? … It impacts me not one jot!

Do I contradict myself? … Most definitely!

Still, one review I read of this book thought the author was simply getting mileage out of an idea he had some years ago and he continues to plug it in order to make money! Rather harsh words I thought, but then again perhaps this is true as Richard Florida is continually on the speaking circuit ($35,000 a pop) and has made a lot of money out of his three books which all verge on the same topic.

However, I am not likely to read this book folks but it certainly did a good job of making me think and sometimes that is enough. It’s good for the ‘little grey cells’ as Poirot often says. (Read the review here: isteve.blogspot.com.au/review/richard-floridas-whos-your-city)

And so dear friends, I hope I have got YOU thinking about the link between cities and your personality but as for me, I am not going to make a life-changing move any time soon. I think that Brisbane suits my personality just fine thank you very much!

Another view of the Island of Kastelorizo in Greece. I'd love to be dropped in here!

Another view of the Island of Kastelorizo in Greece. I’d love to be dropped in here!

But on second thought, I could move to Paris and be happy … or should I be thinking about a move to the Island of Kastelorizo in Greece instead? Which one best suits my personality?

I actually think I am the type of person who loves to travel and discover new places but is always more than happy to come back to the place I love and call home … Brisbane Australia. I am perfectly happy here. Is there any mention of this type of personality in “Who’s Your City” I wonder?

Where would YOU like to live?