A love letter to the cities of the world, from the airline pilot–author of Skyfaring.
Ever since he was a boy growing up in Pittsfield, in western Massachusetts, Mark Vanhoenacker has been fascinated by cities: their bright lights, hustle and bustle, and dazzling skylines, and the endless opportunities they offer for personal discovery and reinvention. Now, as an adult, he travels the world as a commercial airline pilot, visiting every city he dreamed about as a child and many, many more. The way he experiences these metropolises—in 24- to 72-hour layovers, sometimes twice in one week and then not at all for months or even years—is unlike that of any ordinary traveler, and gives him an utterly unique perspective on what makes a city a city. In this hybrid work of travelogue and memoir, Vanhoenacker celebrates the cities he has come to know over the years, from Pittsburgh to Cape Town, and from Tokyo to Jeddah—through the lens of his small hometown. In chapters that explore individual facets of city identity—their geography, their poems, their weather—he shows us with fresh eyes the man-made wonders that billions of us call home.