Because big cities can be full of anonymous strangers.
We should never stop wandering, especially when it’s not about traveling for work as The Ferros, that’s what we thought in a dark and cold afternoon while walking in a smokey London. We were in Camden Town, and a small group of senior people passing by captured our attention. How beautiful they were with their silverish hair unkempt by the wind and their look which seemed kind of lost! We’ll never know why. We’ll never know if they were lost or not. But we’ll never forget the charm they hold, everyone in their own way. Starting from this feeling we realize that was only the surface of maybe a bigger thought: yes, it’s true we never stop wandering, but we wander alone.
Especially big cities, like London, should be the antidote to loneliness. But there is a particular feeling of loneliness that comes precisely from living in a place surrounded by millions of people. In 1903, the German philosopher Georg Simmel described the social tendency that “one nowhere feels as lonely and lost as in the metropolitan crowd”.
A lot more artists, poets, writers talked about it.
“The people that I liked and had not met went to the big cafes because they were lost in them and no one noticed them and they could be alone in them and be together.” – Ernest Hemingway
A Moveable Feast “The group of people in front of her was jovial and paid her no attention. The group behind was much the same. She was alone without being alone.” – Andrè Alexis, Pastoral
“I had nothing to contribute. I played no part. I was on the edge. Different. Alone. Everything around me, grey. It was the same old feeling, back again. I was in the middle of the group but I might as well have been a million miles away from these people.” – Tim Relf, Stag