This love letter to the cities of the world — from the airline pilot–author of Skyfaring — is "a journey around both the author's mind and the planet's great cities that leaves us energized, open to new experiences and ready to return more hopefully to our lives" (Alain de Botton, author of The Art of Travel).
In his small New England hometown, Mark Vanhoenacker spent his childhood dreaming of elsewhere — of the distant, real cities he found on the illuminated globe in his bedroom, and of one perfect metropolis that existed only in his imagination. These cities were the sources of endless comfort and escape, and of a lasting fascination. Streets unspooled, towers shone, and anonymous crowds bustled in the places where Mark hoped he could someday be anyone — perhaps even himself.
Now, as a commercial airline pilot, Mark has spent nearly two decades crossing the skies of our planet and touching down in dozens of the storied cities he imagined as a child. He experiences these destinations during brief stays that he repeats month after month and year after year, giving him an unconventional and uniquely vivid perspective on the places that form our urban world.
In this intimate yet expansive work that weaves travelogue with memoir, Mark celebrates the cities he has come to know and to love, through the lens of the hometown his heart has never quite left. As he explores emblematic facets of each city’s identity — the road signs of Los Angeles, the old gates of Jeddah, the snowy streets of Sapporo — he shows us with warmth and fresh eyes the extraordinary places that billions of us call home.
Mark Vanhoenacker is a commercial airline pilot and writer. The author of the international best seller Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot and How to Land a Plane, he is also a regular contributor to The New York Times and a columnist for the Financial Times. Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, he trained as a historian and worked in business before starting his flight training in Britain in 2001. He now flies the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from London to cities around the world.
Matthew Félix is an author, podcaster, and speaker. On his Matthew Félix on Air and as Program Director and Host of the San Francisco Writers Conference podcast, he has interviewed NY Times bestselling authors, leaders of organizations such as LitQuake, the Mill Valley Film Festival, and the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, and experts on topics ranging from cable cars to cannabis, refugees to honey bees, and acupuncture to astrotourism. Matthew also speaks regularly about creativity, podcasting, marketing for authors, and more. Publishers Weekly’s BookLife Prize called his debut novel, A Voice Beyond Reason, “(a) highly crafted gem;” his travel collection, With Open Arms, won numerous Solas Awards and has topped Amazon's Morocco category four times; and his latest book, Porcelain Travels, won Gold for Humor in the Readers’ Favorite Awards, received two Soul-Making Keats Literary Awards, and was a Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award finalist.
Mark Vanhoenacker photo courtesy of Mark Jones; Matthew Félix photo courtesy of the author