Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The start of a trip that will take me around the world

I am beginning a journey to find the fastest growing cities in the world. I don't know my full plan but I know that I have a plane ticket and visa to India to start out. I plan on going to the slums and shantytowns on the urban outskirts that are driving the growth in these places to see if I can pick up on the hum of the people's story there.

So far I've used statistics as my guide to plan out an itinerary. City Mayors - www.citymayors.com - has published a list of the projected fastest growing cities from now to 2020 using UN statistics and regional growth projections.

The top 20 cities on the list:

1) Beihai, China
2) Ghaziabad, India
3) Sana'a, Yemen
4) Surat, India
5) Kabul, Afghanistan
6) Bamako, Mali
7) Lagos, Nigeria
8) Faridabad, India
9) Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
10) Chittagong, Bangladesh
11) Toluca, Mexico
12) Lubumbashi, Congo
13) Kampala, Uganda
14) Santa Cruz, Bolivia
15) Luanda, Angola
16) Nashik, India
17) Kinshasa, Congo
18) Nairobi, Kenya
19) Dhaka, Bangladesh
20) Antananarivo, Madagascar

I'm going to travel to as many of these cities as my funding will allow . I am travelling alone and trying to experience the street vibration of these places and see if there is some common thread that links them and put it together into a book. Growing up, my hometown was on its decline; its heyday was in the 1920's making brooms and carpets. I've always wanted to experience what it must have been like when it was filled with the hustle of growth in 1900 and 1910; I've wanted to experience that vibration of a place that is bursting at its seams.

The nerves and self doubt that come with planning a trip like this can feel overwhelming on a bad day, but right now I have to jump and not think too much. The starting place will be in India and Bangladesh because there are several cities relatively close together on the Indian sub-continent.

About this photo:  This photo was taken in the summer of 2007 from a rooftop in Pahar Ganj in New Delhi.


  1. Sounds like a fantastic trip, and it's a really interesting theme that really appeals to the geography geek in me, I'm looking forward to reading about it. When are you off?

  2. I'm heading out at the beginning of March so for the past few weeks I've been trying to do as much planning as I can. Its proving to be pretty hard especially when it comes to visas. I had originally wanted to line up all of the entry visas, but some of them are only good for a month or two and I really don't want to pay for a visa and then miss the valid window to enter a country because I get held up. So right now I'm planning on just getting the visas I need in Delhi and playing it by ear along the way.

  3. How long is this trip going to be?

  4. You are destine for greatness. Might you allow me the goodwill to sponsor the cost for your trip to 1 of the cities? I can send wire transfer to you good man. Please send instruction.


  5. Sounds like a fascinating mission and I look forward to reading your future posts and share in the adventure. Happy travels!

  6. Go young man and find our destiny as a people. Let nothing stand in your way.

  7. I am equally excited for this trip of yours as you and the fellow commentators here are.

    Wish you the best of luck.