My Kind of Town
Ezra has a post about feeling at home, and not, that is stimulating a nice thread of comments (to which I have contributed). I'll never shake my Portland youth, but I was not happy there - Chicago made me happy, and I fit, so it will always be golden. I yearn to get back to LA and to my extended, chosen, family, but I could be a happy camper, at best, in any new city, no matter how wonderful. Up to your 30's, everything is open to you, and any city will welcome your (ahem) penetration. After that moment, options narrow. See Neal Pollack on incipient geezer-ism.
So, you make your choices of venue - not always wisely, but they are made - and the place may welcome you, if it was a traditional port of entry. Before the Patriot Act, of course; now I'm not so sure.
One commenter at Ezra is living in Paris now. It is, to me, the city of cities, with many friends, and I am comfortable there, but I'd turn into a pet as an expat, and I might as well change my name to Gershom. Deracination can be real.
I post excerpts from The Wind in the Willows from time to time, perhaps, in part, because I know that behind all of Ratty's settled confidence, the tale of the Sailor Rat moves him to consider giving it all up. It's one of the two odd chapters in that book (the other being the Panic attack), that go way over kids' heads and sensibilities. Just shows how even as dedicated a city boy as I am can be shown his provincialism. Works all ways.