Every time I get in my car and cross the Hampshire border headed for Sussex, my friends and family know where I will be headed: a pebble beach near a water lagoon in Shoreham-By-Sea, home to a holiday home and beach hut my family have owned for a few years now and a spot visited for over 20 years. The geography has a dual vista; the English channel on one side and the spectacular southdowns on the other. That place is MY water. Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D., a marine biologist and the author of Blue Mind, a book about the physical and psychological benefits of water, asks people ‘what your water is’. You just read mine, what’s yours?
Humans have been drawn to the sea forever. We crossed rivers, seas and oceans to discover new worlds and prosperous new opportunities. In modern days holidaymakers seek water fronted views, they walk rocky coastlines in search of the perfect sunset spot. Families all over the world return to familiar “seaside spots” they grew up near.
I have always felt happier by the sea, ‘Blue mind’ tells me the psychological reasons why this is the case but one other personal reason for me is the people. Have you ever thought about people who live on the edge of the country might also be on the fringe of our society. You do find the quirkiest people you will wish to ever meet beside the sea. The most stinkingly rich, the most hard working poor, the thoughtful intellectual and some hilarious characters that are as dumb as a post all when you meet them are somewhat slightly different from the rest of the world all looking or have found ‘what their water is.
More than anything I long for the sea, to be alone, surrounded with people who also want to be alone.