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Why I love being near the Sea

It took a bit of retyping to get the title right; I don’t particularly love being on or in the sea, but I do love being near it. I’ve been wondering *why*.

When I was about 10 years old, I lived in the Peak District in England. The place I lived is about as far as you can get from the sea in England – about a 2 hour drive. So I saw the sea maybe once a year, when we would go and stay in a caravan on the East Coast of the UK (near to, but not at, a well known resort called Skegness).

When I was 10, I was pretty blissfully unaware of my autism except that I kind of knew I was atypically interested in science and this made me a bit different. I had none of the adult stresses or anxieties that I would encounter as I grew older. My mind was untroubled and just in awe of the (scientific) world around me. But I was being bullied at school, so school holidays were starting to become something that I really looked forward to as an escape from that.

Here’s how I remember those childhood holidays by the sea:

  • Quiet time to read or imagine science or science fiction. I had plenty of undisturbed time on the beach, lying comfortably with a Dr Who paperback or Whizzer & Chips comic or 2000AD and some crisps and pop or coffee.
  • Looking forward to buying another comic and some more crisps & maybe some kind of toy in the camp shop as we walked back to our caravan.
  • More very quiet time in the caravan at night. Getting ready for bed with the smell of slightly damp hardboard that filled old holiday caravans and especially comes to life when you convert the lounge’s seating area into night time bed space.
  • Gas lamps (yes room lamps that ran on actual gas!) gently hissing and marking pauses in conversation with dad about something that had his and my imagination firing up.
  • Sitting gazing out to sea with my parents, talking to my dad about what the distant flashing lights on the horizon might be (I still love watching distant, silent, flashing lights or spinning radars).
  • Strange sounds coming from the car radio when dad and I tuned the dial to beyond the music stations. I know now what these were & why they seemed louder and more numerous by the sea. At the time they seemed beguilingly unknowable.
  • More awareness than usual of the weather; wind and rain on the caravan, wind on the sea and different types of waves. Being aware of the weather always made me feel closer to nature and made me want to measure it! (I have a thing about measuring stuff which may become a new blog post soon!)
  • Being physically and mentally miles away from school and the people who would make life there unpleasant for me.
  • Just space and time with no threats & no anxiety. A place to ponder and wonder.

So most of that was going on in my mind to the soundtrack of the waves crashing on the shore and small aircraft lazily circling overhead as they do in summer time.

They are quite idyllic memories, and they are the place I go to now when I need to relax. The sensory markers; the smell of caravans, hissing gas lamps / gas fires, the waves on the shore, the call of seagulls and the sound of light aircraft circling overhead all take me back there.

So it’s not at all surprising that taking my ham radio gear down to the sea that I now live 15 minutes away from and parking in a car park on the beach and under the flight path of our local small airport that serves the coastguard helicopter and many, many light aircraft, is something that I’ve totally fallen in love with.


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