Moving to the coast isn’t just a romantic sea change, with sandy toes and beach hair and spotting dolphins as they frolic in the surf. It’s real change, something most of us don’t like. Change takes us outside our comfort zone and into unfamiliar and unchartered territory. It might mean a new job, a new business, new schools, new café, meeting new people and leaving so many things behind.
It can be surprising what will tug on your heart-strings when you go. Of course there are the obvious big-ticket items, like family, friends, neighbours, community and business networks. Leaving them is tough. Connection is everything and moving interrupts the social webs around us. But there are little and surprising things too, that perhaps we didn’t realise meant so much to us. Or we appreciated or even loved, but kind of took for granted. For me, it was the magnolia tree in our courtyard that flowered magnificently every September, right outside our kitchen sliding door.
It’s pretty chill on the coast, and not the kind of minus 4 degree chill that Canberra is feeling right now. It’s the sort of laid-back charm that we remember from childhood. People are unhurried and friendly, and they don’t care for social media particularly. It’s only when the surfers sprint from the car to the waves that you see anyone break out a sweat. No, in all seriousness, a coastal lifestyle is a healthy one. 6.30 am is one of the busiest times of the day by the beach. Ask anyone but me, because I won’t be there. Some things simply won’t change, even if you embrace the very best that your new community has to offer.
A daily dose of beach inspiration is so good for the soul. It’s good for creativity, reflection, dreaming and planning. Looking to the horizon is a visual metaphor for all you seek to achieve. These basic and enriching pleasures – including a sea change cliché of dolphins surfing with the rest of the salty crew – can help you find your porpoise. And help you feel very connected to the moment.
There’s a disconnect, however. Change brings new perspectives. This is a real disconnect and highlights a difference between cities and coastal towns. When you’re having a spiritual moment on the sand or just watching the waves roll in, the digital world seems distant. It seems like a one dimensional planet in a parallel universe. Dare I say it, when you consider social media from a sunny spot on the sand, it seems contrived and curated, a hologram of the real thing...a bit like a heat shimmer on the hottest day. Show reels on the coast are more likely to have a 10” silver bream hanging on the end. In real time, with scales.
I’m trying to straddle the two worlds by beach blogging – which is exactly what I’m doing now on a Friday afternoon. One eye on the surf and one eye on the keyboard. A sandy floored office was something I dreamt of when packing up 15 years of family life in Canberra and writing on the beach is one way to channel the sea breeze and inspo and share it beyond my local shores.
A sea change isn’t all champagne-on-the-sand-at-sunset. But starting a new chapter is wonderful and change, even though most of us resist it, gives us more than it takes away.