Seeking the other shore
Exploring the UK by scanning the horizon and following its lead
I don’t know when it started
The urge to see the world from the opposite side
From shore to water
From water to shore
Nothing more exhilarating than the bobbing on waves in a small boat, holding as still as the water allows, and watch the spot tightly one just stood a few moments ago looking at the sea — onto the present.
Observe the way the world works and steadily continues on even when you remove yourself — especially when you remove yourself. When walking the sand of your beach, the cobbles of your street, it’s easier to think you are one important cog in a grand machine. That you make up part of the inherent fabric of this town and without you the whole thing could rip apart.
But then you remove yourself, just far enough to not be part of that ecosystem but close enough to witness this very scientific experiment of self realisation.
And you see the fabric never rips. You were never truly important. Never made a difference.
While some people might find this a crushing realization, it can actually be quite freeing. There are no expectation to carry, no responsibility to fulfil. No one is watching you, life will go on. One can simply be… Carried on by the fabric of the universe, steady and safe. One has to simply know, and let go.
So I climb into the kayak and watch Gylly Beach in its hustle and bustle, the students and locals gathering for BBQs, playing volleyball, Frisbees are thrown into the air. Music is carried across the waves to the spectator — me, alone on the ocean, so far, yet part of it all. And it wouldn’t make a difference if I was here next summer. Just as it didn’t make a difference I was here last winter. My special spot in the neon orange kayak would be filled by someone else.
And it’s the same sensation on a silent surf board overlooking the shores of the best place I’ve found so far in life — Gwithian. Or when I sit on the grassy hill of Flushing overlooking the tiny houses of Falmouth. Neatly arranged next to each other, softly following the curves of the earth beneath. Or when I walk the entire Promenade of Blackpool, looking onto the Lake District. Then miles later, from the Lake District look back South, my eyes tirelessly trying to find the town in the distance. And then finally from the Central Pier all the way to Northern Wales. Not yet aware of the meaning this moment carries.
Because I now let these experiences dictate me, these sensations I feel when standing on the yin to an unknown yang. I’m eager to find it on the opposite shore, the ocean, or even a different country.
I’m curious for the places that are so untouched by me, tired of the same old towns down South that will forget me as easily as the next wave rolling in. Tired but also fearful of the extent my presence has diminished. So I seek out North Wales, stand on the Great Orme and look back onto Blackpool — untouched, its lights whispering across the sea as the sun sets quietly behind me.
And in moments like this, when the air is quiet, and I found the missing part, the yang I sought — then I can lie to myself. Or maybe it is honesty. Either way I can tell myself and the silent sunset that I’ve left a mark somewhere in the hearts of the paths I’ve crossed.
Maybe when someone passes by my old house they think of me, or when someone talks of my home land — the many that exist — they smile. When blonde hair gets lost in the crowd, when poetry is recited a little too loud. Maybe they’re proud. They’re proud I was there, I was here, and whilst it all didn’t matter to the universe, maybe it mattered to them. Whilst life always goes on, maybe it goes on slightly different, for as I have gone on slightly different. Gently adjusting my sails to the places I spot on the horizon, seemingly dangling right in front of me. My endless craving to see mundane from a new perspective, from upside down and the wrong way around until there is only the right way to witness life: untouched… And yet?
Always touched by the ones before me that witnessed the Cornish winters, sat in the neon orange kayaks, or rode surfboards to Gwithian’s shores. They looked onto the Lake District and others looked back, unaware of their gaze locking across unknown miles. The others that wandered from the Central Pier in the Fylde Peninsula to the Great Orme watching over Snowdonia. And they all set their marks in the hearts of others. Others, whose paths I yet have to cross — until then I reserve a space in mine for when they do.