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Blue Space – Guest Blog

deckchairs on the beach

deckchairs on the beachHello, my name is Gemma and I am a thlassophile. There. I’ve said it. I’ve ‘fessed up to my addiction. And there’s no cure for my daily fix but I don’t need one because my addiction is the sea. It is my drug of choice and I can’t get enough of it.

It started years ago when I was a young child and watched an episode of The Perishers. I remember watching in amazement and wonder as the cartoon characters ran down a sandy beach and threw themselves into the sea. It’s one of my earliest memories.

And during my childhood we would holiday in Cornwall and I would be first in the sea, and last out at the end of the day. Being covered in salty water felt amazing; the smell, the taste, the sensation.

So, I decided that when I was older, I would visit the amazing beaches that I’d read about or watched on TV (back in the days when we were all glued to our sets watching Neighbours and Home & Away). I quit my job, gave up my rented flat and went to Australia for a year to see those huge blue waves – and I wasn’t disappointed.

One of my favourite songs is ‘Pure Shores’ by the All Saints lasses. Those dulcet tones when they sing the line “Take me to my beach” always feels poignant. I remember hearing that song while sitting on a beach on the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia back in 2000, on my way back to the UK from my year in Australia.

I was sunkissed and looking out from a hammock on a paradise beach surrounded by glittering, turquoise water and trying my hardest not to cry as I faced returning to the UK, after a year of travelling.

Returning to the UK meant returning to city life, and a normal hectic life, and I wasn’t sure of the next time I would see the perpetual motion of the waves ebbing and flowing. Yet I noticed it seemed to bother me more than my fellow travellers. Nobody really wanted to go home, but for me it seemed to run deeper, the sea was flooding my heart and I was hooked.

That year I’d been to Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, Great Keppel Island, the Gold Coast, the Whitsunday Islands, Broome, and stunning beaches in Malaysia on the way home; the trip was the stuff of dreams and I knew beach life was the life I wanted.

Little did I know that 12 years and three children later, I would be finally living the dream beside the coast – and I truly couldn’t be happier. While it’s not Down Under, it has definitely lifted my spirits and I love the beach life. We are lucky to live in a microclimate so get sunny weather at times when the rest of the country is shrouded in cloud.

I love the sea in all the seasons, particularly in summer as to me, it’s the world’s finest bath and I love swimming in the ocean but I also find it mystical when the sea fog envelopes the beach occasionally and I love lashing rain pounding the waves in winter.

Sometimes the sea gives me chills that I can’t explain, but its nothing to do with the cool water. It’s more to do with the fact that it has an intensely calming effect on me and it’s a huge blue space.

Blue space is a term used by psychologists and doctors. Research has proved people respond positively to the presence of water and there’s no doubt it’s great for mental wellbeing.

It has given me the softest skin (ok my salty hair sometimes leaves a lot to be desired) and a much clearer mind. I swam last week, possibly for the last time this year. It was so peaceful, like an infinity pool and I was exhilarated.

Moving to the beach has shaped me as a person and I’m so glad I took the plunge.

Gemma Childe – a freelance copywriter living on the south coast

Instagram – @shore_subject


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