I grew up inland, miles away from the sea, but I guess my obsession with the oceans began with my parents taking us three brothers on holiday to the north coast of Cornwall every year. So many of my best childhood memories are wrapped up with all those Cornish holidays, and I guess that way back then the seeds were sown in my mind about living somewhere close to the sea. When it came to working out which university I should try and go to, there was only ever one choice - Plymouth, because it was on the sea and there was going to be so much fishing to do. Studying was never top of the list during any of my uni years, but I ended up falling completely head over heels for this part of the world. Moving away after uni finished was never a serious option. I had found exactly where I wanted to live and work full time, and luckily my then girlfriend and now wife felt exactly the same way.
I guess that if you grew up close to the sea then you might be wondering what on earth I am waffling on about. If having the sea close by has always been the norm then you won't understand the thrill I still feel at being able to access the sea and the coastline so easily. My wife and I were talking about it the other day - we both get a huge sense of overall joy at the fact that going to the beach with our girls, going for a seaside walk, or me heading out fishing is just never a "mission" to organise. We just do it without really thinking much about it. No need for long drives. No sitting in endless traffic jams to get to the best beaches. We can just go and enjoy our coastline as a normal aspect of our everyday lives, and it still makes me buzz to have so much to do so close to where we live.
Of course the fact that I live near to the sea has a huge amount to do with fishing, but it's actually a whole lot more than that. Saltwater anglers for the most part have to feel some kind of completely immersive affinity with the sea. I suppose that my background and schooling lent towards heading off to London to immerse myself in the corporate world where earning very serious dosh could have been on the cards, but money has never been a big motivating factor in my life. If it was, let me assure you that I would not be working in fishing for a start !! My wife and I are very different people, but we share the same core values, and selling our souls and the lifestyle we both love just to have a whole lot more money and material possessions means nothing to us. My two girls will always be encouraged to do exactly what they want to do with their lives, but at least us two parents can help instill proper values in them as they grow up.
Appreciating the simple things in life is surely one of life's core values, but it scares me to think about how far removed from this so many people are. You can not believe how much I loved watching my two girls just get on with the simple, life-affirming business of having a blast on the beach on Saturday. No computer games, no TV, no "mission" to get to the beach. Sand castles, rock-pooling, paddling, picnics, walking etc. Does life get any better ? I could never live away from the sea.