On which side of the shore do you live?

More than half of our body is water. That’s a fact. However, we live on land and not like fish in the sea. We move on land, we build our houses on land and there are many people who get even scared, if they don’t touch the ground with both feet.

Many, but not all. There are some who feel just the opposite, following an intuition that - talking about a liquid matter like water - could be called an inner stream or even a call of the ocean. I know, maybe that’s a bit abstract, but let's play a little with our imagination, because really, we don't know how to name this attraction to the sea and even less, where it comes from. What we do know is that not only in fantasy films there are aqua men and aqua women, fish people, water people… Throughout history, countless names have been invented, and they all describe the same: people who cannot be far from the ocean.

Cami: My most magical memories are always of the beach and the sea and as I get older, I remember those moments and that's what makes me happy. For me that's what it is, I feel good in the water. Somewhere inland, in cities, I feel lost and like something is missing.

Fede: My existence has always revolved around the ocean. In different ways at different stages. Through music, through films or through series at times when I was forced to live outside my own ecosystem, which is the beach or the sea, and then I chose the presence of the ocean to be constant.

Sometimes it’s difficult to put it into words, and throughout the history of mankind, there has always been this mysterious fascination about the sea. Even back in the past century people like Jacques Cousteau, probably the world's best-known oceanographer, proved that some of us have a very special passion for the ocean. In fact scientists have shown their interest in the matter and there are studies that confirm the positive impact and stimulating power of the sea on our brain.

Still, more terrestrial people would probably turn the need to be close to the ocean down as a fantasy, telling you to grow up and not to behave like a kid. Am I right? Well, there it is. The point where it starts to get interesting. Where the difference between two, or even more types of people becomes evident. And while some don’t bother at all if they live far or not from the sea, others know just too well that although the first thing we learn is to move on land, our existence is not limited to the shore.

Cami: It's impossible to explain, I never tried to either. I don't care what I do in the water, as long as I can play in the sea. We were probably the only family in San Marino that was in the water all the time. How could my classmates understand that? Now that it's trendy or cool, yes, but back then they didn’t. 

Fede: I never recognized myself in other people when it comes to my need to live and breathe the sea constantly. All beings ultimately share the planet, but it doesn't mean that all beings vibrate with the same thing that stimulates us. In my case it was very clear, because always, living or not living near the ocean or the sea, I felt this need.

But what provokes this attraction to the sea, that some feel and others don't? It does exist, otherwise we wouldn't be writing (in my case) or reading (in your case) this article. So, let’s go for more unanswered questions: Where does this feeling come from, which is often referred to by the Greek word Thalassophilia (from Thalassa = sea and philia = love)? Seems like even the ancient Greeks had their theories about this topic. Assumptions aside though, what seems to be clear is that external as well as internal factors play a role and lead some of us again and again to the sea.

Cami: I think it’s because of my childhood, thanks to my parents, because they are in a club in Riccione, where they do everything, sailing, windsurfing, kite surfing. When we were kids there were a lot of families there, so a lot of children too, and in the summer we all grew up together. It’s probably my family's way of living that connected me with the sea and water sports.

Fede: My family, for example, at one stage lived by the sea and in summer we always spent as much time as possible at the beach. But my father didn't go into the water, my mother didn't go either, and my brother was never torn to the beach when he grew up because he loves the city. It just so happened that we lived near the sea. So there is no family influence that has shaped my love for the ocean. It is something I discovered myself.

In one way or another, childhood seems to be essential. If you think about it, even as embryos in our mothers' wombs, we are already floating in liquid. Does that make it so natural for us as children to interact with the sea? And then what? We just lose it over time, that spark of salt water? Well, as I don't have the budget to do a more extensive study on the subject, let’s focus on one thing that does seem very clear: while there may be external influences, the decisive element about whether your path leads you to the water or not comes from within.

What differentiates people who really live the ocean, independently of any kind of external influence, is something very intrinsic. External factors end up changing over time. You can live near the sea for a while, then move somewhere else  and you may have people around you who bring you in touch with the ocean at one stage and at another one you don’t. On the other hand, the essence of each one of us, in broad terms at least, tends to be fairly constant. So even if you live near the sea, that big blue doesn't necessarily arouse your interest in a particular way, but maybe someone else lives far away and can’t stop dreaming about it.

Cami: My brother actually gave up on kite surfing. Well, it's not that he gave up, but he chose to travel more to other places, to the mountains, to the city. I'm practically always in the water, even on holidays. I always go kite surfing or surfing. [...] But he lives this sport differently, like when you play paddle once a week with your friends. Me, if I’m not in the water, I feel bad. I feel something different inside me.

Fede: As kids I think we all have this connection to the ocean, we just put on a swimming costume or not even that and go play. It seems though that as we get older we have to cover up, but when we are kids nothing covers us up, and we just run around naked, playing with the waves, with the sea and the sand gets up your ass and that connection with the sea is totally pure.

Somehow, some people have preserved this connection. In certain situations it becomes more than evident. Situations in which some people literally feel "like a fish in the water" and others feel their legs tremble at the mere thought of it.

I’m not even talking about particularly dangerous situations. For example, when I was pushed into the wall of a green wave for the first time, I was hallucinating and felt a sense of eternal happiness. Even though later the video they had recorded showed that it was only four seconds. But still, those four seconds, I couldn't get them out of my head anymore. On the other hand, that same day, with the same conditions, there were other students in the same surfing class who left the water after 10 minutes to sunbathe on the beach.

So yes. That feeling of being close to the ocean is expressed in ways of living, acting and embracing it. This blue immensity marks the life of certain people in every sense of the word, and you can actually tell, when it is like that, and also when it’s not.

Obviously, each person is different. Just because you see someone doing water activities it doesn't mean that salt water runs through their veins. I'm talking about more than what meets the eye. A feeling, sensations and instincts that guide you again and again towards the sea and above all, that being there, among waves, currents, fish and all that lies beneath the surface, which we neither see nor know, anyhow, that being there you feel like home.

Cami: It can be like an addiction to being happy. Where do I feel good? In the sea! So why not feel good all the time? Sounds logical, doesn't it? I never thought about it before. But, for example, when you see a grown up doing the first kite edge, you see a smile that, I swear, it’s very special. For me, that's what attracts people, the fact that in the water they turn back into children.

Fede: I think we have the ocean inside us. I mean, I understand that there are people who love the ocean and live far away from the ocean, but you can do that only for a little while, I think. It's a brutal necessity that defines your mood, how you feel every day, how you wake up, conversations, the rhythm of existence basically.

And that brings us back to where we started: Yes, there is a notable difference between people who are more terrestrial and those who are more aquatic. The second group of people see the ocean as a great stimulus. A kind of stimulus that the others simply do not perceive. They probably have their antennae tuned to other elements or other sources of inspiration. But for ocean people, the need to feel the saltpeter on their skin is often so powerful that they direct their whole life towards the sea. Why? Because it is a firework of the senses and if you add the adrenaline and endorphins that many of the sports practiced in the ocean provoke, the addictive cocktail is complete. 

It awakens all our senses at the same time, provoking an enormous range of sensations. You can feel the sea, that liquid, sometimes freezing, sometimes as warm as a bathtub; you can see it, that immense blue, painted in so many different shades right up to the horizon; you can hear it, that murmur of the water and the sound of the waves when they break; you can smell it and even taste it, with its salty aroma. 

Is that the reason why those who feel the attraction of the ocean, even from far, will do anything to be close to it and experience it to the full? As a theory, it is valid for sure, but I am not the one to declare it as a certain science. Nor is that necessary. What I do know for sure is that this blue liquid substance, in a myriad of shades that covers more than 70% of our planet, has an astonishing impact. On everything around us, as well as on ourselves.


Portada + Foto 1,2,4,5 by Giulia Parise

Foto 3 by Romy Soda

Foto 6 by I Sea You Photography