Where Do You Feel Most Comfortable, the Beach or the Mountains?
DENALI, ALASKA- Where do you feel most at home? One of the most intense debates about the ultimate spot to relax is simple: do you prefer the mountains, or the beach? Each has its own way of making you feel dwarfed by the immensity of the natural world: the ocean is a large, blue expanse of frothing water that spans way further than the eye could ever see, and the mountains rise in jagged peaks above the horizon, far off in the distance. They both have the power to make you feel infinitesimal and part of something greater, sparking the feeling that they are not a part of our existence--rather we are a part of their existence. The tides will crash long after we are gone, and the montains will gather snow on their peaks far longer than we can ever imagine.
Both have the power to induce a meditative state of solitude, leaving you appreciative of your time here on Earth and pondering how to make the most of our short time on it. Yet for me, the ocean has and always will have a restorative quality about it that the mountains never will. I can’t fathom how some people feel most at peace in the woods when they have the option of laying shirtless on a beach with the sun pounding down, soaking up Vitamin D and jumping in the ocean for a swim.
Bathing in the ocean has a refreshing, restorative quality about it that can’t be found anywhere else. There is no greater feeling in the world than waking up and being in the ocean within a minute—cleansing the sleep out of your eyes, the grogginess out of your head, and the laziness in your bones all with a dip in the sea. It has the power to transform your mood, your energy, and your day in one fell swoop, leaving your skin with a robust, salty tinge that makes you feel alive.
Sure, there is a certain attractive quality to walking around all day in the wilderness with a scruffy beard smelling faintly of firewood, pushing your muscles to the limit. Your body takes on a sinewy, powerful posture after hiking for days and days, leaving you feeling stronger and physically fitter than before. Perhaps it is the robust mountain air, allowing you to deeply breathe the fresh scent of pine every other inhale, or maybe it is the slight chill that can always be found in the air, regardless of how sunny it is...but there is certainly a sense of vigor that comes from the mountains that you really can’t find anywhere warm. It’s a refreshing sense of vigor, and one that many folks would benefit from, particularly those who have never experienced it (myself, in particular).
Yet when push comes to shove, there will never be a place where I feel more at home than the beach. It sure has something to do with where I was raised—every summer, going to the shore was the epitome of relaxation and the hallmark of a summer vacation, so there are fond memories embedded deeply within my psyche that predispose me to the beach. While the mountains certainly have their draw, the beach will always be where my heart lies. Where do you feel most at home?