A Flotsam Person

This is an pretty old post from my blog, which has been preserved in case its content is of any interest. You might want to go back to the homepage to see some more recent stuff.

Whilst walking the night-time streets of Guildford, Eric remarked to me that it was a place that felt permanent; a place where one could put down roots. My home, and now hers, stands in complete contrast. Bournemouth is a new town, founded two hundred years ago as a seaside resort – which it still is.

She lectured me on the joys of her old inland town, with its stone walls and canals. I asked why one would want to put down roots, when you could have a beach instead?

She branded me a ‘flotsam person’, and that was that.

Things that remind me of the sea

But I suppose I am, really. I carry things that remind me of the sea, so that I feel at home wherever I go. The feeling of being tied to a place, a town with history, isn’t for me. Like the sand that drifts forever eastwards, despite the groynes that try to stop it, I’m happy anywhere near the sea. I love the feel of transient beaches, transient lives, forever in motion. Years come and go, bringing with them the ebb and flow of people – students, summer students, tourists.

I am a flotsam person, a driftwood person, happy wherever I can wash ashore and sit on sand as the waves lap against my feet.


I'm definitely a 'settling' person. I'm not sure, though, to what extent this is fundamental to my nature, and to what extent it's a by product of being shy and introverted.

I struggle to interact with strangers. I take a long time to get to know people. Unless I stay in one place and get involved in some sort of community, I never get to know anybody and so I end up completely without social contact. And then I get lonely and depressed.

I think I like to have a sense of 'home' anyway, but loneliness is the main reason I couldn't handle an itinerant existence.

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