I have always been curious about the preferences people have for where they live. For some, I think a predisposition for a particular residential landscape is rooted in upbringing, faery tales, personality, dreams, or desires.
Some folks require great teeming cities, like New York or Chicago, in order to feel alive. Others crave the nearness of Western mountains or New England woodlands. There are those who prefer to be surrounded by vast expanses of land where the horizon is a distant smudge—think Texas or any of those plains states that seem to go on and on and
on before you see any sign of life. And some gravitate to a beach-like environment with palm trees, pastel buildings and upscale shops like the ones you find in Miami or certain cities in California. And certainly there are many, many more places that attract people, landscapes they cannot imagine leaving.
And then there are those for whom surroundings aren't very
important at all. These are the people who are as likely to end up in Idaho or San Francisco if it means following a job or a loved one hither and thither.
As for me, I need the sea nearby and would become a
bonafide psychopath if I lived further inland than I do. (I was in
Pittsburgh for two weeks once and began to feel positively
claustrophobic.) I need to
know I will be smelling the salt air and at the ocean's door in the time it takes to drive 30-40 minutes. And
not a palm-laden shore but a rocky coast that doesn't warm until August and guides worried ships with lighthouse beacons.
Lakes and rivers do not suffice, sadly, as beautiful and comforting as they are. (A kind-hearted soul brought me to one of the Great Lakes once. I pointed out that it was moving left to right... ) No, I need tides ebbing and flowing, pulling and pushing the sand beneath my feet and rocking me gently.
A city with a river fed by a Bay that empties into a nearby sea... my home is like this, and the places I am drawn to as a tourist are like that too: New Orleans, Scotland, Venice, England.
Now I would like to think I might
follow someone I loved to the ends of the earth, never minding whether I found myself in a land-locked mountain hideaway or a plains-surrounded farmhouse. But the truth is,
unless that place happened to be within driving distance of the sea,
I'm not so sure. Sea captains and pirates, those are the lads for me.