The first time I stood on the Brighton pier, I felt like I had unlocked something in me that I didn’t know I had: my capacity to appreciate the unknown.
What do I mean by that? Well, how many of you often look at pictures of the sea and feel overwhelmed over the knowledge that it can reach depths beyond our imagination? Even more so, how many of you shy away from travelling to new places in fear of not fitting in or worse, getting lost? For good or for bad, I fall into both categories. And so travelling to Brighton for the first time and standing on the Brighton pier was a huge moment for me.
While sitting in the aisle inside Victoria coach station waiting for our 8am ride to Brighton, I remember looking at my boyfriend and his mother wondering why on earth I agreed to go on this trip. My nerves were sky high: I was worried about throwing up (there’s always one, I know); worried about not knowing our way when we get there; worried if I dressed well for the weather, and a whole load of other things that, in hindsight, was not worth worrying over. So when the coach eventually pulled over and the driver came to collect the Brighton bunch, all I could tell myself was to “make sure you get a seat at the front so you can get off quickly if anything goes wrong”. Quite the optimist, aren’t I?
The journey, however, was far from what I had first feared. For one, I didn’t throw up. In fact, I don’t remember half of it. I fell asleep with music on and only woke up 5 minutes before arrival. And yes, I did feel like an idiot for worrying so much.
Now we arrive at the infamous Brighton pier moment. We walked along it in order to truly take in the view before heading down to the beach to find ourselves a spot we can call home for the next five to six hours. It was magnificent. The water was so clear and still. The tide hadn’t come in yet. It almost felt like I was literally witnessing the calm before the storm. It was a strange feeling but good-strange, if that makes any sense. As if the sea was aware of my uneasiness and was teasing me for feeling that way.
When we eventually walked down the sloping stoned ground that leads us to the beach, my anxieties started flaring up again. It’s one thing admiring the sea from a distance – now I have to get all up close and personal with it? Really?
My boyfriend literally ran towards it, dragging me along with him. I refused to go anywhere near the water though. His mother brought with her a surfboard and while it wasn’t fun watching her struggle due to a lack of tides, I was also quite glad I didn’t have to worry about her getting lost in sea! I did however make up for feeling that way by finally finding the courage to go by the sea and film her swimming for memories sake. And yes, it wasn’t at all scary. It was quite… relaxing, dare I say.
Of course, if you’re going to visit Brighton, you’ve got to at least try and win something at the nearby arcades (according to my boyfriend, anyway). And so we went, tried, and failed on several occasions. Ended up £20 poorer. It was fun, though – for me, anyway.
We had lunch. Not the greatest fish and chips I’ve had, which I find odd given the fact that we were right by the sea. The candy floss I had right after made up for it though.
The rest of the afternoon was spent by the sea where we shared some laughs, gossip, and some all round light-hearted fun at the expense of strangers walking by. Dogs were taken for their afternoon walks, locals were coming down for their afternoon swim, while I took in the beautiful landscape before me. I had no worries left in me at this point. All I wanted to do was take my pictures and doze off on the beach.
Come 8pm, when the sun had come down and the place started to get a little rowdy, I knew it was time to leave. Our coach came and this time, I couldn’t care less where I sat.
It hit me at that point how much I enjoyed myself and how much I truly didn’t want to leave. I had overcome my fears of travelling to a place I hadn’t been before while also coming into contact with one of nature’s greatest gifts that I thought would drown me instead. Brighton had helped me come out the closet – and no, not in that way.
The next place I’m going to conquer is A Coruña, Spain. Stay tuned for that. I imagine I’ll have a lot more to say about that one…