According to Google Maps, I am approximately 193 kilometers from the nearest coastline. After conversion (thanks again, Google!) that is about 125 miles, give or take a few. I had to approximate the nearest coastline, but that seems like a fair estimate. In comparison, school (Skidmore College, NY) to home is about 200 miles, so technically I guess I’m nearer to the sea in Paris than I am in Saratoga Springs. I don’t know if that means I’m not allowed to use “she who lives by the sea” anymore, but I’ve lived by the sea far longer than anywhere else, so I’m not going to cast it off just yet.
I made my instagram account when I was 15 under the name @shewholivesbythesea (not a promo but…feel free to throw me a follow). I didn’t use my real name mostly because my mom had warned me that stalkers could find me if I did, and also partly because I was 15 and obsessed with being “different.” As with everything that we make when we’re 15, I’m embarrassed by the username when I give it out (though it’s better than my first email address, “ireadallday”), but I don’t see myself changing it anytime soon. It’s the first name that came to mind when I was given the idea to start a blog (thanks, mom), and I’m only a little bit embarrassed by it. Frankly, I still think it sounds cool and says something important about me, even if I am over a hundred miles from the sea at this current moment, and have been for the majority of the last three years.
I should probably also mention that my name, Morgan, means any variation of “sea dweller,” “sea-born,” “sea chief,” or “of the sea” in Welsh. For the first 18 years of my life I lived less than 10 minutes from the ocean, so the name fits well. Over that time I have engaged in any number of ocean activities including sailing, rowing, sea kayaking, and coastal drives- my favorite. However, I wouldn’t consider myself an “ocean person.” Given the choice between the sea and the mountains I would face a difficult decision, seeing as I love and grew up with both, but I like to think of it like this: if I lived by the ocean for the rest of my life I would not crave the sight of a mountain range. If I were to settle down in the mountains, however, I would miss the smell of the sea. I came to this realization recently on my spring vacation to Nice, France, on the Côte d’Azur. I love Paris. I love cities. But the second I saw the ocean slide into view outside the train window, my heart jumped. Salty air! Seaglass! Waves crashing! I missed it. I left Nice four days later sunburnt and rejuvenated, salt crusted on the back of my jeans.
So. That’s me. Morgan, the-one-who-sometimes-lives-by-the-sea. Stay tuned as I recap my three months in Paris and prepare for the imminent journey home, and throw in some other thoughts along the way.
Quick anecdote: My mom recently bought me a t shirt at a chain store in Paris that reads “Larguez les amarres.” It’s a cute shirt, but upon receiving it I had no idea what it meant. After an explanation from mom and a double check from trusty Google Translate, I learned that it means “cast off,” in a nautical sense. It is a phrase that a sailor would yell to shore after untying the ship’s moorings and hoisting the sails to head off on a sea voyage. It feels apropos to use after this explanation of my connection to the sea, and to mark the beginning of my voyage into blog-writing.
Thanks for reading- time to larguez les amarres!