Those who prefer the mountains

I recently found this article in the Boston Globe discussing a study that found those who prefer mountain vacations tend to be introverts, and those who prefer ocean vacations tend to be extroverts. As a person who grew up going to both, this strikes me as both true and false at the same time.

First of all, the obvious fact is that not all beaches are packed tight with people, and not all mountains are lonesome escapes. In fact, one of my favorite beaches is in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, which hosts about ten people in the thick of summer. Then again…well, it’s in the mountains.

As a kid, I always dreamed of owning a private tropical island in the middle of the ocean and living there completely alone. I know, I’m about a level 100 introvert. I dreamed of a single hammock, a heap of bananas, and a few animal friends to keep me company. Just me in the warm sun, surrounded by parrots and palm trees. As I grew up and fell in love I hesitantly expanded my dream island to a population of 2…maybe. After all, even Robinson Crusoe had a partner.

I don’t think it’s exclusively the place, but rather who gravitates to the place. A private island, sure, no one else can go to it except who I invite, when I invite them. It’s paradise! However, a beach is usually flooded with people who like to show off their gym bodies and set off fireworks after dark. They like to jump in freezing water and play volleyball with strangers before grilling hamburgers and hitting the souvenir shops, casinos and bars.

Disregarding the fact that many mountain tourist spots are exactly the same, they do tend to calm down the further from the freeway you go. Those little log cabins do exist, surrounded by hummingbirds and wild raspberries. The people who go there enjoy skiing and hiking, and don’t mind when it rains because they have a bunch of books to keep them company. They like campfires with a few close friends, they like stargazing without light pollution and getting up early to see the sunrise.

I guess it makes sense for extroverts to gravitate to the ocean and introverts to gravitate to the mountains. But I’ve always found the ocean to speak to me more. Especially after most people have left it…a September evening, walking the empty beach in jeans and a sweatshirt. The ocean is gray, soft, cold. Massive. It comforts you with its largeness, assures you that your worries are small and will pass like the tides. Touching the water is to be connected to the entire planet. The mountains let you hide, but the ocean reminds you that you don’t need to.

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9 thoughts on “Those who prefer the mountains

  1. “The ocean is gray, soft, cold. Massive. It comforts you with its largeness, assures you that your worries are small and will pass like the tides.”

    This. Exactly THIS. The ocean will always hold a special place in my heart!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “The mountains let you hide, but the ocean reminds you that you don’t need to.” Beautifully put! I, too, am a rather extreme introvert, but I love the company of the mountains and seashore almost equally.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Depends on the beach, really. I’ve visited Hawaii and found that I really dislike Oahu’s beaches — they tend to be thin strips of sand boarded by ocean on one side and city on the other, with lots of people in between. But on the Big Island there’s more variety. You have different popular beaches for swimming, suntanning, snorkeling, surfing, and spotting turtles. There are also more off-the-beaten-track beaches — places you have to hike to, lesser known green/black/salt and pepper sand beaches. I always prefer the less crowded kind and would take that over a mountain vacation any day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well said! I definitely consider myself an introvert but I prefer ocean to mountains any day. The wide open sky and endless water straight out to the horizon always brings me peace. Even if there is a crowd on the beach I can still find solitude gazing into the water. The mountains feel too claustrophobic to me. I can’t breath the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the photo. Where is it? It looks exactly like a scene I painted of a lake in the Italian Dolomite mountains.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love mountains, but only because my country has none, really… As for beaches, I once had an amazing beach walk during a blizzard. It was an amazing experience. Plus, I love the smell of the beach.
    It’s just crowds of people I dislike, whether they sre on the beach or in the mountains doesn’t matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m a major introvert, but I’ve always preferred the beach… then again, I’ve only ever been to the Oregon beaches (maybe twenty people to your ten in Vermont one). I totally agree with the feeling it gives, though. Soothing, stable–and the white noise waves. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

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