Surveys and Secret Beaches

Zelie Kasten
November 24, 2016

“I’m so sorry, but I’m in such a rush! I would if you caught me at another time!”

For the sake of my own dignity I stopped counting the amount of times I got this response from people I tried to survey for my research project.

I’m conducting research for my internship at the Thames Estuary Partnership on the health benefits of “blue space” in London. So yesterday I set off to survey people who lived and worked by the Thames in the Tower Hamlets Borough. I wasn’t expecting to get a ton of responses just by walking up to strangers, but I was hopeful that it might be my lucky day.

I’m sure half of those people were actually in a rush. But I also know that I’ve pulled the same pitied excuse plenty of times on surveyors past. Let me tell you, the amount of rejection I received yesterday certainly gives canvassers a run for their money.

Amidst all this rejection I did manage to find a little gem of place. It’s in Wapping, and that’s all I’ll tell you, because it’s my secret beach. On my route I stumbled down some unassuming stairs in hopes of finding a modest path above the Thames. Those stairs led me to another set of stairs that landed me right on the beach. The wind hit my face and carried with it that wonderfully marine and seaweedy smell. Had the stairs I wandered down been some form of Narnia-esque, magical stairs that had teleported me to the seaside?

The beach was rocky and littered with bottles and wrappers awash, but a beach nonetheless. Better yet, there was not another human in sight. The sun, the wind, the river...the lone tire were all mine.

Although the day may not have ended with a clipboard full of completed surveys on mental health and blue space, I can personally vouch for the wonders of being by the water.

Zelie Kasten

<p>Global nomad. Lover of sunshine and the outdoors. Foodie. I&#39;m a senior at American University in Washington D.C where I&#39;m studying International Relations with a specialization in Global Health and Environmental Sustainability. When I&#39;m not studying or working I&#39;m usually planning my future travels or cuddling with the nearest dog. Join me on my journey to prove that the sun does indeed shine in the City of Old Smoke!</p>

2016 Fall
Home University:
American University
International Studies
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