I have noted a trend over the last few years -- on social media in particular -- that beachcombing is becoming more about the “stuff” than about the “experience.” People hoard stuff. Argue over it. Are obsessed by it. And spend hours devising new ways to sell it or to show it off.
Granted, beach treasures are the draw that entices many of us back to nature and onto beaches again. But beachcombing is a multi-dimensional activity offering many valuable treasures aside from stuff. Like friendships. And patience, perspective and peace. Adventure. Awe. Joy. Intrigue. Hope. And ultimately, beachcombing helps many of us fall back in love with Mother earth again, and in so dong, strengthens our sense of stewardship and the desire to take better care of our planet. Truly, compared to all these other gifts, "stuff" actually pales in comparison.
My serious walk with cancer a few years back reaffirmed the importance of the joy beachcombing brings to my life. Nowadays, I focus even more on embracing all that life has to offer. I intentionally seek out people of good will, intention and generosity, and savor new experiences and learning opportunities. Such things provide the foundation upon which the International Beachcombing Conferences rest.
And IBC 2019 will be no different. Like its recent predecessors, it will be a small but inclusive ‘boutique’ conference, open to consummate and novice beachcombers alike. A more intimate conference gives everyone a better chance to get to know one another, and perhaps also find more treasures on the beach.
So come, slough off the weight of the world. Take a few days off to play on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay with others from across the globe. Use this time to relax, make friends, laugh, learn, explore, create and collect treasures. Be a kid again in one of the world's most intriguing regions.
Deacon Ritterbush, Ph.D.
(aka Dr. Beachcomb)
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