We are excited to welcome Joe Minihane, author of Floating: A Life Regained, and Jessica J. Lee, author of Turning: Lessons from Swimming Berlin's Lakes, to discuss wild swimming and conquering anxiety.
Floating: A Life Regained by Joe Minihane
A brave, moving and inspirational story of wild swimming and succeeding against all odds. "Water has always had the magical power to cure..." writes Roger Deakin in his bestseller Waterlog. This reasoning served as the inspiration for Minihane to take his new obsession with wild swimming to greater heights, with the goal of swimming in every river, lake, lido and bay which Deakin visited on his own trip in the mid-1990s.
But beyond his plans to use the journey as a means to see and experience the UK's most scenic locations, it was also a way of soothing his troubled mind and finding a path back to happiness after finally admitting he had a problem with anxiety. Floating is the story of Joe Minihane's attempt to retrace the greatest swimming exploration of our time while facing up to his struggles with anxiety by diving right in. A very different book from Deacon's Waterlog, this is a journey of overcoming emotional and psychological problems with swimming as the medium for recovery. But when Minihane's endeavour is brought to an unexpected halt and he is unable to escape his anxieties in the water, he must discover the means to face them head-on. Turning to professional help and relying on the support of a growing band of swimming fanatics, he learns why his persistent worrying has developed into crippling anxiety and develops the tools to overcome it.
While Floating may bring readers back years later to Deacon's spectacular swimming spots, Minihane's wonderful book is about more: coming to the understanding that in life, as in swimming, we sometimes need to let the current lead us and learn how to float in choppy waters.
Turning: Lessons from Swimming Berlin's Lakes by Jessica J. Lee
At the age of twenty-eight, Jessica Lee, who grew up in Canada and lived in London, finds herself in Berlin. Alone. Lonely, with lowered spirits thanks to some family history and a broken heart, she is there, ostensibly, to write a thesis. And though that is what she does daily, what increasingly occupies her is swimming. So she makes a decision that she believes will win her back her confidence and independence: she will swim fifty-two of the lakes around Berlin, no matter what the weather or season. She is aware that this particular landscape is not without its own ghosts and history.
This is the story of a beautiful obsession: of the thrill of a still, turquoise lake, of cracking the ice before submerging, of floating under blue skies, of tangled weeds and murkiness, of cool, fresh, spring swimming - of facing past fears of near drowning and of breaking free. When she completes her year of swimming Jessica finds she has new strength, and she has also found friends and has gained some understanding of how the landscape both haunts and holds us.
This book is for everyone who loves swimming, who wishes they could push themselves beyond caution, who understands the deep pleasure of using their body's strength, who knows what it is to allow oneself to abandon all thought and float home to the surface.