Calming connection: Joe Minihane
(WATCH & READ)
“I wasn’t a great swimmer, especially not outdoors. But the moment I got in, I fell in love with it,” says writer Joe Minihane, whose battle with anxiety and discovery of outdoor swimming inspired his book, Floating: A Life Regained. “I didn’t appreciate how calming it was, stepping into natural water. But the interesting thing was that when I got out, I realised I felt a darn sight better about everything than I had beforehand.”
Soon after this first experience at the Hampstead Mixed Bathing Pond in London, Joe came across a book called Waterlog, in which the late nature writer Roger Deakin recounted his own wild swimming experiences. He decided to recreate Deakin’s odyssey by swimming in every river, pond, lake and pool mentioned in the book, recording his odyssey in a blog and, later, his own book.
“Swimming outdoors just worked for me. It made me feel calmer, more centred. For the first time I wasn’t standing on top of the world looking down at it. I was inside it, looking out – experiencing what Deakin called the ‘frog’s eye view’. I felt this deep connection with the natural world. And that was when I started to get better.”
Watch this short documentary, Waterlog, which tells Joe’s story, below; find out more about his life and work here; or dive in a read the whole book.