The Polar plunge

Of all the things I expected to spot in Antarctica, ice swimmers were not one of them.

But I’ve just returned from ticking pretty much my number one item off the list, and there they were, among the penguins, orcas and icebergs.

They weren’t wild, you understand. As it turns out, there’s a global organisation that organises cold water swims, and several of them were on board the ship with a 1km swim planned.

They tended to keep themselves to themselves, eating and socialising together, which I didn’t really understand until later in the trip.

While I had no intention of doing the kilometre, I was determined to do the “polar plunge” – throwing myself in and getting out again as quickly as possible.

And in the buildup to it (6 days!), my fellow Brits on board were very keen to keep asking me if I:

  • Really wanted to do it
  • Was worried about catching a cold
  • Was worried about hurting myself
  • Was concerned about orcas (!)

Despite the naysayers, I told myself I was doing it, and that’s exactly what I did.

Yes, it was cold.  Yes, I got out as quickly as I could.

But am I glad I did it?  You can bet your bottom dollar.

Emerging from the water, I realised why the aforementioned ice swimmers had stayed together – they didn’t need to have their mental state undermined by non-swimmers, who no doubt would have thrown even more questions in their direction:

Are you mad?

How did you even start doing something so stupid?

Isn’t there anything else you could do instead?

Don’t you get hypothermia?

Don’t you get ill from doing this?

The world is full of advice, and the skill is in understanding WHO to listen to, and who to tune out.

Ice swimmers have worked this out, and if you’re still listening to non-business owners about what you should do and why, maybe you should do the same.

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