Swimming with Penguins

This is a re-post from the other place, for those who wouldn’t have seen it there.  The idea of summarizing the last 4 years here is exhausting to me but here are the last 4 months at least:

  • Work trip after Hong Kong (first weekend of February), got back just in time for US National Champs
  • Still wasn’t feeling any of it but I put a smile on my face, did my best, and managed to secure two more national titles. I’ll call it a win.
  • Valentine’s Day with A at – Kick Axe in Brooklyn, where you can drink beer and learn to throw axes like darts. I have no idea how this place is insured but the perfect place to celebrate our love.
  • Hosted Irish friends in Boston/Vermont for ice swimming and winter swimming. Fun but extremely stressful.
  • Realized I was totally burnt out and needed to start swimming for myself again. I took a big risk and withdrew from the World Championships in favor of taking an opportunity to pursue a solo expedition swim in Antarctica.
  • It was a tough choice to make and something I agonized about. At times I worried I was making the complete wrong decision.
  • Antarctica was amazing. I was very stressed about the swim itself but somehow it all came together. Ideal conditions, the most beautiful water and scenery possible, and penguins even came to swim with me twice, at the beginning and end of the mile. I managed to swim on just the second possible day so we had the rest of the trip to relax and enjoy.
  • That night after dinner, we were lounging in the hot tub on the top deck when the sun was just setting. It was so stunning and then we heard a familiar sound. Humpback whales swimming around the ship. We were able to watch without even getting out of the tub. In Antarctica. Unbelievable. One of those moments where you can’t help but think, “I can’t believe this is my life.”
  • The rest of the trip was lots of boat trips and sightseeing with so many gorgeous ice formations, amazing animals, whales, seals, penguins, and birds. Words can’t describe.
  • On the way back one of the researchers did a lecture on historical Women of Antarctica and included me in the presentation with my heroines Lynne Cox and Felicity Ashton. Unreal.
  • On the last night of these expeditions, there is a captain’s dinner where the Captain dines with the passengers and everyone gets a little dressed up. Luckily I always pack a party dress because A and I were invited by Captain Volkov to have dinner at his table. What an incredible honor and a great evening talking to some amazing people. Pursuing my passions has opened doors I never even dreamed of.
  • After the week away I was so confident I had made the right decision. I have always swum for myself, to enjoy and explore the world, so while I missed a big competition I had a life experience beyond compare and it was the absolute right choice for me. +1,000,000 for following your heart. I need to remember this next time my self-confidence falters.
  • After disembarking the ship we went straight home, Ushuaia to Buenos Aires back to NYC
  • Had a couple of weeks of downtime (by which I mean work and only a few short work trips) before heading to London for my induction into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. It was an amazing event, held on a beautiful estate in Windsor, and such a special night. My acceptance speech was very well received l and I thanked A and my mom in it and they both seemed really happy. A terrific night surrounded by my friends and heroes.
  • We stayed in London a bit longer than we usually would have because my mom wanted to do some sightseeing. I was very ready to go back on the day of our scheduled flight but our flight was cancelled due to weather which was not ideal but we were able to fly home the next day and got some really sweet vouchers so I’ll call that a win.
  • The rest of the month was…April. I feel like this month is always weird. I took a little time to wallow but for the past few weeks have put myself in bad habits boot-camp. It’s going well and we’re in May now so hopefully that will be a different entry soon.
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May 14, 2018

A dear friend of ours was a world-renowned penguin expert, and spent months in Antarctica every year. He often tried to get us to come for a visit, but it didn’t meet my criteria of having at least one Michelin starred restaurant

May 16, 2018

@bedlamhillfarm Ha!  You will just have to be creative and bring your own chef.  Some of the boats are very nice – maybe you could get together a group of likeminded individuals for an expedition cruise with fine dining or I am sure http://www.white-desert.com/ would cater to any requests.

May 14, 2018

That is just amazing- every bit of it!

May 19, 2018

I’m so glad you’re back.

May 19, 2018

Congratulations on all the success.

May 28, 2018

Penguins!  Amazing!  I can’t imagine how cold that water must be and the fortitude to swim in it, wow.  Yay for following your heart.  When your heart isn’t in it, it becomes such a drudge.

June 6, 2018

Penguins!  Yay for following y0ur heart and taking the time for you you needed to.

August 17, 2018

you! so glad to see your life is still amazing & things seem to be going even better than last time i checked in.