A true advocate for Wild Swimming and completing as many challenges as possible, Lindsey Cole shares with Love Her Wild the benefits of swimming, and the numerous benefits that come from dipping our toes into the water.

Name: Lindsey
Home: Bristol
Age: 37
Environment I like the most: Deserts, mountains and coasts. Ha!
Best place I have visited: Shetland. And somewhere in the middle of an Australian desert. 
Fav adventure: Walking the Rabbit Proof Fence
Dream adventure: I’ve done my dream adventure. My biggest dream challenge right now is writing a book about it. 
Can’t go on an adventure without? Thermal leggings

You like to keep very busy!  What inspires you the most when undertaking exciting new challenges and adventures?

I’m all or nothing. So, I’m either incredibly busy or I have nothing at all on and I’m scrambling online trying to hustle for work. Generally, my adventures and journeys are inspired when I hit a low in life, I’m down because I don’t have much to do and then I flip it around and see it differently- that I’m able to do whatever I want because I have free time. Inevitably, it’s all on a budget, which also makes it more fun and exciting.

You completed a Runkulele after breaking up with your ex boyfriend.  Girl power!  Do you believe in spontaneous adventures helping to deal with difficult situations? 

I do. I went for a long run from London to Cardiff, when I got back from a holiday with him in Hawaii. I realised that I could learn a skill whilst running for 8 hours a day, and remembered I bought a ukulele to cheer myself up when he stood me up in Hawaii before I left. So, I ran from London to Manchester to see a friend, listened to ukulele songs as I ran and practiced each evening with the aim to busk for my train ticket home. I called up my local BBC radio station so they could give my charity a shout out and they turned it into a daily segment. I had to sing and play live on the radio each night, and I was awful. 

It gave me a focus and the physical achievement made me feel so much better. When you give yourself a challenge or adventure you physically have to move or do something or else you’ll be stuck in the same place. I also cycled to the South Africa World Cup when I couldn’t find a job in journalism after I graduated. I was doing so much work experience and setting up stories for journalists, I wanted to get out into the field myself. I found stories on the way, wrote a blog and gained the most wonderful experience. I even managed to blag a free bike. 

You are literally a real life Mermaid!  What is it about wild swimming that you believe connects people?

There’s so much camaraderie in swimming outside.  The cold can be such a shock to the system that everyone looks out for each other, but we also squeal and laugh and chucking ourselves into such uncomfortably cold water. It has so many great health benefits. My favourite though, is the laughter. 

You are hosting Wild Swim Weekends this April and May 2020.  What message do you hope to share with everyone?  

I want to encourage people to fly less and see Britain more. We have some incredible coastlines, lakes and rivers. Many that I’d never even heard of. So I want to take people to some of my favourite places and then deliver conservation workshops.  

Reading Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence inspired you to complete the 1000 miles walk through the Australian outback.  Are there any other real life stories that you would love to re-enact for yourself one day?

About ten years ago I walked Harriet Tubman’s road to freedom. But it’s now all highway, which didn’t make it very fun.

My biggest challenge has always been settling down somewhere, as I’ve always been so nomadic. So, I’m now focusing on trying to stay put in one place and finish writing my book.  

I like to be inspired to go on adventures rather than think them up. So, who knows what I’ll do in the future.

For those first timers umming and erring about dipping their toes into Wild Swimming, what would you say to them?

It makes you feel wonderful and there’s so many health benefits- physical, mental, circulation, friendship. Look online to find you nearest swimming community so you’re not alone. It might be best to try for the first time in the spring or summer when it’s warmer. If you can’t wait then just take your time, acclimatise and BREATHE. Breathing is very important. We can often get shocked by the cold and shorten their breathe. It’s very meditative once you start enjoying it.

How do you deal with freezing cold water?  I would die!

I don’t stay in for too long when it’s very cold. It may just be for a minute or a few. But it still is revitalising and I feel great afterwards. I lay my clothes out so they’re easy to put on and have many layers and always a flask of coffee.  

If you could swim in any ocean, river or lake in the world, where would you pick?

I’m happy in any water. That’s the adventure. It can be a pond in someone’s back garden, aqua marine coloured water or somewhere new along the stillness of the Bristol Channel. I like it all. 

You can follow and find out more about Lindsey’s adventures through her website, Twitter and Instagram page.

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