Category Archives: musings

Find your tribe, love ’em hard.

If there’s a tribe, it’s because they decided they want to be in it. Seth Godin

I’m a really lucky person. Ever since I started swimming open water, I’ve had the pleasure of doing it with friends. We meet up, swim together, and socialize on the beach over coffee and sweets afterwards. My day is changed, brighter, thanks to the time we spend together. The summer season started up again a few weeks ago, and I find myself reminded of how much I enjoy swimming with others.

Swimming open water brings me joy, especially the feeling of moving weightlessly through cool water. I’m transformed, energized, focused. Longer training swims sometimes even take on a kind of quiet, meditative feel to them. By the time I get home, I may be exhausted but I’m even more ready to face the day.

Doing this with friends brings with it a sense of togetherness. We laugh, talk, share goals, push each other to achieve them. I’m a better, happier person, thanks to the people I swim with. We’re all different, but we totally get each other. We’re like-minded, collective, community. We’re tribe.

Tribe can be family members, friends or your spouse, but most often it’s not. It can just as easily be other people, who you’ve met through your common interest in something you’re all passionate about. Parts of my tribe don’t even live in the same country, some of them I’ve yet to meet in person, we’re scattered across the globe but we connect through social media and events that finally bring us together. I’m welcomed into a fold, accepted, by people with whom I really jive. We get each other’s craziness, and this weird obsession with all things water. Tribe is just a different kind of family.

People have come and gone, and new friends have joined us along the way. But most importantly, that sense of tribe, of belonging, has always remained for those of us who continue to connect. This year in particular, I’ve made more of an effort to share my swimming adventures, whether through my blog, coaching others, or just being more engaged with other swimmers on the pool deck and beachside. I’ve put myself out into the world a bit more. I’ve noticed that when I show up for an open water swim now, there’s almost always someone who recognizes me, who says hi. It’s a nice feeling to meet people who love swimming as much as I do. We have a common interest, we speak the same language, we’re not alone. The feeling of tribe expanded.

We all need community, a place to be known. Tribe doesn’t always happen on its own, especially if you’re a bit shy, like I am. A few thoughts on how to find your people, so that your life is a richer space…

  • Put yourself out there, make yourself known, show up on shore. Talk to people. Feel good in your own skin, we’re drawn to what we project, so be brave in the world and your tribe will come to you;
  • When you meet people who light you up, make the time to connect on that passion you have in common, don’t worry about your differences, find your commonalities, head out for deeper waters and seek out adventures together;
  • Call in your own tribe, you don’t have to wait for others to come to you. Surround yourself with like-minded people, you don’t need to be alike, you just need to love the same stuff, focus on that instead;
  • You won’t agree on everything, but respect the members of your tribe and command acceptance for yourself in return, set boundaries but leave your heart open;
  • Tell your tribe how much they lift you up, cherish your time together;
  • Be curios, stay connected, and plan to do some really epic shit.

Life is short; fill yourself with great experiences, great adventures, great people.

So go find your tribe, and love ’em hard for all they bring to your life.

Happy summer swimming…




Wildbigswim. Starting from scratch…more or less.

Frankly, hasn’t been anything wild or big about it of late. Training this year has gone off the rails, and I’m trying to get back on track. I miss being on track. I miss swimming.

Ever had things go to crap? I started the year off well – this time last year I was pumped, planned, ready to go. Then one thing happened, then another, and another, and before I knew it, I was barely swimming at all. Forget long swims, forget racing. Year down the drain.

I know, whiny, right? I agree. Sometimes you have to just get your shit together and get back in the game. So enough of being cryptic, here’s the deal: it started with time off for work travel, then mourning the death of a beloved pet, and the joyful but hectic adoption of a rescue puppy, topped off with extreme fatigue from insomnia and sleep apnea. They all took their toll, and not sleeping was a real sucker punch. I could barely keep my eyes open while taking puppy on her morning potty walk, I felt like I was sleepwalking. And let’s not even talk about the weight gain, at least not here, not now. Later. So I stopped swimming, it was easy, I told myself I’d skip it now and make up for it later. I started feeling bad for not going, then like a outsider when I did, and I pretty much just stopped going all together. I have yet to cancel my big 24km race in Vermont, that’s on my dreaded to-do list. I just couldn’t get back on track fast enough to train properly, and racing a marathon distance swim unprepared is a risk I won’t take.

And so here I am, starting over. Which is ok. Kinda has to be. The sleep apnea is on its way to being under control, I’m still working on the insomnia, but at least I’m awake when I’m awake now. A few weeks ago, I started swimming open water again with the usual summer swim gang, which has got me pumped. I missed those guys, swimming with friends in wild, big open waters is the best. No lanes, no lines, as they say. And I’m volunteering as a swim angel for a local race this weekend, so there’s that. I’m feeling better.

24km races can wait. They’ll still be there when I’m ready.

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Nadine & Alex #2  P1000073

Worlds Fina 2014 001