My polar bear swims are always something really sacred to me. I don’t always complete it on the first of January but for me it is always the true beginning/start to my year. It started as something random that I thought I would try and has since then become a big tradition in my life. During my first polar swim I made a promise myself that as long as I was near water it would be my start to the year.
It is so much more than the rush of running into cold water as a shock into the new year (although that is a deep love of mine – shout out to my other adrenaline junkies). For me it is a physical representation of washing away all the old of the past year, letting go of it all, and moving forward fresh and renewed. It is as much a mental process as a physical one. From the moment I enter that water I vow to accept the past year for what it was and let it go and to move forward excited for what is to come.
Every year I choose a new location that is different than where I have gone before. Each location is special to me and has given me amazing memories. Every year it is a different experience and every year I am so grateful for the tradition. Some years I do it alone, other years I have some help. But regardless I always have a great time and come out of that water feeling refreshed and renewed.
Cold water and polar swims aren’t for everyone. Most people can’t stand cold water and the thought of a polar swim is “crazy”. But I’ve always been the one to chase after those experiences people call “crazy” because I know they are the ones that will be the most rewarding. I have been lucky in having a disposition for being able to withstand cold water conditions. Because of that and my love for water/the ocean I swim at any time of the year. It’s never a one time thing, you can catch me swimming at all times of the year. Just like hiking it is a way for me to reconnect with nature and myself.
I began documenting my polar swims ever since the beginning. The first year it was really just a simple photograph to show I had done it. But it evolved as I changed my direction within my photography. I started to take more self portraits which helped birth a new idea of having self portraits for every polar swim. This year I decided to experiment with video, a sister industry to the one I love so much. It is just me messing around with my camera but it is a new creative adventure for me to go on. My goal was to help others come with me on an experience that is so sacred to me. I had fun creating it and I enjoy sharing it with others. But for the coming years I think I will stick to self portraits instead.