Even Vikings get the blues.
It is 4-30am and I am sitting on the roof of my hotel in Rio de Janeiro.. Rio carnival is in full swing. The sound of the Samba rocks across the city and I am glad i have seen it. I’ve wanted to my whole life. A few things have come to light though. I am not a youngster anymore and have no interest in a mid-life crisis. No gold chains hanging around my neck and convertibles for me. To be honest I am waiting for sunrise so I can go swim in the sea off the Copacabana. I am 48 years old and for the first time in my life since my Mother passed when I was 14 I am comfortable with who i am. On my first walk in 2010 I walked through the Namib desert for 65 days. They were life changing. However there were a few thing that I did take with me from that adventure. I realised I could live in my skin without a mask. I had never intentionally gone out and hurt another person. This is not to say people have not been hurt by my actions. To them I am sorry. However it was not meant at anyone particular. Just me hiding from who I am and believing I had to be someone else to be liked and loved. I only wish i could have felt this way earlier in life. My life sure has not been filled with sugar, spice and all things nice. But I don’t think the universe has it in for me. I don’t think anyone owes me anything. I just want to be………ommmmmmommmmm 😉 In fact i believe my life has been full of fun and adventure. Just the odd swamp that i have had to navigate around.
I tell you one thing these Brazilians know how to party. The city just rocks at night and can be heard right up to sunrise ……………..then they do it all again.
I take things like loyalty and trust very seriously. I feel totally disillusioned when I am stabbed in the back by people I have trusted. This has happened at work while I have been away. However in life there is this beautiful thing that I truly believe in. KARMA. Treat your people and universe the way you want to be treated. Not always easy, even for a swami like me, bwhaaaaa. Karma is a very powerful thing. The people responsible will be let go to carry on with their journey. My journey has hit a small deviation due to it but the ship is already being set back on course. I have chosen to see this not as an obstacle but an opportunity to regroup and reposition my self for my goals and ultimate success.
I have been swimming like a dolphin (actually more like a Platypus) recently. I mean I have been putting in a huge training effort. This is my year for the Robben Island crossing! I truly believe that. Winter is going to be tough but i am a tough guy 😉 I will do it for me and all those amazing people who have supported me. Open water swimming takes as much mental fitness as it does physical. Then you have the conditions that have to be good but I am sure Barry and Diane will put in a good word with the Big Guy for me and take care of that.
I have just come back from a training camp in Langebaan lagoon and besides the great exposure to the cold water that I needed, the people I met where so inspirational. Everyone was there for their own personal reasons but were happy to share and I tell you it is very humbling. They will all achieve their goals I am sure of that 😉
No pics of me swimming ……..as I was swimming….. but in the evenings we all got together and chatted about our swims and goals and it was another great experience.
This weekend I swam with my friend Lindy in Swakopmund as practise for what was supposed to be our half Robben Island crossing. Unfortunately mine will be delayed due to work commitments but the training still goes on. Lindy will still do it in 2 weeks time and I have absolutely no doubt she will make it. She is very fit and is a great swimmer. Nevertheless we all were at dinner the night before our swim and as I was looking out onto the ocean i saw a seal jump through the waves. A playful young adult. I told everyone playfully this must be my Dad Barry who has come to wish me luck. I had up until now only done 3.8km in the open ocean. I was trying for 5km. Dinner was great and the sunset just perfect.
When I went for a light swim to stretch out in the Mole on the Friday the 16 deg water temp did not phase me, so when I was in the last few hours of my prep my head shifted gear. And it was not how was I going to do 5km but rather how tough was it going to be. I was going to do this, i was certain of it. Lindy was going for 4 (Jetty miles) and i was going for 3. This should take me over the 5km mark. Before i knew it – boom ! – I was in the water and we were swimming. I felt good but realised there was a light current I was swimming with. That was going to make the return swim difficult. The waves and wind picked up and when i turned and it became really a tough swim. The water temp had dropped overnight to 15 deg with pockets of 14 deg. I was battling back against the current and the waves got bigger as the wind picked up. Swimming in waves like that made sticking to your stroke pretty much impossible. Then out of the deep i saw this flash of black. I said to Cronje, my safety kyaker, there was something in the water with me. He laughed and said there is a seal with you………….. Barry had come to help get me through this. What an amazing feeling ! The seal actually swam with me for 500m. As i grinded on i just kept repeating Barry……..Wratten……………..Barry……………..Wratten every time an arm went into the water. It made the tough work just pass by in what seemed like minutes but was actually an hour. I turned for the last time at Tiger Reef and said to Cronje, let’s head home. I was exhausted but so excited to see the 5km mark getting closer. Just before the dreaded turn around the rocks Lindy came past me and she was swimming her furthest distance yet. She finished on 6.5km. She is going to be a great swimmer and am sure she will be doing a bigger swim in the future. As i rounded the rocks the sun came out and the water calmed right down, I had done it!
I have been swimming for 2 years. 3 years ago i weighed 173kg, i was a heavy drinker and full time party animal when my world fell apart. I had a stint in intensive care with a bleeding ulcer, blood transfusions and almost death. A few months later i was at death’s door again when i developed alcohol induced hepatitis and my liver was failing. Certain death. Lying there knowing you will be lucky to live through the next few hours was a life changer. I lost all my muscle and was sick for a few years. However i have done a complete life change and am happy to be alive. Results like these make it all worth while.
I can also now happily tell you we have another walker. Yes, a good friend of mine will also be joining. Len Kohler. Len, Steve and myself have done many, many travels together. Each one has it ups and downs. (Mostly my downs with hangovers, bwhaaa!) But ultimately we are 3 good friends that enjoy similar things. The peace of Nature, the beauty of Africa, telling stories around the camp fire and generally solving all the world’s problems. I am sure this one will be the same and be a trip we will remember until we are old and grey……………..oh yes, we are already old and grey, LOL.
Len, myself and Steve.
With that i will end off and my next post will be in a month’s time after the walk. We are really excited as it is a walk i have wanted to do for a few years now. If you possibly can please make a donation to the Desert Lion Conservation. Their bank details are on the top right link of this blog. If you can’t maybe have a look at their website as maybe one day you may be able to help 😉 After making a donation send me your business logo and i will happily put it up on our sponsors page.
Thank you for reading and i will be back soon. Its a wonderful life.
Here I go out to sea again
The sunshine fills my hair
And dreams hang in the air
Gulls in the sky and in my blue eyes
You know it feels unfair
There’s magic everywhere
Look at me standing
Here on my own again
Up straight in the sunshine
No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It’s a wonderful wonderful life
The sun’s in your eyes
The heat is in your hair
They seem to hate you because you’re there
And I need a friend
Oh I need a friend to make me happy
Not stand here on my own
I need a friend
Oh I need a friend
To make me happy
Not so alone