Project Big Swim

By Aleks Kashefi

There's no point in hiding what #ProjectBigSwim is, so I'll tell you the tale of how the idea came about...

Once I managed to let go, to deal with things as they happened and to be happy with whatever progress I made - be it a big miles day or a rest day - I knew I would be facing a big problem when I got back to the UK.

After a big adventure, you tend to fall into a bit of a pit. An odd sense of detachment from the real world followed a feeling of despair as I questioned everything about the 'normal' world around me. With this in mind I needed adventure plans. Something to work towards since I had no partner or family of my own to focus my attention on.

Ideas would appear, be analysed and then discarded. Running adventures were quickly dismissed since they seemed to lack the challenge needed to push me out of the slightly expanded comfort zone. The one thing I feared was the open water, and the one endurance adventure that had always had me speechless was Sean Conway's LeJog swim, and so I had the basis of my next big project. But I had a different focus, the self-supported aspect seemed to shout out at me.

Camp - now featuring wetsuits

Would it be possible to repeat Sean's swim self-supported?

Would it be possible to swim around the entire UK, self-supported?

The largest stumbling block, however, wasn't the logistics, the safety, the fitness, the mental strength or funding. It was my completely irrational fear of open water. Fear was so ingrained that the deep river crossings of Norway were more traumatic than being lost in the Arctic Circle, or low on food with days of running ahead of me.

barefootaleks.com/journal

Big Shakeouters will also be able to catch Aleks speaking about making fear his friend in the Wyedale Room.

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