Embracing an invigorating new hobby … brrr!

  • How often do you try something new?
  • How often do you embrace a fresh challenge?
  • Are you stuck in your ways?
  • Have you got caught up into that metaphorical rut?
  • Have you thought about trying new things?

I love to embrace new challenges and try new stuff. However, as is quite normal, I do get caught up with my usual day to day routine. As such, trying out new stuff can seem a bigger effort than it actually turns out to be when you take action to ‘just do it’. This was certainly the case for me with Parkrun https://www.parkrun.org.uk/ (which sadly is still not yet open again due to Covid-19) and remember before I went for the first time thinking that it was yet another thing I needed to find out about before doing it, and as I’d already got a lot of plates spinning, it seemed daunting when it actually wasn’t (and isn’t). A couple of friends posted on Facebook about their first Parkrun, which gave me that extra bit of information I needed to galvanize me into action. I’ve now clocked up 49 runs and can’t wait to get the green light to be able to celebrate my 50th run at the same time as we all celebrate being allowed to run in groups again!

Back to my invigorating new hobby … well, I’m on the cusp of it at any rate. Whilst in South Wales on a short break last month, I went for a ‘wild swim’ in The Blue Lagoon https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/abereiddi-to-abermawr/features/the-blue-lagoon-abereiddi

I’d been told about this fabulous location by the lovely Sian Anna Lewis aka The Outdoor Girl, who I interviewed for my YouTube channel https://youtu.be/ytDG3XgAoL4 a couple of months ago now – she is a travel journalist / blogger and author and really does live a fabulous life! https://www.instagram.com/sianannalewis/

Having checked the location in a book I’d bought several years ago, and taken some advice from the local Tourist Information Centre, I duly programmed in the satnav code and headed off only to end up in totally the wrong location (not sure what I did wrong?!?) and found myself at The Celtic Campsite which looked very unlike a blue lagoon! I did an about turn and took up the suggestion given to me in the Tourist Info Centre and parked further along the coastline, and booked myself into a local pub for (an outdoor) dinner on my return.

I then embarked upon a 40-minute hike across the headland, where I saw some incredible coastal views and scenery, and passed many walkers on their way back from the beach.

Eventually I arrived at my location to discover two things: masses of people and a car park 5 minutes’ walk from The Blue Lagoon! OMG! It was a gloriously sunny day and there were so many people gathered around this beauty spot. Which, I discovered, is actually an old slate mine. And, as per the link, they hold diving championships from the old mine shafts here too. As such, there were a lot of people swimming across the lagoon to do just that. I would have joined them but I would have lost my glasses and not been able to drive – not a good plan, so I opted for the swim. In my swimsuit. EVERYONE else was in a wet suit and as I entered the water I knew why! OMG! It took some time to acclimatise but when I did, after several OMGs, it was wonderful, and I really loved being able to swim in open water, away from chlorine and loud swimming pools with restricted lane swimming.

On returning home, a number of other pieces started to fall in to place, as they had done with my Parkrun journey. I visited a local lake run by https://www.racehub.uk/ under the NOWCA regulations https://nowca.org/. I tootled along with a friend to check it out and once there, I was hooked and signed up on the spot. Membership to NOWCA is £12.00 per annum and every swim is £5.50, although you can book a block of 10 sessions for £50.00, which brings the cost down. Which is what I have done. And now I can’t wait for my first swim. It will also be in my swimsuit as it turns out my old shorty wet suit is too tight (eek – clearly put on a bit of weight in 15 years!) and my full length suit is too heavy to swim in. Yet again, I will be embracing the elements full on. Although as this is a shallow lake rather than a bottomless lagoon, I think it might just be a bit warmer.

I’ve bought a modesty changing coat and a swim cap – that’s commitment and I may need to buy some new goggles but other than that, I’m in and looking forward to this next chapter in my life.

Everybody I’ve met so far has been really friendly; it seems to be a fantastic community to be a part of.

Now, I’m not, and will never be the best swimmer in the world. I don’t do crawl; I only do breaststroke and, like my running and cycling, I do it to be out in the nature / with the elements, getting involved without any desire to push my body to its limits and attempt to be a champion. I just love doing what I enjoy doing and making new friends. I’m already meeting up with a friend’s mum because it turns out that she swims there too.

So, when you step out of your comfort zone and you try new things, you embrace new stuff, you meet new people, and you have new experiences.

And that is exciting. I am really looking forward to my next new experience.

Who knows which direction my life will take from here because I’ve taken a step off my well-trodden path?

  • So, what do you enjoy doing?
  • What would you like to try doing for the first time?
  • What’s stopping you?

Take a top tip to unblock that stop – just go for it and see what happens!

Good luck and please do let me know about your exciting adventures.

And if you’d like to put a toe in the water and connect with a fabulous group of people, please head on over to my Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/manifestyourdreamjob

It’s a growing community of supportive and encouraging people from all walks of life who want to transform their lives and, in some cases, have already done so!