As the founder of SwimTrek, the world’s original open water swimming holiday company, I have spent the best part of the past two decades in search of the most fascinating swimming locations anywhere on the planet. From destinations that were close to home in Britain’s Lake District and Scotland to more exotic locations such as Greece, Turkey and Egypt, I embarked on countless swimming adventures around the globe before SwimTrek was officially launched in 2003.
The idea behind these adventures was always a desire to explore and discover the uniqueness and beauty of a new destination. Literally immersing myself in the environment and pushing myself through the water, kick by kick and stroke by stroke, gave me the opportunity to appreciate the journey and the destination in a way that someone travelling in a car or on a ferry could not possibly imagine.
Since launching our first SwimTrek trips more than 14 years ago, we’ve continued to add amazing new destinations for our swimmers to enjoy. One of the most enjoyable parts of my role at SwimTrek is having the opportunity to challenge people’s perceptions about different destinations. That’s part of the reason why our new locations are often a little different to what you’d expect from a standard holiday. Some of the SwimTrek locations that fall into this category include the fjords of Northern Oman, the canyons of Arizona, the beautiful beaches of Haiti and even Britain’s own River Thames.
In different ways, each of these destinations has the capacity to confound people’s expectations. Whether it’s the stunning fjords and mountains of the Persian Gulf, a slither of cool refreshing water running through some of North America’s driest desert, or the wonderful sea in one of the Caribbean’s unluckiest countries, each of these destinations have the ability to blow away perceptions.
Another area where we enjoy being different is our desire to seek out places which are off the beaten track. Identifying these locations allows us to feel a sense of escape from our everyday lives and experience a new destination from a local’s perspective. These less-travelled locations often also have the added bonus of being home to some of the best open water swimming locations, with much less traffic that you would normally find in more well-known tourist destinations.
In a nod to SwimTrek’s ability to identify new and exciting destinations, The Times Newspaper recently picked their top travel trends in 2017. Three of their top travel picks are locations that we have been running SwimTrek trips in for many years, including Lithuania, the Greek Islands (where we run four different itineraries) and Oman. These locations have benefited recently from improved travel connections and are still great value for money.
After so many years spent travelling the world in search of the most spectacular open water swimming destinations on the planet, I look forward to adding even more incredible locations to the SwimTrek calendar in the future. Who knows where we’ll end up next?
By Simon Murie, SwimTrek Founder