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Guest Blog

Sink or Swim - Ginny's story of swimming to Mongolia

By Virginia (Ginny) Lunn , 17 September, 2019

After a lifechanging family illness, SwimTrekker Ginny found her solace in the water. Along with her sister-in-law Saf, they took on the Mongol Rally challenge in summer 2019. Here's how she wove her love in swimming into her trip!

In July 2013 my partner was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Two years later she died and my world fell apart. This was not what I had imagined for my life. A friend who’d experienced bereavement said ‘you can either sink or swim’ – very apt for me as someone who’s always loved swimming. Throughout Maggie’s illness I sought release in my local pool. Goggles on and head down I had the perfect place to scream and cry. Now, alone, it was time to reconsider what my life would be and how to really swim!

I worked, I spent time with family and friends and I swam. I bought a place in Spain right on the sea so I could regularly sea swim. It’s also close to lakes brilliant for wild swimming. But holidays were tricky as I just didn’t know how to do them anymore.

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In January 2019, I decided it was time to seek out holidays I could do on my own. SwimTrek was my first choice and I jumped right in and booked the Galapagos trip. Somewhere I’d always wanted to go and I loved the idea of swimming round the islands with so much wildlife. The experience was more than I could have hoped for – an incredibly special place, amazing swimming with wonderful guides. To begin with it was strange not knowing anyone and I felt very alone. But because you are active and swimming every day you soon bond with fellow swimmers. I met incredible people, several with whom I am still connected with and will plan more SwimTreks with.
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This kickstarted 2019 for me and my passion for wild swimming. I decided the next adventure would be the Mongol Rally – driving London to Mongolia in a tiny car with my sister in law. The aim was to raise funds for the University College Hospital Cancer Fund who gave Maggie fantastic support and care. I’ve spent the summer driving half way across the planet. En route I sought out swimming spots to stretch after hours in the car. I’ve swam in outdoor pools in campsites, lakes in Lithuania and Latvia, Russian pools and Siberian hot springs. It’s been an epic trip and thank you to Swim Trek for reawakening my love of travel, swimming and adventure.

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Now to consider where next...

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