From June 2015 until May 2016, I’ll be swimming 52 lakes in and around Berlin. I’ll be documenting some of my swims on Slow Travel Berlin, while writing a memoir, TURNING, about the year of swimming (to be published by Virago, Berlin Verlag, & Hamish Hamilton Canada).
The rules are: no swimming pools, no wetsuits. All the lakes must be reachable by public transport, bike, or on foot. All must be reasonable distances (i.e. day trips) from central Berlin.
Why am I doing this: I’ve always loved swimming, but until the age of 18, I was terrified of lakes. Growing up in Canada, surrounded by lakes, this was a bit of a problem. Over time, I dipped my toes in and swam a bit, first in Nova Scotia, and then in England, and eventually the terror lifted. Lake swimming taught me how to focus, how to overcome fear, and how to most fully be myself. In Berlin, I found a swimmer’s paradise – and I swam a lot. 52 Lakes is how I’m finding my place in the city, amidst its many lakes and forests.
– Jessica J. Lee