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Off the Couch | In the Beginning

29 May 2018

People always laugh when I describe myself as an Average Joe, but it’s true. I run a small business, I’m a single dad, I have all the same daily frustrations and challenges as everyone. I just happen to have a crazy hobby on the side that helps me deal with them a little differently. My hobby is Ultra Extreme Open Water and Ice Swimming.

I only started swimming in my late twenties/early thirties – I could tell I was becoming a bit of a couch potato and I’d always enjoyed swimming, so I signed up with a small swimming squad.

After a while, one of the guys suggested I attempt the Robben Island to Blouberg Swim: 7.3km in very cold open water.

At first, I thought it was an insane idea; something reserved for elite athletes and nowhere near my aspirations nor abilities. But something made me train for it anyway, and in 2003 I gave it a go, and succeeded. Now I’ve done it 77 times, and what was an ‘Everest’ to me, I now look at as a training swim (a tough one, though!)

That first Robben Island Swim got me thinking about what more was possible – what else I could think was an insane idea, and then achieve. Since then I’ve swum all over the world: from South Africa, Gibraltar, Taiwan, Australia, South America, Alaska, the Arctic Circle, Russia, Antarctica, even Siberia and many, many other crazy places…

It’s not easy. I have to follow painful, pioneering training techniques before an ice challenge. Because I’m not doing it full time, I use what limited resources I have and put basic safety procedures in place – initially drawing from a like-minded group of mates who helped open many doors. But I’ve found that by challenging myself and pushing personal limits for swimming in ice water, I’ve embarked on a personal journey of challenge and discovery… That’s how I got started with my speaking career – telling my story to a few friends and then a few more, and then small businesses, and bigger and bigger.

It certainly wasn’t ever the plan to become a ‘speaker’, but seeing what everyone takes away after hearing my simple story makes me want to do it every day!

The challenges I do around the world impact my life hugely. If I can achieve the impossible in the water and in temperatures it’s not supposed to be possible to swim in, I can achieve great things in all aspects of my life.

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  • Hello to “The New Normal” I can now present my keynote from my dining room 🏻 I am digital conference ready🏻#pushpastimpossibleHello to “The New Normal” I can now present my keynote from my dining room 🏻 I am digital conference ready🏻#pushpastimpossible
  • "The time for different is now." When @tmpublishers reached out with a request for me to contribute to a new release: "THE BOOK EVERY BUSINESS OWNER MUST READ" I jumped at the opportunity to feature among some of SAs most brilliant business thinkers.Thanks to the glorious rain and cold weather in Cape Town, I am halfway through this book and literally inhaling the knowledge and insights on every page. As the title says, it is certainly the book every business owner should read right now, although I feel it's highly relevant for ANYONE in current circumstances of overwhelm and uncertainty.To quote from the @BonangMohale chapter, an expression passed down from his Grandmother that I simply LOVE: "Behold the turtle - it only makes progress when it's neck is stuck out!" Copies are still available on Loot - link in bio#TimeForDifferent #PushPastImpossible #RecommendedReading #BookRecommendation"The time for different is now." When @tmpublishers reached out with a request for me to contribute to a new release: "THE BOOK EVERY BUSINESS OWNER MUST READ" I jumped at the opportunity to feature among some of SAs most brilliant business thinkers.Thanks to the glorious rain and cold weather in Cape Town, I am halfway through this book and literally inhaling the knowledge and insights on every page. As the title says, it is certainly the book every business owner should read right now, although I feel it's highly relevant for ANYONE in current circumstances of overwhelm and uncertainty.To quote from the @BonangMohale chapter, an expression passed down from his Grandmother that I simply LOVE: "Behold the turtle – it only makes progress when it's neck is stuck out!" Copies are still available on Loot – link in bio#TimeForDifferent #PushPastImpossible #RecommendedReading #BookRecommendation
  • Yesterday I became the record holder for the most Robben Island Crossings ever completed, a goal I have been working towards for many years 🏻 Being my first RI swim since lockdown restrictions, and very little training, my support crew reckon I broke two records that day, the second record being my “slowest” crossing to date  Not entirely correct but very close! It was tough, but it’s done. Dedicated to the late Theo Yach, who held the record previously and set the bar so high 🏻Yesterday I became the record holder for the most Robben Island Crossings ever completed, a goal I have been working towards for many years 🏻 Being my first RI swim since lockdown restrictions, and very little training, my support crew reckon I broke two records that day, the second record being my “slowest” crossing to date Not entirely correct but very close! It was tough, but it’s done. Dedicated to the late Theo Yach, who held the record previously and set the bar so high 🏻
  • Epic day on the mountain, away from the computer and filling the soul!Epic day on the mountain, away from the computer and filling the soul!
  • "Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction" ~ UnknownI wish I knew who uttered this quote, because it couldn't be more relevant to all of us right now, and especially on World Ocean's Day. I have written a blog about the strength I have observed in this very unusual "extreme challenge"Let me know your thoughts... link in bio#WorldOceansDay #PushPastImpossible #COVID19"Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction" ~ UnknownI wish I knew who uttered this quote, because it couldn't be more relevant to all of us right now, and especially on World Ocean's Day. I have written a blog about the strength I have observed in this very unusual "extreme challenge"Let me know your thoughts… link in bio#WorldOceansDay #PushPastImpossible #COVID19
  • I've been following the fascinating journey of Yoshi, a loggerhead turtle rehabilitated and released by the 2OAquarium on the 16th Dec 2017. Since her release, she has covered over 40 000 kms and has been to some continents I am still trying to visit myself! (You can read more about Yoshi on the 2Oaquarium blog on their website)  Last year I had the privilege of swimming in the Ocean Exhibit with some of the wildlife being rehabilitated at the @2oceansaquarium facility-what a sight it was to see these beautiful creatures up close and personal. Definitely a tick off my bucket list! 🏼 #2oceansaquarium #twooceansaquarium #aquarium #southafrica  #turtle  #yoshi #yoshitheturtle #yoshisjourney #farewellyoshi #amazing #goodnewsI've been following the fascinating journey of Yoshi, a loggerhead turtle rehabilitated and released by the 2OAquarium on the 16th Dec 2017. Since her release, she has covered over 40 000 kms and has been to some continents I am still trying to visit myself! (You can read more about Yoshi on the 2Oaquarium blog on their website) Last year I had the privilege of swimming in the Ocean Exhibit with some of the wildlife being rehabilitated at the @2oceansaquarium facility-what a sight it was to see these beautiful creatures up close and personal. Definitely a tick off my bucket list! 🏼 #2oceansaquarium #twooceansaquarium #aquarium #southafrica #turtle #yoshi #yoshitheturtle #yoshisjourney #farewellyoshi #amazing #goodnews
  • Breadline Africa (@breadlineafrica ) provides infrastructure to under privileged communities in South Africa (and abroad), and is currently working hard to bring food to these communities during the lockdown.I first heard about Breadline through my friend, Arafat Gatabazi (@arafatswim ) he dedicates his time, and all of his swimming challenges, to raising money for them as he believes in the work that they do.With so many incredible people digging deep and doing amazing work over this scary unknown time, I find it very difficult to figure out where my support will be most effective, however, at Breadline, I know it will go straight to the communities most in need. Please consider donating, they need our help.Investec Bank LimitedAccount No.: 10012399069Branch Code: 580105SWIFT Code: IVESZAJJXXX https://lnkd.in/gSDMGzg Or visit their site https://lnkd.in/gyh9Kzf for Paypal and SnapscanImage by @hannnahbeth #lockdownsa #breadlineBreadline Africa (@breadlineafrica ) provides infrastructure to under privileged communities in South Africa (and abroad), and is currently working hard to bring food to these communities during the lockdown.I first heard about Breadline through my friend, Arafat Gatabazi (@arafatswim ) he dedicates his time, and all of his swimming challenges, to raising money for them as he believes in the work that they do.With so many incredible people digging deep and doing amazing work over this scary unknown time, I find it very difficult to figure out where my support will be most effective, however, at Breadline, I know it will go straight to the communities most in need. Please consider donating, they need our help.Investec Bank LimitedAccount No.: 10012399069Branch Code: 580105SWIFT Code: IVESZAJJXXX https://lnkd.in/gSDMGzg Or visit their site https://lnkd.in/gyh9Kzf for Paypal and SnapscanImage by @hannnahbeth #lockdownsa #breadline
  • #TBT A year ago I sat in an audience in Langa Township with a relative handful of others. Ed Sheeran was giving an exclusive workshop in association with Bridges For Music, and sharing his journey, anecdotes, a wealth of advice and direction to many budding superstars in the room (and me). Because it feels more relevant now than it ever did, to find alternative ways of getting noticed as a performer, I am revisiting that blog post today and sharing the lessons learnt. “Getting noticed out there is very hard. But if you believe in yourself, in your product and in my case, a strong belief in the power of my messages, one needs to be brave, look for non-traditional ‘stages’ and out of the ordinary, new ways to show the world what you’ve got.” Link in Bio or www.ryanstramrood.com/blog@teddysphotos #edsheeran #capetown #throwback #throwbackthursday @bridgesformusic #pushpastimpossible#TBT A year ago I sat in an audience in Langa Township with a relative handful of others. Ed Sheeran was giving an exclusive workshop in association with Bridges For Music, and sharing his journey, anecdotes, a wealth of advice and direction to many budding superstars in the room (and me). Because it feels more relevant now than it ever did, to find alternative ways of getting noticed as a performer, I am revisiting that blog post today and sharing the lessons learnt. “Getting noticed out there is very hard. But if you believe in yourself, in your product and in my case, a strong belief in the power of my messages, one needs to be brave, look for non-traditional ‘stages’ and out of the ordinary, new ways to show the world what you’ve got.” Link in Bio or www.ryanstramrood.com/blog@teddysphotos #edsheeran #capetown #throwback #throwbackthursday @bridgesformusic #pushpastimpossible
  • A baby sea Turtle was found on the roof by Marius Scholtz while installing a maritime radio antenna in St Francis. Marius contacted the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation’s turtle rescue team, who gave him great advice on how to keep the turtle safe and comfortable until transport was arranged for further care. What a lucky little sea turtle. This resulted in another endangered turtle rescued. Well done Two Oceans Aquarium Family it's so heartwarming to see the incredible work that you do for our oceans. 🌎#2oceansaquarium #twooceansaquarium #aquarium #animals #capetown #southafrica #cityofcapetown #capetownvibes #meetsouthafrica #capetownbound #thisisafrica #amazing #wow #turtle #loggerhead #rescue #animalrescue #lockdown #turtlerescue #projectturtle #bayworld #rooftoprescue #hero 📸- @oliviafraserphotography @jtresfon @2oceansaquariumA baby sea Turtle was found on the roof by Marius Scholtz while installing a maritime radio antenna in St Francis. Marius contacted the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation’s turtle rescue team, who gave him great advice on how to keep the turtle safe and comfortable until transport was arranged for further care. What a lucky little sea turtle. This resulted in another endangered turtle rescued. Well done Two Oceans Aquarium Family it's so heartwarming to see the incredible work that you do for our oceans. 🌎#2oceansaquarium #twooceansaquarium #aquarium #animals #capetown #southafrica #cityofcapetown #capetownvibes #meetsouthafrica #capetownbound #thisisafrica #amazing #wow #turtle #loggerhead #rescue #animalrescue #lockdown #turtlerescue #projectturtle #bayworld #rooftoprescue #hero 📸- @oliviafraserphotography @jtresfon @2oceansaquarium
  • Devil’s Peak Lite beer only consists of 88 Calories, the lowest 4% Alc beer out there!If you would like to WIN some cool prizes (Read: "Beer") then follow the steps below:----1. Show DP the best way to burn 88 calories at home. 2. Post a short video of you burning 88 calories3. Nominate 2 or more of your friends to burn 88 calories as well.4. Tag @DevilsPeakbeer, Use #Nominate88, #DPLite so that they can find your entry.Devil’s Peak Lite beer only consists of 88 Calories, the lowest 4% Alc beer out there!If you would like to WIN some cool prizes (Read: "Beer") then follow the steps below:—-1. Show DP the best way to burn 88 calories at home. 2. Post a short video of you burning 88 calories3. Nominate 2 or more of your friends to burn 88 calories as well.4. Tag @DevilsPeakbeer, Use #Nominate88, #DPLite so that they can find your entry.