Whilst crossing the ocean between Wales and Ireland this morning, I was once again reminded of my biggest fear. Thalassophobia is what they call it; a fear of open water.

I can’t recall ever truly loving the ocean. The salty scent, the sound of waves crashing in, children and seagulls figuring out who can scream the loudest. Everything reminded me of one of the things I fear most. And you know what’s odd? I have no idea what exactly it is that I am afraid of.

During our travels through Sweden, we were surrounded with water. We past many lakes on a daily basis and drove along the coast for three weeks. Due to the extreme temperatures, Jordy went swimming whenever he had the chance, and we played fetch with the dogs to give them some exercise with the warm weather. But though a dive in these lakes offered them a great way to cool down, I was actually a bit bummed to be near water so often. I felt sad that I couldn’t join our family in the fun.

In July, we parked up in Umea for one week. When we first arrived to the city, we met a friend who ended up mentioning his fear of swimming in the sea. I finally felt like I wasn’t alone. Until then, it frustrated me so greatly that I couldn’t explain why I wasn’t happy to join Jordy swimming. At least I knew that I wasn’t completely crazy, knowing our friend felt the same way.

Marijke walking into a lake during sunset

Near the spot that we called our backyard for a bit, there was a lake with a small beach. The water was clear and the banks were shallow, and I walked in with Jordy when he took his first dive. It wasn’t scary, really, so the next time I decided to put on my swimsuit and go in a bit deeper.

And then I did it. I swam.

We spent a good twenty minutes swimming back and forth together. Later on, we brought our dogs along, and actually went swimming as a family for the first time. There was no need for leashes or a toy, they simply followed us along and enjoyed being in the water together with us. On our way back south, we even swam in a sea together multiple times, despite spotting numerous jellyfish.

I had not felt this free in a long time.

The summer is coming to an end now, and I’m already excited for the summer next year to take a dive again.

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