The Wild Swimming Brothers first caught our attention when Rude Health promoted an event that involved an early morning jump into the wintery waters of the Serpentine Lake in London’s Hyde Park. Whilst a member of our London office had signed up to take part, the event was unfortunately cancelled.
So what exactly is wild swimming? According to the brothers, the adventurous activity includes all kinds of outdoor swimming and is arguably characterised by subversity. They go on to describe how the world we live in is dressed up labels, whereby everything is signposted and officially interpreted.
Diverging from this landscape, the brothers take to the water to establish connection to something that is utterly primal and ancient.
It’s an opportunity to reject the status quo and personally reinterpret the world as your own.
Come April, the brothers’ book Swim Wild will hit the shelves, in which they invite readers to dive into the natural world and discover their inner adventurer. By inspiring others to explore their relationship with nature and the wild, the underlying message to wild swimming is rooted in establishing a meaningful connection that is both joyful and peaceful.
What is thought-provoking about this sentiment is the relationship to nature and the essence of reconnecting to ‘your inner child’.
The former is interesting due to other titles that resonate with returning to the wild. Published last November, Daniel Hume’s The Art of Fire: The Joy of Tinder, Spark and Ember, explores how the natural form fascinates, captures and inspires the imagination, and brings people together. Interestingly, these themes are echoed in our blog posts surrounding wonder, empathy and optimism in design through which we explore community driven spaces. Hume illustrates the primitive principles of fire – light, energy, heat and cooking. Yet, he alludes to the universal capacity for it to be used as a means to understand the world around us.
Drawing parallels to this title, Tom Herbert’s Do Wild Baking: Food, Fire and Good Times was published in September. Again, the release of this book contributes to a wider consumer narrative rooted in wild adventures and retreating to primitive behaviours.
Reiterating the notion of reconnecting to your inner child, David Scarfe’s published title last November is a point of interest. From stargazing, tree climbing, bird watching and DIY Fishing, The Wild Book: Outdoor Activities to Unleash Your Inner Child encourages the reader to let a little wildness in and rejoices in the wonders that can be enjoyed in the outdoor world.
By psychological definition, the inner child refers to a part of the unconscious. This is a sentiment we explore in further detail in our blogpost, Surrealist Schemes. But the question arises, how can brands transport consumers to a place whereby they are no longer thinking, but feeling.
How can retail experiences transcend the laws of Maslow’s hierarchy of self actualisation, enter unconscious waters and liberate the mind?
Through our exploration of primitive behaviours, we caught up with Calum from the Wild Swimming Brothers. He shared with us that ‘the reason we are seeking to tap into a more primal vein is quite simple, it is freedom, freedom from the shackles and chains of living in the modern world, of the stress, the anxiety, and the chaos. It is the quest for a personal liberation and it can be found in something so simple and easy to do, something so accessible for everyone irrespective of age, gender, race, sexuality or wealth’.
As we continue upon our path into 2018, Sheridan&Co believes this philosophy will grow amongst consumers. Echoing Calum’s thoughts, we have been exploring the concept of ego-loss and how consumers are on quest for personal liberation. You can explore these ideas in greater detail in our post regarding the rise of the unself.
Following on from this discussion, we asked Calum how adventures can foster a meaningful connection that is both a joyful and peaceful experience. He answered, ‘in a world where constant entertainment is king, of millennial madness, where clickbait and fake news have rendered our attention spans increasingly short, it is more important than ever to slow down and engage in an activity which is slow and all-consuming, to switch off and do one thing and to do it with all your focus and attention’.
These insights points us to a world where content overload is overwhelming. With this pursuit of slow and switching off, adventurism is a platform to disconnect from the noise of everyday and embrace a calm and meaningful meditation.
Whilst this sentiment is certainly important, on the other hand, adventures into the wild can also be a platform for ecstatic escapism. According to Adventurists, going on an adventure is a means to make the world less boring. It is an opportunity to stimulate chaos in our over-sansitised lives. Stephen Fry’s Mythos begins by exploring Chaos, which is the first thing to come. From chaos, order and new ideas can be born. This resonates with our initial exploration of the relationship between adventure and wonder. Yet, if we look to the current states of the world, and the geopolitical events of 2016 and 2017, we can begin to understand further as to why consumers are appetent for adventure.
Sure enough, there is scalability to this consumer tribe. Whilst the most avant-garde of this group will be pushing adventure to the limits, others may have reservations as to how far they will take their venturesome spirit. What is crucial however, is the collective desire for the liberation of the mind, returning to primitive values and reconnecting to their inner child.
At the start of 2018, we disclosed how Optimism Omnipresence will manifest throughout the year. At the heart of this free-spirited tribe, lives a belief that through adventure, a joyful experience or revelation will occur. Fundamentally, these adventures are authored by a wider search for meaning.