ESEA Sisters Guide us to Healing Waters
ESEA Sisters Guide us to Healing WatersESEA Sisters
ESEA are a collective of women, trans, non-binary and genderqueer folk of East and South East Asian (ESEA) heritage, established back in 2021 in response to the rising wave of anti-Asian hate in the West. Starting off as a Whatsapp group where people could support one another, they grew into a flourishing international community of over 700 members on Discord. Although their group originated from shared trauma, they have made it their focus to harvest joy and celebrate their heritage in as many ways as possible - through organising nature walks, art chats and events, fundraisers, the list goes on.
ESEA Sisters members Kat, Kim and Isabella all have unique journeys to the water. Isabella swam competitively in Scotland in their youth. Kat seeks out water at every opportunity, having taught herself how to swim one summer in Thailand. Kim’s dad taught her how to dive and in return they both taught Kim’s mum to swim - and she still swims regularly at 82!
Isabella, Kat and Kim took us on a tour of their favourite water spots around the south of England. Brought to you by Open Waters, a crowd-sourced resource created by the Nike Swim x Trippin community charting the people and places making waves across our seas, oceans, lakes, and lidos.
“A beautiful, serene traditional Japanese garden located in West London, designed by Japanese landscape architect Shoji Nakahara. With tiered waterfalls, stone lanterns, a koi pond, Japanese maple trees and Sakura trees, it really gives a sense of a ‘home from home’ for the Japanese diaspora. It’s also completely free to access! I go there first thing most mornings before work, to clear my head, ground myself with nature, and write. It’s a very special place that has a lot of history to it - it was opened in 1991 as a gift from the City of Kyoto to commemorate the friendship between Japan and Great Britain, and in 2012 there was an additional Fukushima memorial garden added to the side of the Kyoto Garden. The peacocks strutting around the garden are an added bonus!”More Info
“It’s a tranquil pebbly beach set below the backdrop of the Seven Sisters cliffs - which creates a pretty dramatic scene! It’s a great place to go swimming or surfing, but if the tide is out, you’ll also see some rock pools to explore, and you can hunt for fossils and even catch crabs! There’s definitely something for everyone, I know that some areas of the Birling Gap beach are used by nudists/naturists. Which is maybe something to be mindful of when you visit. Our collective, ESEA Sisters, have been organising a series of nature walks with healing circles each month in different locations near London, and the Birling Gap is actually going to be our next destination! Immersing ourselves in the water, having a swim, connecting with nature, and incorporating some tai-chi/qi-gong on the beach, we’ll be rebalancing our energy and grounding ourselves, while in community with others. I’d recommend that if you go to the Birling Gap, try some of those activities out - either alone or in company. It’s a great way to destress. ”More Info
“It's our capital's dividing waterway, it's home to famous races and regattas and an abundance of wildlife resides on it’s banks. How could we not add it to the list! There are so many things that make the Thames special but let's start outside of London. The Thames is home to hundreds of beautiful towns and villages many of which are easily accessible by train so you can spend the day walking between places (the Thames has 185miles of walkable trails!) before finally heading home. Towns include Henley-on-Thames, famous for the regatta in the Summer and you can cross the Thames between Windsor and Eton, but the most magical places are the areas up and down the banks that locals would call 'our spot'. These are small oases found up and down the river where rope swings are built, bridges were made for jumping off and friends spend late summer evenings swimming and cooling off in the water. If you swam anywhere near the zoo Beale Park, like I did all through my teenage years, you’d often find yourself swimming alongside terrapins from when the park once flooded! One of the best places to swim here is a village called Pangbourne, not far from Reading, easily accessible by train or car as there is a dedicated carpark. Here you’ll find the brave jumping off the bridge, people using the water activities facility to canoe, others who come to try their hand at fishing a bit further down and tonnes of people splashing in the water or watching the boats and yachts go by from the jetty. Now heading downstream to the capital. The Thames Path walking routes here are not to be missed from the quaint village-esque feel of Barnes all the way to the Wapping, a now largely residential area that still holds it's old dock and factory history within every cobbled street, it makes a perfect alternative day out for anyone heading to London. Getting tired feet doing all that walking? Hop on one of the many river buses or tours that depart between Richmond all the way to the Thames Barrier. Another great way to see the sites of London on one of Britain's most famous waterways.”More Info
“This is a huge expanse of white rolling sand dunes residing on the coast of West Sussex. It is often deemed one of the most beautiful beaches in England at 13km long and backing onto the South Downs, it’s enjoyable all year round and there are areas all along the front for you to swim, make sandcastles, go for a walk or enjoy a BBQ with family. It’s one of the few beaches in the UK where I have found absolutely anyone is welcome to come and enjoy it, no stares or whispered conversation between other families for looking different. I went to university in a county with a lot of coastline and always found my presence at the beaches there to be bothersome to many others. In fact, the only thing to note when you come to enjoy West Wittering is please be mindful and smart when going to enjoy the water, there are safe swimming areas for a reason! Lifeguards are posted up and down the beach and with it being so large, there are many areas to swim. Lots of places have much calmer, slightly busier waters which make it perfect for swimming together with friends and family or if you prefer to get your sea laps in, like me, there are equally calm areas to swim often used by those of us who might be taking the beach a little too seriously... If you’re looking for a bit of thrill when you head here, there are areas dedicated to water activities like wind surfing too.”More Info
“Whilst visiting my partner’s parents for the first time in Gellifor, North Wales we took a trip West, to Dolgellau, hiked around Llynnau Cregennen (Cregennan Lakes), and meandered down hairpin bends towards Fairbourne Beach. We met with a large sea wall that protects the village from high tide, which we clambered over and stood in awe of the sprawling sandy beach. Despite the sunshine, it was sparsely filled with fellow beach walkers. Opalescent jellyfish were dotted around the sand - marking the edge of the tide. The open views fogged the horizon line facing the general direction of Ireland, and I felt at peace. A resolution had been made. We had our swimming gear - we had to jump in. Nothing beats a salty swim with natural views, crisp fresh air, and staring up to a clear blue sky. The feeling of weightlessness clears the mind, ready for the return back to the hustle bustle of London living. Sadly, Fairbourne is on the front line in the battle against climate change and there are rising concerns that the lovely little village by it’s shores will be consumed by rising tides and ever more frequent flooding. “It’s being called the first place in the UK to be lost to climate change, as rising sea levels and extreme weather become too much to defend it from.” 13th March 2020 - Greenpeace. So be considerate and respectful when visiting and perhaps let your trip inspire you to invest as much time in healing the earth we share as we try to invest in healing ourselves. ”More Info