Explorer Journeys: Brando Yelavich

Inspiring Explorers Expedition™: Greenland Ice Cap 2018

The challenge of traversing the remote and incredibly vast Greenland Ice Cap led to some life changing revelations for explorer Brando Yelavich.

Taking on big challenges is in Brando Yelavich’s DNA. The self-confessed “troubled kid”, was struggling with ADHD and Dyslexia, when at the age of 19, he made a bold decision that would change his life forever – to solo circumnavigate New Zealand on foot.

This 600-day journey helped Brando to discover a passion for exploration, which led him down a completely new path. After a few more adventures, Brando was delighted to be chosen for the 2018 Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ to cross the vast Greenland Ice Cap. He knew the expedition would create some personal challenges, with the endless days of icy flat ground and white sky testing his overactive brain. “Boredom was my biggest challenge. Because I am ADHD, I need a lot of stimulation with physical things. Some days being on the ice was like looking at a blank canvas but having no inspiration to paint. We could be walking at 2.00pm or 2.00am and the conditions were almost exactly the same.”

Although his hyperactive brain continued to move at “one million miles an hour” he had learned over the years to understand it, work with it and use it to his advantage. His favourite part of the expedition was the time it gave him to analyse his life, ask some deep questions, and confront his fears and worries.

One of Brando’s biggest realisations was around being part of a team. “I’d never been on an expedition with other people before – following directions, having a leader, and being with people of different physical and mental abilities. It was interesting for me, as in my mind prior to the experience, being in a team meant everyone sharing the load and doing the same amount of everything to get through. But this experience was all about utilising members of the team for what they were good at.”

Thinking about others’ goals and happiness was another revelation, he says. “Part of living with ADHD is that I can be a bit self-centred around my goals and what I want to achieve. I realised life is about the ones you love and it’s important to make other people happy too. On the expedition, that meant performing to my best for the team and making sure everybody was happy with the outcome of the expedition and not just me.”

Brando is already inspiring the next generation of young explorers through his online platforms and as an Inspiring Explorers alumnus.

“My main goal is to continue the work I do online, to inspire curiosity and encourage people to be explorers in everything they do. Ordinary people do extraordinary things every day, and we’re all ordinary.”