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Brando
Yelavich

Explorer author, life changer, death cheater

  • Engage
Profile

Brando Yelavich is a young explorer from New Zealand who, on the 24th of August 2014, was the first person to walk the coastline of New Zealand (8700km over 600 days). Since then, Brando has completed numerous self-supported adventures around the globe.

Brando’s first adventure completed his first adventure at 19 years old, as he circumnavigated New Zealand's beautiful coastline. He climbed, walked, ran and swam around the entire country, living off the land, catching fish, wild birds, wild rabbits and whatever else he could get his hands on, using a guide to all of the edible plants for assistance. Contributions to Brando's incredible feat went to the Ronald McDonald House, raising money and awareness for all the children and families who are under their care. Brando's circumnavigation was inspired by Into the Wild, but Brando also had personal reasons for undertaking the challenge: he felt he was headed down the wrong path in life and needed to change his direction in a big way. The journey almost cost him his life on several occasions; it took him 600 days and he had to travel more than 8000km, basically alone.

Since then, Brando has completed multiple self-supported adventures, including:
• Surviving in the wilderness of Stewart Island, 30 days. 570km
• Skiing across the Greenland Icecap 33 days 600km
• Kayaking around the largest island on the west coast of the Americas, Vancouver Island 72 days 4780km and;
• In 2019, Brando was the first person to cycle across Australia west to east through the deserts 130 days. 5555km

Awards
In 2015, Brando was awarded Kiwibank Local Hero Auckland - Auckland.
In 2014, Brando was a runner up for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.
In 2013, Brando has received the prestigious 'Warrant Officer of the Defence Force Award' from the LSV, for the most effective team member and for leadership.

Author
Today he's produced three books, something he says he found remarkable as he struggles with Dyslexia and ADHD.
Brando’s best-selling book Wildboy, detailing his epic trek around the coastline of New Zealand (released in 2015), was awarded the 2016 Children & Young Adults Choice Award.

Speaking work
Brando has dedicated his life to adventure and exploration, calling his expedition at 19 years old, a turning point in his life. Brando says he learned so much on the journey that it ignited a spark which he can’t ignore. His goal is to empower others, motivating and inspiring people through sharing his personal story and the lessons he learnt along the way.

An inspiring speaker with exciting adventures to share, Brando is able to mould his stories around key messages to increase happiness, productivity and motivation in a team environment.

Media
Expertise
Topics

Lifestyle & Wellbeing

  • Mental Health
  • Mindfulness
  • Adolescent Support

Motivational

  • Challenge & Adventure
  • Inspiring Stories
  • Resilience
Feedback
He captivated the audience of 30 young professionals from the very start with his honest & down to earth presentation. Well actually it wasn’t really a presentation, it was more of an unmasked story of his amazing life to date, focussing on his life changing and almost life ending 600 day odyssey on foot around the coast of NZ. His talk was enhanced by the gear he brought with him that had been his life’s belongings during the journey. Brando is inspiring and motivating in his address and clearly reliving his experience when telling his unique story - He is a consummate story teller. He adds a refreshing new face on the speaking circuit. He is a must have for RYLA 2016." RYLA
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