“I collect islands,” says endurance kayaker Freya Hoffmeister. Having paddled around Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, Australia and South America you can see her point.
Likening what she does to mountaineers who climb mountains because they’re there, the difference with her, says Freya, is she is in a group of one for those who have achieved the South America loop. She doesn’t expect anyone to attempt the feat again any time soon.
If you turn up to the German’s tales of derring do at one of her talks taking place in the UK over the next month, you’ll see why.
I went to Freya’s first talk, which focused on the now 53-year-olds 2012 solo 27,000km circumnavigation of the South American coast while sitting comfortably with a Prosecco in hand at The George IV pub in south London.
Before long my back ached, knees creaked and shoulders burned even thinking about the journey Freya undertook in six legs over 30 months.
The trip was not non stop. Freya travelled home to Germany to spend time with her teenage son and look after her Christmas and ice-cream shops, which she runs when not being one of the world’s leading sea kayakers.
Setting off from Buenos Aires the former gymnast, bodybuilder and sky diver took all supplies, media kit and camping gear in her kayak, fitting enough food for four weeks and enough water for 12 days.
Pulling up on isolated treacherous rocky beaches to rest and camp or busier harbour-side locations where locals often hosted the adventurer, the tales Freya tells most often involve the kindness of strangers and the dangers inherent on the inaugural journey.
Self-deprecating, honest and full of tales such as a seal trying to suckle on her tent one evening on an isolated beach, a night out listening to Freya’s adventures makes you smile, ache and feel good about the world around us.
Head to Freya Hoffmeister’s website to find out the UK dates until the end of February 2018. The talk is in English! Head to her Freya Hoffmeister’s Facebook page to follow her journey, which includes a new plan to tackle North America!