From crossing the treacherous Tasman Sea in a kayak to skiing unassisted to the South Pole and back, James Castrission has demonstrated unparalleled courage in the face of extreme challenges, time and again. His escapades, meticulously planned and executed, have established Castrission as a true trailblazer in the world of adventure. But that’s not all.
In 2013, the explorer harnessed his wealth of experience and knowledge to establish MyAdventure Group – a venture that helps him conduct transformative workshops and offsites to build resilience and foster teamwork within corporate circles and organizations.
With a deep understanding of the vital role that adventure plays in personal growth and professional development, Castrission has successfully guided countless corporate teams and leaders, promoting a growth mindset and a sense of connection and trust among them.
At the beginning
The Tasman Sea expedition – which Castrission did in 2008 – took enormous preparation, researching and planning.
Inspired by his fascination with the great explorers of the past, he set in place a plan to cross the formidable stretch of water separating Australia and New Zealand and assembled a team of like-minded individuals who shared his vision of accomplishing the seemingly impossible.
From the outset, it was clear that the challenges they would encounter would be extreme, with the Tasman Sea renowned for its unpredictable weather patterns and treacherous waves.
"Ninety-nine percent of the success of these expeditions is in the planning phase and one percent in the execution phase," Castrission says, reflecting on the arduous journey.
"Ninety-nine percent of the success of these expeditions is in the planning phase and one percent in the execution phase."
"For four years, we had to prepare for the Tasman Sea journey. But you prepare meticulously for all these years and then when you’re faced with a world-first adventure, things are going to come up and there’s going to be challenges.
"For us, that included a two-week circle in the middle of the ocean where we went round and round in circles. We had sharks come up on the kayak. It took us way longer than we were anticipating."
Castrission and his crew mate, Justin Jones, supported by a team comprising people from 17 countries, finally emerged triumphant after 62 grueling days at sea, etching their names in the annals of exploration history.
But Castrission’s appetite for extraordinary challenges did not stop there. "Coming back from the Tasman Sea, I knew I wanted to do a big world-first expedition down in Antarctica," he says.
"To me, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of adventure was always Antarctica. As a kid, I’d read stories about the place. I’d grown up being fascinated by the history of exploration there.
"After doing some research, we found that no one had ever skied from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back, unsupported."
And that’s what he and Jones set out to do four years later, in 2012. Enduring brutal conditions and shedding a total of 56 kilograms between them, Castrission and Jones defied the odds and conquered the icy wilderness. Their resilience transformed their dream into a reality, leaving an indelible mark on the history of polar exploration.
Castrission’s remarkable achievements transcend the boundaries of physical endurance. However, through his expeditions, he not only pushed the limits of human capability, but has also leveraged the explorer’s mindset to benefit the corporate world.
Sharing the explorer’s mindset
Using his experience as a tool for personal growth and team development, Castrission founded MyAdventure Group a year after the skiing expedition. The organization develops leaders through high-end, adventure-based experiences.
"In a high-performing leadership team, you need vulnerability-based trust, and that can often take years and years to develop. However, these adventure experiences accelerate that process by showing authenticity and vulnerability amongst leaders," he says.
"In a high-performing leadership team, you need vulnerability-based trust, and that can often take years and years to develop."
Through MyAdventure Group, Castrission has spoken to more than 800,000 individuals across 40 countries over the course of 12 years. By designing and leading customized adventure programs for organizations worldwide, he empowers leaders and teams to overcome challenges and unlock their full potential.
"A few months ago, I was lucky enough to have Bill Gates come up and spend some time with me. He enjoyed the kind of experiences that I offer," he says. "For me now, the joy is in sharing adventure with corporate teams all around the world and with my family."