MENTAL WELLNESS: Brando Yelavich will pass through Roma as part of his journey crossing Australia on his bike.
MENTAL WELLNESS: Brando Yelavich will pass through Roma as part of his journey crossing Australia on his bike. Brando Yelavich

Reformed drug abuser rides across Australia in a world-first

A GRUELING journey of overcoming drug addiction prepared Brando Yelavich for the arduous trek through the Simpson desert in a bid to cross Australia in a world-first.

If successful, the 25-year-old will be the first person to go from the most western tip to the eastern tip of Australia by bike.

All for the purpose of inspiring and empowering people to take care of their own mental wellness.

The Kiwi-born adventurer is 110 days into his journey and will be passing through Roma on Sunday.

Mr Yelavich said seven years ago he was at the roughest stage of his life, at the point where he tried to end it - twice.

"I was doing a lot of drugs to feel good and I was heading for jail mixed up in a world of crime,” he said.

"I woke up one morning and thought this wasn't the life I wanted to live and instead of feeling trapped I did something about it.

"The only thing I knew to do was run away, so I came up with a grand scheme to walk around New Zealand and that is when my life changed forever.”

At 19 years old, he became the first person in the world to walk the entire New Zealand coastline, all in 600 days. From there he has written two books and been on wild expeditions to Greenland and Canada.

Mr Yelavich said crossing Australia had always been at the back of mind but the point of the trip was not to make it about himself but to give other people the experience.

"I've had five people join me on the trip so far and I have pushed them to their breaking point both physically and mentally, placing them in a situation where they have to deal with the problem that's in front of them,” he said.

"Putting someone in a position where they think they can't go any further and coaching them through it to go further, that could potentially be the greatest thing they hold with them for the rest of their life.”

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.


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