Erin Bastian is the fearless adventurer behind Erin Bastian Adventure Blog. She's also the founder, guide and sea kayak coach at Evoke Adventure, a Cornwall based company that creates opportunities for people to go out on real expeditions. This organization allowed her to lead sea kayaking adventures worldwide.
Ever since she was 15, Erin had been working in the outdoors and enjoyed every minute of it! She developed a passion for exploration a few years later and so, the amazing chapter of her life began. It has always been her dream to help others see that there's so much there to explore and that life is also about gaining wonderful experiences. For Erin, adventure is LIFE and she believes it can bring out the best in us.
1. What has been your most exciting or rewarding adventure to date?
I'd say the most testing expedition I've undergone to date has to be paddling 800km down the remote west coast of Patagonia. We lived for 5 weeks completely self-supported from our kayaks. Paddled amongst icebergs and beneath towering glaciers, the only people we came into contact with were a couple of fishing boats, their crew thought we were crazy and gifted us an enormous king crab which was our only fresh food for weeks.
2. How did you start out a successful career in sea kayaking? Tell us more about Evoke Adventure.
I've always been a water baby growing up in Cornwall, and I also have a strong desire to explore. Sea kayaking became a way of exploring stretches of coastline whilst traveling distance under my own steam. It fascinated me the freedom you have in a kayak and the places you can access. Sometimes I can feel more at home on the sea than I do anywhere else.
I started my career around 8 years ago when someone suggested I could make a living from guiding. I couldn't think of anything better than showing other people all the wonders of sea kayaking. I worked my first season in the Fjords of Norway before returning to lead trips around the islands on the west coast of Scotland. After every season I'd save up my pennies and take off to do my own big expedition like Patagonia. These expeditions taught me so much and showed me parts of the world I'd never imagined I could explore. I wanted to share these incredible adventures with others and that's when Evoke Adventure was born. I began planning adventurous expeditions, and leading small teams of people in some of the world's best kayaking destinations to experience their own incredible journey.
3. Can you tell us more about your coaching style? How do you help others to improve?
I would say my coaching style is very student centered. Working with small teams allows me to coach around the needs of my students. I absolutely love to coach skills in context. It's so rewarding to paddle next to someone who's in conditions that you can see are stretching their comfort zone. I can coach from their side and gradually watch them relax, a grin spread across their face as they use their skills to handle the new conditions and begin to enjoy the challenge. Above all my focus is to build confidence and help people to feel comfortable and in control in environments which challenge them. I want people to look back at their day or week of kayaking and feel proud, and be able to say to themselves "I did that. I really did that!"
4. How do you decide on your next adventure?
I often just get curious about a new destination. I might have heard about it or seen it in an article or film somewhere. I then explore the kayaking possibilities by looking at Google Earth, a new journey usually just jumps out at me. Once the seed has been planted, it sticks around in the back of my mind before the curiosity get too much.
I'm heading down to Greece as I write this, because on Google Earth, it looked like you might be able to paddle from Greece to Turkey by linking the islands which are scattered across the Aegean Sea. I don't really know if I'll be able to do it, but the desire to find out is what drives me.
5. Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to take on an adventurous trip, or those who want to start on sea kayaking?
Starting out is one of the toughest parts of an adventure. Other people will often voice their doubts, or share their fears with you when you tell them your dream, but those opinions are a reflection of their own fears, not yours. You need to believe in yourself and not be swayed. If I had listened to people who had told me things would be too tough or difficult (including some of my own doubts), I'd never had started any of my adventures. You really don't know the real extent of your capabilities until you try. Listen to those who tell you to go for it, or share your excitement.
There are adventures out there like Evoke's where you can share the adventure with others, and get coached through the experience, allowing you to learn valuable skills and get the best out of your adventure. They are the perfect platform to start your adventurous streak.