• ‘The key to 99 percent of success’

    James Castrission knows the meaning of cold – real, bone-deep cold.

    In 2021, the Australian made history by completing the longest unsupported polar expedition along with fellow adventurer Justin Jones, trekking from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back.

    It was a gruelling 89 days, as they skied a total of 2,275 kilometres.

    “One hundred percent, I felt like the only person on the planet, it was the most isolated and alone I’ve ever felt in my life; the isolation and the cold was extraordinary,” James said.

    “But it was an adventure to see what was possible.

    “It was really cool to have an idea and to spend years of time dedicated to planning, unpacking everything and going into the unknown, just putting all those puzzle pieces together.”

    James will be sharing details of his polar expedition, as well as his 2008 adventure with Jones paddling more than 3,300km across the Tasman Sea in a kayak, at the APHA 40th National Congress in late March.

    “I’m looking forward to talking about my adventures and the kind of planning that went into them,” he said.

    “Success comes from planning – I’d say 99 percent of your success is based on planning. And I will also be talking about what happens when things don’t go to plan.

    “We focus so much on talent but really at the end of the day, it’s planning and it’s your mindset that get you to where you want to be. 

    “That helps you to push through and continue on the journey; it’s about resilience and grit.”

    James said healthcare workers around the world had proven their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “The mental fortitude we see in our health workers is amazing, particularly during the past few years. 

    “A big part of what I talk about is that we can achieve so much together, better than alone,” he said. 

    “And I think the past few years is a great example of that – you know, the world was forced into isolation through external circumstances, and how we worked out how to come together and work together through that.”

    These days with a young family, James said his adventures were “on the smaller scale”.

    “I do enjoy doing ironman triathlons, and we like to go four-wheel driving as a family,” he said.

    “Also, I’m lucky enough to run a business where I get to take corporate teams out on adventures to help them build their capabilities.

    “I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone at the APHA Congress.”

    • James Castrission will deliver the closing keynote speech at 2.30pm on Wednesday 29 March 2023.

    Read more: APHA 40th National Congress set to tackle big healthcare issues