Tackling enormous paddling expeditions is not new for Freya Hoffmeister. The German kayaker is well-known in the paddling world for circumnavigations of Iceland, Australia, South America and Ireland.

Hoffmeister has recently announced that she will attempt to circumnavigate North America, a 30,000 mile journey that she estimates will take eight to 10 years to complete. Hoffmeister plans to begin in March of this year, and the staggeringly long paddling trip will be attempted in two half loops, beginning twice in Seattle and finishing twice in New York City. She will kayak north half of the year and south the other half.

The unprecedented trip will be mostly paddled solo. We caught up with the inspiring adventurer whose motto is “never start stopping, never stop starting” from her home in Germany to learn a bit more about her.

Woman in sea kayak raising paddle above her head.
Never start stopping; never stop starting. | Photo: courtesy of Freya Hoffmeister

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Freya Hoffmeister

1. Setting big goals keeps her focused and allows her to know where she is going to be in the future.

2. One of the hardest things about planning an epic journey? Sitting at a desk all day and not paddling.

3. She feels great on the first day of a huge journey, as if her last one is just continuing.

4. Transitions are par for the course. Hoffmeister slides easily back into her life at home.

5. Many long distance paddlers look to Hoffmeister as an inspiration. Who inspires her? She inspires herself every day.

6. She considers logistics, organization and mental strength to be the keys to a successful expedition.

7. Her e-reader is a crucial item she brings with her. What will be loaded on it for her North American circumnavigation? Adventure books, biographies and other pleasant reads that help her brain relax.

8. She advises those who want to plan big paddling adventures but are intimidated to start small, just like she did. Hoffmeister suggests paddling whatever is close you, choose great partners and then work up to solo missions.

9. On her upcoming journey she is most looking forward to the unique landscapes and animals—and is a little apprehensive about bears.

Never start stopping; never stop starting. | Photo: courtesy of Freya Hoffmeister


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