Barry Hayes is a British adventurer, speaker and writer, initially most notable for crossing the Pacific Ocean in a rowing boat in 2014 as part of the world’s first human powered race across that ocean, but later for rowing across the Indian Ocean in 2018 in aid of Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.
Barry takes his adventures and experiences and draws parallels with everyday situations to inspire audiences worldwide and to raise awareness for his adopted charities.
Barry Hayes is 38 and lives in North Wales with his fiancé and stepson. At the age of seven his father took him up Mount Snowdon for the first time and his lust for adventure was ignited. Aged 14 Barry walked the length of Wales (176 miles) in nine days with his friend in order to raise enough money to travel to Africa to provide much needed aid to remote Tanzanian villages two years later. Whilst in Africa, at the age of 16 he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro the highest free standing mountain in the world.
Upon his return from Africa and unable to join the military due to his asthma and epilepsy, he spent six years struggling but ultimately completing his education before going down the path most travelled – getting an 8-5, getting a mortgage, settling down.
“I didn’t like it….not one bit. I like having a house and some security and an amazing family….but the concept of that being it for the rest of my life…that scared me more than I could imagine. I realised that I almost needed to be uncomfortable to be happy.”
Unhappy and discontent with the comforts of his first world life, and spurred on by his father’s near death experience, Barry became hyper aware of the opportunities around him and soon found himself in a bar in Dublin with a man who planned to enter the world’s first human powered race across the Pacific Ocean.
The two men spent 18 months working and training for a race that saw most entrants fail to make it across the ocean. Barry’s team did make it across though, in fact they beat the pre-existing world record by 19 days and they took home two new records.
Barry returned to the UK a different person
“…the row changed my outlook on life, I realised that I had gained enormous psychological strength. I realised I could do anything I put my mind to. I realised that everyone can do these things.”
Once Barry had recovered from this ‘reawakening’ he was asked to speak to people about his experiences. He was amazed to find that people really took something from his stories and it spurred him on to become a better speaker, and to continue with adventure as a means to broaden his mind and soul.
By all accounts Barry is a very normal person, adventurous, but an average office worker, delivering the mail in a bank for the past ten years. He now uses his adventures to excite and inspire audiences. Corporate audiences in particular respond exceptionally well due to the obvious parallels.