Meet the wanderlusters who are making us envious

While you’re waist-deep in the exam period, two full-time explorers, Justin Jones and Henry Brydon are trekking around the world in search of adventure.

We chatted to them about their epic expeditions, from Justin’s trek to Antarctica to Henry’s two-year journey by bike from London to Sydney. Be prepared to catch a serious dose of travel-envy that even your favourite Instagram accounts couldn’t dream of cooking up.

Justin Jones – Professional Adventurer

Adrenalin chaser Justin Jones braved 100km/h winds and 10 metre waves while traversing the Tasman Sea by kayak – a trip that took over three years of meticulous planning.

Justin is a true experience junkie who’s famous for embarking on the first-ever unsupported trek to Antarctica from the South Pole. He was the first of a two man team to complete the 2275km ski in over 100 years of polar exploration.

Sixteen months before his epic Antarctic ski trip, Justin had never even put on a pair of skis. But when asked about the most challenging moment of all his escapades, he spoke about his Tasman Sea expedition, admitting that his claustrophobia made parts of the journey “hellish”.

[quote]Every day that you learn a new skill is a day spent well.[/quote]

But the gains outweigh the split moments of intense fear, according to Justin, who said travelling is all about the mindset.

“Too often in life as human beings we say we can’t do certain things or we listen to other people who try and limit us. These expeditions have kind of taught me to look beyond that,” Justin said.

His advice for those of us who view travelling the world for a living as a pipedream is: “Don’t be afraid to dream big, don’t be afraid to go out there and challenge yourself. It’s very easy to walk a path you’ve done so many times, but you’re not going to grow as a human being. Every day that you learn a new skill is a day spent well.”

Henry Brydon – Founder of We Are Explorers

Henry was only 24 when he decided to get on his bike and peddle to the Land Down Under from London – a gruelling two year journey.

Disillusioned by the nine to five corporate world, he quit his dreary office job to ride around the world, living on a $5 a day and camping each night in a tent. After travelling 60-70km through Europe, Henry made way for the Middle East, cycling through Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

“It was the place we were most intimidated by, but it was the most rewarding. It was the biggest adventure of the trip because it’s somewhere where, generally speaking, you’re advised not to go. We were just overwhelmed by the generosity of the people there, especially in Syria,” Henry said.

Henry’s a thrill seeker who turns adventure blisters into exciting stories which he calls “misadventures”. One recent misadventure was his venture to the Kowmung River near the Blue Mountains where a planned two-hour trek took ten hours, leaving the goal of catching and cooking dinner from the river falling flat. Instead, a steep mountain decant resulted in bruises and scratches when Henry bush bashed through towering shrubs before a storm hit.

[quote]…you don’t have to go overseas to have an adventure. Explore your backyard a little bit more because there’s a hell of a lot of hidden gems out there.[/quote]

Henry set up camp in Australia where he launched his adventure website, We Are Explorers, after finding that the information available “(Wasn’t) very inspiring for someone in their 20s or 30s looking to get really excited about stuff you could do close to home in Australia”.

Much to our broke student delight, Henry’s site focuses on ‘microadventures’, echoing the mantra of affordable, accessible weekend trips. “The message behind We Are Explorers is that you don’t have to go overseas to have an adventure. Explore your backyard a little bit more because there’s a hell of a lot of hidden gems out there. The national parks we have in Australia are insane and I’m still hearing of places, two years into this, that I’ve never heard of before,” Henry said.

Follow Henry’s travels at the We Are Explorers website, Instagram and Facebook. Also keep updated with Justin’s adventures at his website, Instagram and Facebook.

Eden Gillespie

Eden Gillespie is an International Studies and Media Student at UNSW with a love for breakfast bagels and Louis Theroux.

Feature image: We Are Explorers official Facebook page