Young couple complete outback adventure with child in tow
JUSTIN JONES, a recipient of Australian Geographic’s Spirit of Adventure award, and his wife Lauren and their small child arrived home yesterday from their epic three month journey, proving that you don’t have to choose between family life and adventure.
The trio travelled 1800 km — 1600 km of that length on foot — beginning in Kaltukatjara in the Northern Territory , then travelling through Docker River, Yulara, Kulgera and Aputula, then onto Oodnadatta, William Creek, Marree, Beltana and Parachilna in South Australia.
Despite what must have been a harrowing journey, the family managed to take in a number of historic sites along the way, including Uluru and the salt lakes of Lake Eyre.
Justin says this has been the longest, but most rewarding expedition he’s ever done.
(Image Credit: @followthejonesys)
“Lauren and I spent our twenties chasing our love of travel and adventure. When we were starting our family, ‘settling down’ in the traditional sense of the word just didn’t appeal to us. We value experiences over possessions, have a love of travel and enjoy being outside.”
The couple managed to pull their child Morgan through the outback in a custom-built cart for the entire trip, during which she learnt to walk and used approximately 700 fully compostable nappies.
“One of the biggest reasons we decided to do this expedition as a family is because we wanted to help build curiosity, resilience, strength and kindness in our daughter. And if we are honest, we wanted to boost these traits in ourselves as parents too,” said Lauren.
The couple hauled their supplies across the outback through the searing heat, and had to survive in freezing cold temperatures at night.
But Justin is no stranger to perilous conditions. Back in 2012 Justin and his friend James Castrission received the Spirit of Adventure award for skiing a grueling 2275km across Antarctica, joining Norwegian Aleksander Gamme to be the first to travel unsupported from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back on foot.
It was a trek that had been attempted and abandoned by famed adventurers Jon Muir, Peter Hillary and Eric Phillips in 1998. Pulling loads that started at 160kg, and bearing temperatures as cold as -40ºC, the pair battled frostbite, injury, whiteouts, crevasses, gear failure and the loss of a combined body weight of 55kg over the 89-day expedition.
Before that, the pair completed their world-first 3318km unassisted paddle across the Tasman Sea, which earned the two guys the title of Young Adventurers of the year in 2008.