With 2017 done and dusted, it feels like a suitable time to reflect on what the last 12 months have served us up here at We Are Explorers. Thanks 2017, for being a champ!
Sat here in the metaphorical cockpit, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sometimes feel like I was flying by the seat of my pants. But I suppose that feeling comes when you navigate head on into uncharted territory; when you decide to tackle something powerful enough to ignite a series of events that spits you out somewhere you didn’t even know existed before you took that first baby step.
It’s quite humbling then, to just pause.
And then take a step back to actually reflect on where we’ve got to on our journey, what we’ve achieved as an online publisher and as a widening adventure brand whose driving mission is to spread the unrivaled power and spine tingling excitement of the outdoors.
We formed a bobsled team.
Our success this year is thanks to three heroic homo sapiens who joined me in the explorer bobsled. Ellie (Digital & Community Manager), Tim (Editor) and Rachel (Social Media & Editorial Assistant) have together propelled our readership and engagement whilst transforming the way we do pretty much everything!
What’s more, we have a bloody good time doing it. I’m proud to say that we’re a pretty darn slick operation these days, which comes as a welcome change to flying solo with a digital desk awash with scribbled notes, half-completed to-do lists and a mountain of (cloud based) paperwork.
Note to self: I’ve just realised that I need to purchase 4 brightly coloured matching skin tight bobsled body suits for our next team meeting.
Did you know we’re professional tinkerers?
Like a mad professor in a laboratory, we love to experiment. We tinkered with a lot of new concepts in 2017 and we tried and tested plenty of new things, online and offline.
Not everything worked (we’re only human right?), but most actually did and it’s this continual pushing of fresh ideas that really puts the fire in my belly.
A few personal highlights include:
We produced a series of weekend events around Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne that brought together like-minded escapists for two day adventure experiences in some of the country’s most spectacular locations.
From navigation courses and photography workshops to canoe trips and surf adventures, we’ve had over 100 people join our trips and we’re positively giddy about 2018’s Escapes…
Adventure Tales Was born
We launched bi-monthly talk nights in a inner city Sydney warehouse that mixes adventure storytelling and free beer with like-minded frothers in an almighty cauldron of awesomeness.
The collaboration is alongside Emma (She Went Wild), Ollie (Borja) and Brendan (Bear Rentals) with all profits going to People Outdoors, a wonderful initiative that gets disadvantaged kids in the wild.
2017 also saw the launch of the Explorer Studios. Thanks to our burgeoning network of creatives across the region we now partner with tourism boards and adventure brands who we believe sing front the same hymn sheet and have a genuine desire to encourage a life spent in the great outdoors.
We’ve launched canoe trails for The Clarence Valley, promoted Red Centre road trips for Tourism NT, campaigns for Visit Shoalhaven and a rad new project with Tasmania’s Northwest region. In terms of outdoor brands we’ve launched new products with The North Face and Merrell, run adventure grants with Osprey and various campaigns with BMW, Kathmandu and Leatherman to name a few.
We Made A Ski Film
In our quest to create content that rattles the soul, we found ourselves traipsing deep into the Aussie backcountry with a pro skier to discover what fuels his fire.
Whilst building the snow wall for our tents a hellish blizzard rolled in as darkness also took hold and I remember thinking “fuck it’s cold”, quickly followed by “this is exactly the kind of berserk situation I want to be in”.
We funded the film through 5 brands and are beyond proud of the result. Did you watch it?
The Community Gets Stronger
Our community is at the root of everything at We Are Explorers and it’s been our core intention from the very start to maintain a sense inclusiveness and accessibility in absolutely everything we do.
Whilst our Facebook page is our main outlet for content (here’s how you can never miss our posts by the way) it’s not ideal for igniting conversations, so we kicked off our Facebook groups this year for every state and territory in the country, which are fast becoming red-hot forums for adventure advice-sharing and meet-ups.
The Explorer Project flourished this year, with our army of adventurers sniffing out the greatest experiences in the country and are rad enough to share with us what they found. We’ve really rewarded our Explorers this year too, from free gear and event tickets to paid client work, exclusive meets ups and all sorts of other sweet opportunities.
Closer To Home
It’s also been a whopper of a year for me personally. A mini-adventurer joined the party in February and he’s already in training as a field scout.
My little boy goes by the name Jet Blaze (I’m not even joking) and you’ll be pleased to know he was camping at 6 weeks old. We hit the eject button on Sydney a few months after Jet was born and now we’re experimenting with cabin-life in a rainforest west of Byron Bay; a challenging but magical experience in a slice of Australian paradise.
I’m grabbing hold of the life reins and pursuing what I’m passionate about, and that feels good.
Anything else then?!
Well, we’ve printed limited edition fair-trade tee’s with local Sydney artist Scotty Williams, volunteered on a 10 day Wilderness Therapy course with Human Nature and taken Capital Beer prize winners on a multi day coastal adventure to drink a shit-tonne of Trail Pale Ale. This year has been rife with randomness and we’ve drained every last drop from it.
So what’s next? What are our ambitions for 2018?
To be honest we’re still figuring that out ourselves, but let’s just say there are already some drunken scribbles on the back of beer coasters. They don’t make a great deal of sense but if I’ve deciphered them correctly and we follow through, 2018 is set to be a wild adventure.
Thanks for reading and for all your support over the last 12 months. Here’s to the next 12!
Check out our most popular pieces from 2017!
Top 5 Hikes Near Sydney