From solo bikepacking trips, a stint in Peru, and driving Australia’s South West in a campervan with his family – We Are Explorers founder Henry Brydon says the key to staying adventurous with kids is never stopping in the first place. Oh, and a super supportive partner of course (thanks Susi!).


Tell us a little about you, and how you became an Explorer?

I’m a pretty normal man-child from the UK, currently calling the paradise of Northern NSW home. Life was relatively straightforward for my first quarter century, but then my desire to escape the ordinary finally got the better of me. I could feel it bubbling up inside me for a few years, starting as a gentle whisper but growing eventually into a ferocious, shoulder-grabbing mind shake.

‘Do something with your life, you twat!’

I just couldn’t ignore it any longer. It was time to throw caution to the headwind and do something different. What’s the worst that could happen?



So in 2010 I bought a bicycle and rode 38,000km for two years through 30 countries to Australia. It was a proper slog to be fair, but the experience opened my eyes to the magnificence of our planet and its people. It also revealed the power within me to go against the grain and create the life I want to live; a life of adventure.

How did I become an Explorer? I think the question we should be asking ourselves is when did we stop being Explorers?


We’re hard-wired from birth to be Explorers. Curiosity is what helps us make sense of the world around us. We learned how to crawl to get from the lounge to the kitchen. We learned to climb a tree to discover what being up high feels like (turns out it feels great).

We experimented with different foods to come to the realisation that brussel sprouts really do taste like turd. We got our license as soon as we could and started exploring our surroundings on wheels instead of our feet.



Exploring is what gives us new skills, confidence, and memories. The trick is holding onto that for as long as possible before the pressures of adulthood dampen all the fun.


You have two beautiful kids who seem more at home barefoot than in shoes – how do you raise adventurous children?

They’re beautiful about 53% of the time, but thank you for the kind words.

The trick for us has been giving them the opportunity to be adventurous. Susi and I have spent as much time with the kids outdoors as possible.

We moved to a cabin in the rainforest shortly after Jet was born. We hang out with friends who also share our nature-centric philosophy. We hike and camp, go on random roadtrips to faraway towns, stay in weird and wonderful places, travel overseas, teach them to climb, paddle canoes down remote rivers, undertake strange adventure challenges together…



As parents, we have the ability at this deeply formative stage of their lives to guide them – through action rather than just words. Our way of life has normalised adventure for the kids.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s really fucking hard when they’re young and often it’s more work than fun in the early years. The trick is persevering because there are always glimmers of hope and when it’s good, it’s really, really good.

Start small – raising adventurous kids doesn’t mean they have to sleep on a portaledge hanging off Half Dome.

You can cultivate a curious, adventurous mindset much closer to home – camp on the nearest hill, go fishing in a local river, give geocaching a go, or hire a campervan and throw caution to the wind.

Going too big too soon could scare them off so aim to finish each adventure with some excitement for the next one.



How do you find the balance between family and adventure?

The two aren’t mutually exclusive, therefore I’m not sure balance exists!

Some of my favourite adventures have been with my family, but I also love getting outdoors with other people too! Adventure has become such a big part of my life, it’s actually how I connect and build meaningful relationships with all the people I’m closest to.

Family and adventure are interwoven but it’s important to know when to pull the different adventure levers.

If I look back on the last few months I’ve been packrafting with mates down the Snowy River, driven Australia’s South West edge in an epic Star RV motorhome with my family, kayaked and camped on tropical islands with my work colleagues in Queensland, gone solo bikepacking through Northern NSW, and I just got back from a hiking trip with strangers in Peru.



Each adventure has been valid and important in its own unique way. And it’s important to remember the incredible things in your own backyard, and that a drive to a new town for fish and chips can be just as freeing as a week-long hike.


What lessons and values have you instilled in your children that you think have helped shape them?

Back in 2020 I started the We Are Explorers Podcast (alongside approximately 1 billion other people at the onset of a global pandemic). My first guest was the Aussie adventurer Justin Jones who, as a father of young children, shared how he and his family had collated a list of values that shaped their lives and decision making. I loved the idea and wanted to do something similar.



It took a bit longer than expected but a few weeks ago we finally sat down as a family and wrote the ‘Brydon Manifesto’; a set of guiding principles that we all contributed to and collectively agreed upon.

Amongst some out-there contributions involving ‘eat more chocolate’ and ‘lots of iPad time’, there was some absolute gold in there. The manifesto now takes pride and place on the fridge.

Be kind. Be honest. Talk about how we feel. Many of them are very simple in theory, but not always in practice. They’re ways we have parented from when the kids first reared their beautiful embryonic heads and they’ll hopefully carry the principles right the way through life.



My favourite one though is to live adventurously. This isn’t just about going out into the wilderness either, it’s about being brave; not being afraid to take alternative paths in life that are out-of-the-ordinary and uncomfortable. As through that process we grow, we learn, and we have a good yarn to share afterwards!


Family adventures can be stressful, do you have any favourite places or standout trips that highlight the special nature of adventuring with children?

Three years ago I bought a second hand Canadian canoe and it changed the game. The idea that you can throw a lot of stuff in it without having to consider each gram was highly appealing, especially when you account for the additional items required with small children involved.

Living in the Northern Rivers, waterways are in no short supply, offering a bountiful playground for canoe-camping adventures. There’s one particular place I loved so much that I organised a ‘Dadventure’ with several other fathers where we paddled our little ones there for a weekend of fishing, campfires, and cave exploring.



To be out in nature with your mates, kids in their element, all embracing this beautiful stage of our lives as we attempt to be the best dads we can be. It’s often hard, it certainly ain’t pretty, but it’s times like that where it just feels mighty good to be giving it a go.

But you don’t have to take two years out of your life to bike across the world, or plan crazy adventures – you can do something far more local, far more accessible and still feel that spirit of really big adventure.

One of the easiest ways to explore our country is by hitting the road.

The pure freedom that you have when you’re on the road is quite hard to replicate but being able to bring along these individuals that you’ve been lucky enough to bring into the world yourself on these adventures, doing things you absolutely love, and bringing them along for the drive, is a pretty special feeling.


It’s Time to Live Adventurously

If there’s one thing you can take away from Henry’s story, it’s that adventure can come in many forms. While he’s certainly undertaken many crazy, life-changing trips, he’s also embraced an ethos to cherish the everyday adventures a little closer to home.



And in doing so, he’s found a balance that not only allows him to live his best Explorer life but also raise children who are brave, curious, and comfortable being uncomfortable.

Whether you have a family of your own or not, we reckon there’s a thing or two to be learnt from the Brydon family manifesto.