We Are Explorers started as a passion project and hastily developed into more of a hell-bent-dedication-to-creating-something-meaningful-and-useful-for-others kind of a project.
Spreading the excitement and power of outdoor adventure became my mission and it became clear quite quickly that the notion of weekend adventuring chimed loud and clear with a throng of people around Australia. This underlying motivation feeds everything we do at WAE.
Ellie joined me in November 2016 as our Digital and Community Manager and to say that she has helped transform the business is like saying that Schapelle Corby isn’t an efficient bag-packer.
Fast forward 6 months and I’m beyond excited to say that two now becomes three with the addition of Tim Ashelford as our Contributing Editor. He’s king of the quip; a mountain dirt bag who eats Cliff bars for breakfast to fuel his creativity and simply oozes everything that this community stands for. Introducing Tim…
What were you doing prior to joining We Are Explorers?
I was managing an outdoor store in Chatswood called Adventure Megastore, it wasn’t that mega, but it was heaps of fun.
What will your role involve with WAE?
As a contributing editor i’ve got a few things going on:
- Editing the juicy content our explorers send in (and struggling to stay at my desk after reading it!)
- Wearing knitted jumpers (Ideally with patches on the elbows).
- Checking out extraordinary new places, sweet new gear and inspiring new people in the Australia/New Zealand outdoor scene. Aiming for the trifecta.
- Musing alone atop of windsweapt peaks.
- Drinking lots of coffee
- Probably heaps of emails
What would be your dream adventure weekend?
I’m never able to settle on one sport. I’m currently living in an apartment with my girlfriend, 2 surfboards, a road bike, a mountain bike, a bouldering mat, Tom and a heap of skateboards. So my dream weekend would be all about setting up a base camp to act as a launchpad for exploits.
There are spots like this all over Australia, especially when mountains are involved. I’m currently super stoked on Mt Buffalo in Victoria, I reckon that’s the next stop for the Banter Bus (my long suffering Subaru Forester).
You’re a bit of a gear nut – if you were to banished to the wild, what 5 items would you take with you?
- Leatherman – I only use my Leatherman on adventures, but I always use my Leatherman on adventures. When I’m in the bush I put it in the same pocket that I use for my phone in the city. Symbolic as.
- Kathmandu Exmoor Jacket – I picked up this softshell-hoody-thing before a backpacking trip in South America. It always keeps me the right temperature, takes a beating and looks pretty schmick. I’m going to wear it until it literally falls off my back.
- Thongs – “What is double plugged may never die.”
- Mont Helium 450 Sleeping Bag – Down sleeping bags give you the kind of cuddle a synthetic never could. It’s like being hugged by a warm, dry, cloud. If you’re adventuring regularly they’re worth every cent. Mont are a hardcore Aussie brand who know exactly what they’re doing.
- GSI Mini Expresso Maker [sic] – Hopefully i’ve been banished to a place where coffee grows in the wild. If you happen to see a dude holding up a rural coffee shop with a Leatherman, dressed in nothing but a hoody and thongs, it definitely wasn’t me.
You’re someone who has grown up being surrounded by adventure and the outdoors. Where have been some of your favourite or most memorable places or experiences?
My parents hated tourist traps, and loved country driving. We drove throughout the south of Western Australia, up to Noosa from Sydney and even around Uluru. Often we’d get hectically lost, but my parents would just call this a “pudding” (you know, from Winnie the Pooh) – in other words, an unplanned adventure.
Those unplanned adventures always ended up being the best. When I headed over to South America at age 21, having never left the country, I took the same attitude. We called it the No Chumps Tour: we caught local buses, self-guided multi-day hikes and eavesdropped on fancy tour guides whilst crouched behind low brick walls.
Hiking around Torres Del Paine and Mt Fitzroy in Patagonia was absolutely mind-blowing, but it also taught me that the Aussie bush was world class. I feel like i’ve barely scratched the surface of Kanangra-Boyd and The Budawangs National Parks, two recent favourites.
What are some of the things we should expect to see with the editorial direction with you at the helm?
I want to look at not just where to explore, but “how?”, and “why?”. There are thousands of people out there undertaking uniquely Australian adventures, I want to make their voices heard. Hell, we’re a bloody continent, there’s still a lot of work to do. We Are Explorers is a community as much as it’s a blog, and I want to help that community connect, inspire and educate itself – while not taking things too seriously.
Favourite adventure film?
I recently saw Fledglings – a half hour film that follows pro climbers Matt Segal and Cedar Wright’s journey into the world of paragliding, and subsequent attempt to launch off a volcano. It humanised these really hardcore dudes and opened a window into their mindset.
What are you most excited about now that you’re in the WAE team?
I feel stoked to the bone every time someone says that WAE inspired their trip, or even just got them outdoors. I’m excited to see the microadventure map spread like a righteous plague across Australia.
We’re at a pretty unique point in history right now; nature and technology are more intertwined than ever before, while at the same time I feel that the burden of social media is strengthening the call of the wild places.
I’m aware of the irony of running a blog about going outdoors. But that’s the world we live in, and i’m pretty psyched to take it on.