A few weeks ago I posted a job ad. I was looking for a certain someone to become We Are Explorer’s first official recruit; someone to work alongside me in realising my dream for this company.

I was actually blown away by the response from the community, such creative and excited applications from genuine weekend warriors with an arsenal of skills. After interviewing a handful of awesome people though I’ve picked someone who I’m seriously excited to bring on board.

Poor girl, she now has to put up with me and my mid-afternoon drum and bass sessions.

We asked her nine questions so you can get to know her a little (some sensible, and some utterly stupid). Ladies and gents, introducing Ellie Keft….

Would you rather use sandpaper for toilet paper OR vinegar for eye drops?

Definitely vinegar for eyedrops- my Nan used to use vinegar to cure everything and I don’t see why it couldn’t work miracles for a dry eye as well.

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?

I believe that enjoyment is dependent on one’s mental state. So for me, my childhood and teenage years were the most peaceful and carefree times of my life. We had this awesome outdoor education program at our school led by our cheeky teacher Phil. I have traveled the world and seen some of the most amazing feats that nature has to offer. But to this day, the camaraderie and immense freedom of being a teenager with a bunch of mates in the Australian bush has never been repeated. I’m not going to say it won’t happen again in the future but for now, I’ll be content with the hazy nostalgia that comes with reminiscing about those golden times.

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What drew to you applying for a job with WAE?

The position landed in my inbox at the most opportune moment. The past 8 years of my life had been spent throwing myself almost maniacally into anything and everything that presented itself to me; personal and professional, in studying, traveling, volunteering and working. I worked so hard but never really knew why or where I was going.

One day I met up with a good friend for coffee who leads a Marketing team at a non-profit in Sydney because I’d been having these existential crises going ‘what am I doing with my liiife?!’ I felt like I was Alice falling down the rabbit hole, floating past the good, the bad and the ugly with no coherent narrative.

When my friend told me that all my experience and strengths up until this moment pointed towards a career in Digital Marketing, storytelling and/or visual communication, a mini-epiphany led me to do everything I could to fill in my gaps of knowledge and experience with a bunch of voluntary projects and self-education courses.

Enter WAE, in the middle of that process.

Not only did this role provide an opportunity to continue that learning process, WAE articles were also something that I’m extremely passionate about: adventure. I’ve hiked with my family since I was a tiny human- we’d be carrying these hiking packs one-third of our size and when we fell over we’d be like these beached turtles, trying (and failing) to get up while our dad laughed and took photos! I’d left high school in search of adventure too; hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal; teaching adventure programs for kids in U.S.A. for a year; chasing snow in Canada for 4 months; climbing Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala and Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; “tramping” the 12 day remote Northwest Circuit on Stewart Island as well as the epic Routeburn Track on the South Island in NZ; as well as spending my weekends adventuring across NSW, in the Southern Highlands where I grew up, the Northern Beaches where my grandparents always lived, and on various Blue Mountains or South Coast crusades when I could fit it in.

So applying for the position was a no-brainer and I really had nothing to lose.

Would you rather Run at 100 mph or fly at ten mph?

I think I was a bird in a past life. So fly. For sure. But is ten mph slow?

What’s the one piece of gear you’d never leave the house without for an escape to the wild?

Betadine- it’s the best and cheapest water purifier you’ll find! Also doubles as antiseptic for bites and grazes, a sore throat gargle too- I swear by it!

Be really hairy all over your body and not be able to shave OR not have one hair anywhere?

Oh embrace the hairiness! Honestly, if the cultural expectation of hairless women didn’t exist, imagine the insecurity we would be spared! Not to mention the time we would save- and showers would be shorter! Also, not having one hair anywhere would make me feel like I was some slimy Star Trek alien.

What’s the last book you read?

I’m reading Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie at the moment. It’s about India’s road to independence from British Colonialism as well as the partition of British India into India and Pakistan. Rushdie is cheeky and subtly crude at times and I frequently find myself re-reading sentences to ascertain whether or not he is making a joke or is serious.

So you’re stranded in a tent during a biblical week-long mega storm. You can choose anyone (dead or alive) to be your roomie. Who and why?

Do they have to be a real person? Also, how big is this tent? I think Gandalf would be great company, but only if it was at least an 8 person tent. Similarly, the Buddha would need ample space. If it was a small tent, I think perhaps a normal-sized person like J-Law because she’s a babe.

Finally, what are you most looking forward to about working with WAE?

Spreading my wings with a large and engaged community excites me. When people are united by passion, processes move organically and don’t need the same kind of labour-intensive keyboard bashing that some professions have. WAE attracts people who need constant stimulation in the form of outdoor adventure and are voraciously consuming all available info. I’m excited to contribute to that database and find new ways to share WAE’s wealth of resources with everybody, whilst continuing to push people out the door to experience what are quite literally some of the most amazing wilderness gems you will ever experience.

I’m beyond psyched to have Ellie on board. Here’s to the next chapter!