Meet Jacquie Tapsall, Founder of Hit The Road Jac and our February Explorer Of The Month. Jacquie is an inspiration-monger extraordinaire who loves to encourage people to get out and about in her native South East Queensland. The call of her camera has taken her on some pretty epic adventures and she doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon…
What’s your day job?
I’m currently working for an outdoor advertising company in Brisbane, dealing with media agencies in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. I coordinate everything to get their campaigns up and running on our digital and static billboards.
What got you involved/inspired in the outdoors in the first place?
I’ve always loved getting out and about, from going camping a couple of times a year with the family to water-skiing and snow skiing. Also, growing up, I worked on my grandparents’ farm each school holiday (riding around on dirt bikes was the perk!) and spent weekends doing nippers and swimming at King’s Beach, Caloundra.
As a kid though I thought there was nothing worse than climbing a mountain. I’d whinge the whole way when mum made us walk a track! What changed this for me, was when I got my first camera at age 21. Then I started to follow/discover photographers and was really inspired by their landscape and adventure shots. So, the camera made me fall in love with hiking and finding those secluded spots.
What continues to get you out the door to explore?
Finding those quintessential locations (which isn’t hard in Aus) that make me go, “Fuck, this is insane, I don’t want to leave!”
What’s an essential piece of outdoor gear you never adventure without (and why?)
Ah this one I’ve been pondering over a bit, but I keep coming back to my camera gear. Well that and food, but food isn’t considered gear…is it? I love food, especially snacks!
Where’s your favourite place to microadventure in Australia or NZ?
I really feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of Australia and every location I’ve explored so far has been amazing, each showcasing a unique beauty. One of my top picks though would be Stradbroke Island. I’ve been going there every year since I was a baby and absolutely love how you can have a whole beach to yourself!
Also, recently I discovered a walk-in campsite (Shelley Head campground) at Yuraygir NP which my mates and I had all to ourselves, along with the seas caves, cliffs and kilometres of beach. I could seriously just go live there for the rest of my life! If you find out I’ve gone “missing”, I’m probably hiding (aka living it up) there!
And what’s your favourite activity to sink your teeth into outdoors?
I love anything to do with water and waterfalls! Water skiing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, attempting to surf and swimming at awesome waterholes and waterfalls. I’m making it my mission to swim at a different waterhole/waterfall each weekend of summer.
What camera gear do you use?
I have my three essentials – Canon 7d, GoPro Hero 5 and DJI Mavic Pro. Along with ND (neutral-density) filters for both my Canon and Mavic, tripod (sometimes) and extra SD cards and batteries. The three essentials go on every adventure with me and are worth every extra gram added to my pack!
Have you had any disasters on any of your trips? What happened?
Disaster: in my family we call it character building.
Growing up camping every year at Straddie with my parents and brother, we seemed to always have a disaster of some kind…sorry, I mean to say “character building activity”.
From trailer towbars snapping off while driving over a sand dune, to towing a broken down 4WD with a 10m towing strap off Stradbroke Island, onto the barge and then through Brisbane peak hour traffic. There’s always a “character building” event being thrown at us. But hey, it just makes for some good stories later!
Since getting into the hiking scene I think the only disaster really was my first ever overnight hike, which was up Bartle Frere. I decided the only thing I needed to use to sleep for the night was a sheet. Yes, a bed sheet. Being summer and all, I thought I’d be fine. But the temperature dropped a butt load and I was freezing, then the midges hit at about 9.00pm for a couple of hours and there was so much moisture in the air from being up in the clouds, the sheet was pretty darn useless.
All of this was self-inflicted though. My naïve and dumb pre-packing thought process got the better of me. Thankfully my friend had a little tarp and took pity on me. I’ve since stocked up on gear and possibly gained some smarts.*
Why did you get involved in the Explorer Project?
A few years ago, I noticed there wasn’t any easy information on hikes around South East QLD, so I started my own page in attempt to help fix that. Henry approached me to write for We Are Explorers and because I was already following the juicy content from WAE, I jumped on it! I hope I’ve inspired people to go to locations I’ve written about, just as much as others from the Explorer Project have inspired me.
What are you most digging about the Explorer Project?
I love the community vibe! People sharing awesome places they’ve come across, encouraging everyone to get out and explore. Everyone’s so quick to help you out with extra information on a location or just any questions you have.
I’ve met a lot of awesome people so far, who are all legends in their own right. But even the people I haven’t met in person, but talked to through Facebook, feel like old friends. Also, the talent of the photographers and videographers We Are Explorers share is insane and inspires me and my photography every day.
What advice do you have for others living (or looking to live) an outdoor lifestyle?
For those that want to live an outdoor lifestyle, just go and don’t look back. You don’t have to be the person that fits the “adventurer mould”, have all the gear or brand name stuff. Just put on your joggers (which I did for my first 3 years), do a bit of research on where you want to adventure, then just go. It’s so easy to explore our amazing backyard and there are endless choices close to home or far away, easy or hard.
For those already living one, awesome – “You go, Glen Coco!” Share your adventures with everyone and anyone. Convince your friends who aren’t hooked to join you and enjoy the outdoors together. My most cherished memories are with friends camping, hiking or adventuring.
Where are you off to next?
During February I’m off to New Zealand South Island for 2 weeks, for my brother’s wedding. I’ll be jam-packing as many hikes in there as possible!
I’ve got a big one in the works though. I’ll be taking some time off near the end of the year to explore Iceland and Canada. Also, last time I saw Henry he convinced me (whether he knows it or not) to cycle from Canada to Mexico, which I’ll probably do solo, because I doubt any of my friends would be keen/mad enough to join me. Much to my family’s worry and disapproval, I’m 100% keen to make this happen.
I want to have at least one epic, spine tingling adventure in my lifetime so I can say, “Hey I didn’t just do the norm, the 9-5, I got out there did something completely out of my comfort zone”. I also want to do it to show women we don’t have to be afraid to involve ourselves in something epic and risky.
Read some of our favourite microadventures by Jacquie…