November 2, 2017 Sydney, Australia - Bondi couple, Justin and Lauren Jones, who swapped city life for an Outback adventure with their baby in July, have completed their epic walk across the country and return home to Sydney on Thursday.
The trio, who will have travelled 1800km (1600km on foot) over 102 days, began their trek in the remote Indigenous community of Kaltukatjara in the Northern Territory, before walking to Docker River, Yulara, Kulgera and Aputula, then onto Oodnadatta, William Creek, Marree, Beltana and Parachilna in South Australia.
‘The Jonesys’, as they’re affectionately known, arrived in Port Augusta on Wednesday (pictured) – their final stop before they fly home to Sydney on Thursday.
Justin and Lauren are modern day adventurers who believe you shouldn’t have to choose between family life and an adventurous lifestyle. They want to challenge traditional conventions and prove that becoming a grown-up can still be fun.
Their three-month trek has seen them walk across some of Australia’s most rugged and remote land, as well as picturesque and historic landmarks such as the soaring rock domes of Kata Tjuta, the sandstone monolith Uluru, and salt lakes Lake Eyre and Lake Torrens – all with their one-year-old daughter in tow.
An acclaimed adventurer, Justin Jones was the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand and traverse Antarctica from the coast to the pole and back – both unsupported. His latest adventure, crossing Australia, is the longest expedition he’s ever done, and one of the most challenging.
“I’ve eaten over 100 flies, accidentally, so far,” says Justin, who’s hauled his family’s supplies through temperatures soaring above 41 degrees in the heat of the day, and sinking to -2 over night. He’s shed 25 kilos on the trek, with the heaviest cartload he’s pulled weighing in at 270kg.
“It’s been the trip of a lifetime,” he says. “Lauren and I spent our twenties chasing our love of travel and adventure. When we were starting our family, ‘settling down’ in the traditional sense of the word just didn’t appeal to us. We value experiences over possessions, have a love of travel and enjoy being outside.”
Lauren, who originally hails from Seattle, Washington, pulled baby Morgan along in her own custom-built cart the whole way, fulfilling her dream to bring her daughter up with a love of the outdoors and learning from the school of life.
“One of the biggest reasons we decided to do this expedition as a family is because we wanted to help build curiosity, resilience, strength and kindness in our daughter. And if we are honest, we wanted to boost these traits in ourselves as parents too,” she says.
It’s been no easy feat trekking across Australia’s centre, encountering snakes, lizards, emu, camels, brumbies, dingoes and countless flies – all with their one-year-old baby in tow. Following months of preparation, working out how to carry enough supplies to survive and thrive in the Aussie Outback, and how to cut back on food (and nappy) waste, the Jonesys’ have also drawn attention to sustainable living and humans’ impact on the world around them.
The littlest crewmember, baby Morgan, learnt to walk in the bush and has slept for a fifth of her life in the Outback. She’ll arrive back home with her environmental conscience in tow, having used 700 fully compostable nappies while out trekking.
The expedition was supported in part by outdoor apparel and equipment company The North Face, who have had a long-standing partnership with Justin Jones. “We value Justin and his family’s commitment to exploration, sustainability and to ‘settling down differently’,” says Lil Mercanti, The North Face communications manager. “We’re proud to support him in his expeditions that embody the spirit of exploration and inspire others – and their children – to get outdoors.”
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