Tag Archives: Inspired Adventures

Travelling Alone: how & why it can be inspiring

Many of us long to be free, to be liberated and embrace life in the most fulfilling way. But many get stuck on how to do so. They lack the courage to push themselves in doing what’s best for them.

Well if you have restless feet and crave the chance to wander around this magnificent planet; adventuring out alone and embracing a life of discovery might give you the ultimate freedom that you desire.

Solo travel means that every decision you make is for you, you do what you want, you go where you want, you eat what you want. As you discover each new place, you learn more about what you like. The ability for you to experience infinite possibilities gives you the chance to meet yourself. Your real self.

People have said that traveling alone reveals to themselves what they’re really like. This is so unbelievably true. It brings out the real you. You’ll learn how to survive on your own, you’re more aware of everything around you, and in each day that goes by you become more independent. It’s an experience like no other, being alone as you become a globe-trotter is about as self-indulgent as it gets. It’s a truly inspiring journey that I suggest every person does at least once in their life.

A great adventure like this one is nothing without its fair share of challenges. At times you feel vulnerable and isolated, potentially homesick. But you will persevere, and the challenges you experience and the strength that comes about because of them pushes you to interact with those around you. It’s at this point where you most crave that meaningful connection in such a foreign setting, that you’ll come across some truly amazing individuals. You’ll meet like-minded travellers, eager to make that unique bond only shared between wandering souls.

When you travel with family or friends, it’s easy to hide behind what you find comfortable. You naturally rely on those around you and can be easily negotiated to doing what they want on occasion. Not that being comfortable is a bad thing, you’ll just find that your journey will be more inspiring and refreshing when you step outside your comfort zone.

There have been many courageous people to take the leap before you, to dive into the great big world and come out on the other side, a better, more cultured individual because of it. So we thought we’d share with you some inspiring solo travellers who’ve left us with that all consuming travel bug. Matt Kepnes, better known as Nomadic Matt, is a backpacker and solo travelling extraordinaire, who’s been travelling the world for over a decade. His blog and Instagram are renowned in the travelling world, and provides an amazingly unique insight into how to live an inspiring adventure filled life.

Then there’s Kristin Addis, creator of Be My Travel Muse, her platform shows her dedication to solo travel and showing others how to do it fearlessly. Her followers get a look into her colourful adventures through her blog, Instagram and beautifully montaged Youtube videos. Third and finally, we have Alice Teacake, of Teacake Travels, her quirky nature and bubbly outlook on life and pushing boundaries leaves something to be admired. Each photo she posts or blog post she writes are aimed at inspiring girl power and people’s belief in themselves to be able to adventure out alone.

The list could go on forever, there are so many inspiring people out there, that have conquered their fears of the unknown and become advocates for the nomadic life. And there’s something to be said on the growing number of people taking a chance on such a life changing journey.

“Solo travel is such a gift because it gives us all a chance to be totally selfish for a while..it’s taught me that I’m resourceful, braver than I thought, more capable than I imagined.”

–  Kristin Addis.

Not only does travelling alone open up your journey to limitless spontaneity, but it allows you to better appreciate your surroundings. You’ll find yourself passing the point of being scared of the solitude, and come out feeling remarkably strong. It’s an incredible moment, discovering that you are at ease with yourself and where you are. To be okay with whatever gets thrown at you because you’ve learned to acknowledge the happiness found through being one with yourself.

And when it’s all said and done, the truly inspiring people you’ve met, the colourful and unique places you’ve seen, and the accomplishment of sheer and utter freedom will leave you with the most memorable experiences that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

Travelling plastic free on your adventure

why plastic free is the way to go on your next adventure

Though it used to be considered a revolutionary material that was hailed for its ability to be reused, plastic has been doing more harm than good in the world for a while now. More and more discoveries are being made linking the use and disposal of this menacing material to the destruction of the environment and wildlife on this beautiful planet, almost getting to the point beyond repair.

So it’s time for the world to dump plastic for good – pun intended.

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time and it’s set to double by 2025. Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and other sea life, plus a million sea birds die each year due to waste and debris getting into waterways and oceans. Travellers, especially, should be mindful of their environmental footprint, as single use plastics are a big market for the person on the go, and many companies target that market.

So if these statistics strike a chord in your heart, never fear, because even as a traveller, there are plenty of ways you can help out the environment through cutting out plastic. Besides, waste-free travel is so in right now.

As daunting as it may appear at first glance, it’s not as hard as you think to balance your love of travel, with attempting to do right by the planet. Many people view cutting out plastic as too difficult, they view it as ‘losing something’ that brings convenience into their lives. But I implore you to look beyond such shallow notions, and don’t think of it as losing something, but simply swapping for something better.

Taking on this beautifully eco friendly task means reusable travel items will become your new best friend. Napkins, eco-bags, other reusable containers & bottles will become vital to you as you’re trotting the globe. Refillable toiletries will ensure you don’t buy plastic bottles, or bring them with you and then toss them when your done. Not to mention tote bags cut out the need for plastic bags completely.

Another thing to think about is how much plastic is wasted when you eat on your travels? How many of you haven’t even stopped to think about this when you buy a snack, then toss the packaging once your belly is content. This is why I propose giving in to the awesomeness that is the mason jar! Avoid buying packaged snacks when these cool-looking glass jars can be used to keep all kinds of contents, plus they are known for their durability which is something you’re going to want in the hustle and bustle of travelling.

The concept of takeaway is detrimental for the environment due to the excess in which people use it. Ordering takeaway will almost ensure you end up with copious amounts of plastic containers and waste after you’ve devoured you’re meal. So maybe opt for the good old fashioned idea of staying in and cooking a meal, or if laziness kicks in as it does from time to time while travelling, take the opportunity to dine in a restaurant. You’ll get to enjoy a fresh, delicious meal, further immersing yourself in the country’s culture, while also doing good by the environment.

Immersing yourself in other cultures opens your eyes up to life outside that bubble that many people live within. It leads you to approach life with more gratitude for what you have and what’s truly important. Becoming a more conscious individual makes you more grateful for all the things you have, one being this beautiful planet. So learning about what actually happens out in the world should be as big of a push as any to start doing more for the environment, in order to sustain its beauty.

Once you get into the habit of travelling plastic free, it will become second nature to you. After joining the cause to keep this planet remaining prosperous, you’ll find it becoming an overwhelming need for you to continue such an important cause. It’s an unbelievably satisfying feeling when you can proudly say that you’ve gone plastic free while you wander the world.  

Eco-friendly bloggers/influencers:

Plastic free travelling/living is becoming a more highly sought after way of life as time goes on. Even large social media influencers have gotten on the bandwagon. Jennifer Nini, aka Eco Warrior Princess, has created her empire around redefining what it means to live sustainably, she tackles the hard issues surrounding the environment, conservation, sustainable fashion, basically all the core topics regarding living an eco-friendly life.

Others have followed suit as well, with The Green Hub founder, Kira Simpson creating an online platform on her ‘eco-journey’, giving out tips and showing her experiences in going green. She published an article on her website that documented her travels as a ‘Zero-waster’ and the benefits to travelling mindfully. She brings up a good point, in regards to how a traveller who sets out to explore the world’s wonders without a care for their waste and footprint, is “the biggest example of irony”. Its true if you think about it, if you truly appreciate the beauty that this world offers, how can you contribute to the excess waste that’s tossed into our environment, especially in tourist prone destinations.

What else you can do to be a sustainable, eco-friendly traveller:

If you truly want to leave a lighter eco-footprint on this world, think about putting in the extra effort to research and seek out businesses and tour operators that run sustainably, as there are many hotels out there that are committed to being eco-friendly, offering alternatives to plastic and attempting to combat waste.

The Rainforest Alliance is one example of a company that focuses heavily on sustainable tourism, on their website you can actually see what companies and businesses around the world are environmentally certified, and there are many more companies out there doing the same thing in the hopes of making the tourism industry more green. It will make you feel even more fulfilled when you’re trekking it halfway across the world and you know you’re doing your part to help out this beautiful world.

Live to be eco-conscious, travel like the world is relying on your environmentally good decisions. Band together with like-minded eco-travellers, and create a green revolution. If we all chip in to reduce waste when travelling this exquisite planet, just think how amazing it will be for generations to come.

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

Australian Women Who Inspire Us

In honour of March’s celebratory ‘Women’s History Month’ just ending we thought we’d explore a little further into the adventurous, intelligent and boundary-pushing women of Australia’s past & present.

 1. Edith Cowan

Edith Cowan became the first woman elected as a member of Parliament in 1921. She worked tirelessly to advocate women’s rights and showed a true commitment to the betterment of education and health & justice issues. In 1894, Edith was one of the founding members of the Karrakatta Club that outwardly campaigned for women to position themselves in life with degrees, jobs and roles that were equal to their male counterparts. This resulted in the Karrakatta Club becoming actively involved in the rise of the suffragette movement.

(Image credited to Grapeshot MQ)

She championed for female Justices of the Peace and become one of the first to achieve this position in 1919. Her legacy includes the Edith Cowan University as her namesake being the face of the Australian $50 dollar bill.

(Image credited to the Reserve Bank of Australia)

 2. Miles Franklin

Famously Miles Franklin, otherwise known as Stella Maria Sarah Miles Frank, is a greatly celebrated Australian author and feminist. Best known for her acclaimed novel “My Brilliant Career” which has gone on to become an Australian classic.

(Image credited to Melville House Books)

Franklin was involved in the early Australian feminist movement and often had her works rejected for publication for being too controversial. She wrote many works of a journalistic nature under nom-de-plumes throughout her life.

(Image credited to the NSW State Library)

This incredibly gifted author is the namesake of the famous literary prize; the ‘Miles Franklin’ as she included in her will the funding of this prize aimed for the ‘advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian Literature.’

 3. Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer is an Australian born incredibly vocal feminist, author and social critic. Known for her critique of the patriarchal structure of our society, Greer was a vital part of the Australian feminist movement.

(Image credited to the Sydney Morning Herald)

Her novel ‘The Female Eunuch’ argues that women should fight to find independence and individuality aware from societal pressures and expectations. Whilst being an unpredictable and at times contentious figure there is no doubt that Greer has made strides in the world of women’s rights.

(Image credited to Harper Collins Australia)

 4. Marita Cheng

This impressive woman was the youngest ever Australian of the year in 2012 and a huge advocate for women working in engineering and technology. Cheng is both the founder and the CEO of a company called ‘aubot’ which primarily focuses on the making of telepresence robots but also works on both the ‘research and development in robotic arms, virtual reality and autonomous mapping and navigation’.

(Image credited to Aubot)

Cheng became very aware of the dwindling number of women in her engineering classes at the University of Melbourne and with the assistance of her fellow engineering peers they went to surrounding school to teach young girls robotics to encourage interest in the field of engineering. This led to the student-led organisation ‘Robogals’ which has now been implemented internationally teaching workshops to over 70,000 girls from 11 different countries.(Image credited to Engineers Australia)

5. Elizabeth Blackburn

A brainiac in the field of Molecular biology Elizabeth Blackburn’s study on Telomares molecular nature earned her the Nobel Prize in 2009. Blackburn found that Telomares (the ends of our chromosomes which act as a protective tip to preserve genetic information) of an unusually short nature can be an indication of illness.

(Image credited to the MIT Press)

Her research concluded that when measuring the length of telomeres the results could give patients and doctors a chance to identify diseases, intervene early and sometimes even allow prevention. Blackburn’s findings made it clear that improving your lifestyle; diet, exercise and stress level maintain your telomares and can affect your lifespan on a cellular level.

(Image credited to The Science History Institute)

6. Alyssa Azar

A young Australian adventurer with positively incredible accomplishments for a woman of her age. She is the youngest Australian to ever climb to the summit of Mount Everest on May 21st, 2016 at a mere 19 years old.

(Image credited to ABC News)

Outrageously she is also the youngest person to cross the Kokoda Track as an 8 year old in 2005. She’d made two previous attempts to summit Mount Everest but was forced to turn back due to natural disasters taking place; an avalanche and an earthquake but her third attempt was proven to be the completion of a lifelong goal.(Image credited to The Chronicle)

Aren’t they wonderfully inspiring.

Do you have a strong & remarkable Australia woman that you look up to?

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

Being a Responsible Traveller: Gift Giving Abroad

As part of our commitment to responsible travel we ask that the participants of our adventures do not give gifts to the communities that they visit, or to the individuals they encounter.

We know what you’re thinking…why? What’s wrong with giving a small gift?

The act of gift giving and donating is a tricky one. It’s a universal practice not bounded by barriers of language or culture so we assume it is a great way to show our appreciation or to help someone in need. But even the most well-intended gifts or donations present some complex issues. These include donating to beggars or those living on the street, giving to children and making donations directly to the communities you may visit.

This is because gift-giving can:

  • Entice children and their families to beg when they should be receiving an education or seeking work.
  • Encourage an unreliable dependence on tourism.
  • Create tension if there is an uneven distribution of gifts within a community.
  • May cause cultural misunderstandings that all visitors give gifts.

You might think you are helping someone in need but sadly, these kind of small gifts rarely result in any significant improvement in these people’s lives. We want to make sure we are doing our best to be socially responsible – both as travellers and as global citizens.  

If you are thinking about gift giving on your adventure, consider these things first;

Consider your motives.

For what reason are you giving? Travelling to less-developed countries can be a confronting experience, especially if you haven’t travelled to regions like it before. The short amount of happiness afforded by giving a gift does not erase the potentially harmful consequences.

It’s okay to give to people who provide a service for you.

Tipping is a common practice all over the world and is an appropriate way to show your appreciation and to give back to the local community. For example, this might include gifting your unwanted clothing or trekking equipment to porters and guides. We also suggest combining tips as a group to ensure they are more evenly distributed.

Give donations directly to community leaders.

It’s more appropriate for any goods to be distributed by locals, rather than by tourists. Once again, this helps to make sure they are distributed fairly. This might be the case if local communities request resources such as pens or books for schools.

Make a donation to a reputable NGO or foundation.

The best way to responsibly donate or gift give is via a reputable source who can assist in the sustainable distribution of your donation. They will consider the broader impact of your donation in order to empower local communities in the long-run.

Discuss any concerns with your local guide.

If at any point you have concerns about giving gifts, discuss it with your local guide. They will be able to give you the advice you need to give back to the local community in the most ethical way possible.

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

Meet Our Local Guides: Tanzania

Together with our Team Leaders, our local guides play a fundamental role in the success of all our adventures.

They come from a myriad of backgrounds and experiences so with their expert knowledge we know our adventurers are in the right hands to complete their charity challenges and achieve something they never knew they could.

The Mount Kilimanjaro Trek is an immense physical and mental challenge but the sense of accomplishment when you reach the summit of the world’s highest free-standing mountain is completely unrivalled! As one of our most challenging treks, the role of the local guides cannot be underestimated!


Mount Kilimanjaro won over his heart pretty early on – Emmanuel started hiking as a porter in 2011, and did 17 hikes before he decided he wanted to study to be a mountain guide.

He says he is very proud to be a guide in his home country – the natural scenery and mind-blowing cultural and historical attractions are what he loves.

Emmanuel thinks Mount Kilimanjaro is a beautiful place to work and what he likes about leading the trekking groups is ‘surprising and being surprised by others’.


Similar to Emmanuel, Antipas started hiking Mount Kilimanjaro as a porter and after six years, he decided he wanted to become a guide and took a guiding course run by the Kilimanjaro National Park.

He says he loves his country because it is endowed with many attractions such as Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Ngorongoro.

What makes Antipas such a great guide, is his appreciation for the mountain – he believes it is among the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth.

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

Interview with Justine: 15 years of Inspired

I sat down with Justine, the driving force behind Inspired, to have a look back at what she’s achieved since we opened our doors fifteen years ago. Had the pleasure of discussing her outlook on the growing popularity of ethical travel, her desire to create a company for social good & the bright future of Inspired Adventures

So Justine, have you always been impacted by companies preaching social good?

When I was about 14 I remember going into town with my Mum and seeing The Body Shop for the first time. I’d never seen anything like it before. I loved the fact that they were talking about community trade, ethically sourced ingredients, recycling the plastic bottles – and this is mid 80s. Anita Roddick was at the forefront of this movement, they were discussing women’s issues, no cosmetic testing on animals. It really struck a chord with me.

How does Inspired's adventures impact the lives of the participants?

It is often declaring that you’re going to do something out of your comfort zone; a fundraising challenge requires a lot of preparation and the confidence to go away with people you don’t know and actually completing that is quite transformational. It  can often make a difference in how they live their lives thereafter as they suddenly know themselves to be a bit of a local hero. It is the concept of ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things. 

15 years of incredible work - What is there to celebrate?

We’ve raised – and counting – about $33 million dollars. I think it’s really wonderful to imagine the impact of that money and what it can and has achieved.

For example: We’ve funded a Kids Helpline counsellor on the phone for an entire year.


We funded a piece of video equipment for rural hospitals so they could video conference in with bigger Children’s hospitals in the cities and help pioneer life-saving operations for kids.”

“It’s hard to comprehend what we’ve actually raised.  I say to the team often that it is the butterfly effect of that money that is often quite extraordinary.

Equally worth celebrating is the people are the 6,000 or more who have been on our adventures & the amazing people who sign up to; pledge a minimum amount, spend a year fundraising and getting fit & healthy, going to join a group of strangers and go somewhere in Australia or International, probably somewhere I’ve never been to trek, cycle or run a marathon and put myself out there.  It changes lives. For that year or so it gives people a goal and gives their lives meaning.


As a society the idea of sustainable and socially conscious travel is becoming increasingly popular and supported by the masses - Why do you feel that society is coming round to this phenomenon?

It’s very exciting that we finally are. It’s come an incredibly long way in the last 10 years. For many people it starts with diet and nutrition – avoiding processed foods and eating clean – thinking about different ways of approaching diet. Starting from the ground with not shopping at your local supermarket with plastic bags – making a commitment to the environment at home, one that is very manageable and achievable for us all to begin. It’s a natural progression for people to think about how they travel.

There’s been a real increase in smaller, niche, boutique travel agencies that really have a focus on ethical, sustainable & responsible travel practices. I think it’s become a lot more accessible and as the popularity increases it becomes a lot easier to travel that way. Following the sentiments of “Leave only Footprints”.

I’m really pleased the world is wising up, it seems a natural shift between how we live our lives and how we want to see & travel the world. As a parent as well it’s wonderful to be a good example to kids. Provide those insights and environmentally responsible practices, community education done in a really responsible way and keep educating the next generation.

What do you see as being the future of Inspired?

Creating extraordinary travel and fundraising for the younger generation.We’d like to place a focus on Australian travel, exploring our own backyard. We have an extraordinarily diverse and wonderful country with a lot to learn about the community and our history. Equally growing our New Zealand operation, which is exciting, and looking further afield. Working with other charities in the Asia-Pacific region and constantly look into new destinations & itineraries such as those this year to Costa Rica & Japan.

We’re running lots of Corporate adventures so that’s a wonderful opportunity for development too. It’s important that team-building and Leadership development for staff and inter-company relations to aid Corporates in being better global citizens and having an awareness of responsible travel & ethical practices.

What would you say to inspire other women who look up to you and have similar dreams?

Never give up!

Follow your instincts and listen to your heart, whatever feels right. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Stay very true to yourself and find time to connect with the inner you – your creativity and your passion.

We as women are incredibly creative and passionate. There’s an opportunity to constantly be listening, looking and exploring. Tap into that inner-goddess.

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

Origin story: Mount Kilimanjaro summit

From Inspired Adventure’s CEO and founder Justine Curtis first climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 2004 to our current figures – presently having over 500 adventurers partaking in this climb – it’s remarkable to see just how far the company has come. Reaching the summit of the world’s highest freestanding mountain, Justine gave herself only 3 months to raise $30,000 and attempt the biggest challenge in her life thus far.

This increasingly popular climb is an incredibly challenging 12-day trek through Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park. Trekking from the rainforests of the East African plains, through five different climatic zones, to the final awe-inspiring glacier at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro 

Our founder Justine Curtis made the decision to climb as part of a management training course intended to forcibly get you  of your comfort zone. She created the immense challenge for herself to raise $30,000 within 12 weeks and with very little training or research to climb the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Raising the funds for a water pump for an orphanage in Zimbabwe. Whilst having being given the opportunity to climb before and rejecting it through fear, fitness and lack of preparation – Justine decided enough was enough and that no matter what she was going to reach the summit.

Our CEO tells a wonderful story of reaching the summit, saying that; “We got to the point where it was dusk, we were above the clouds and there was this tiny little orange dot on the horizon. This pinprick where the sun was going to come up and burst into the sky. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.”

Known as the rooftop of Africa; the climb can be completed without ropes or extensive equipment, the adventure is not one for the faint hearted. Justine has said that this climb was the “catalyst for me to create an exciting fundraising agency and share the opportunity with other people”.

Mount Kilimanjaro

As it currently stands Inspired Adventures has a 95% summit success rate which is extraordinary. For people who are of an average fitness level it’s surprisingly very achievable. Through Inspired Adventures the participants have been eclectic, from young teenagers trekking with their parents to the more mature 70s and 80s age range successfully climb it.

Justine tells us that; “The camaraderie is incredible, others empowering you with their commitment and hard work to get you to the top. There’s nothing better than that connection.” 

Interested in participating? See our website for further details.

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

World Animal Protection

Welcome to The Jungle: The Insider’s Guide to Trekking in Sumatra

Sumatra is a beautiful untouched paradise nestled in western Indonesia, making up part of the Sunda Islands. Gifted with endless beauty, nature lovers will be captivated by Sumatra’s extraordinary landscapes. From majestic inland mountains and volcanoes to deep valleys, lush rainforest and stunning rice fields.

Inspired Adventures’ Marketing Manager Laura Charbonneau recently joined the Edgar’s Mission team on an inspiring trek through Gunung Leuser National Park, one of the world’s last remaining tropical rainforests and home to some of the planet’s most endangered and exotic species.

We spoke with Laura on what it’s like to leave the existence of the modern world behind and consume the richness of the natural world for 4 days, as she trekked through the lush Sumatran jungle, bearing witness to the extraordinary plethora of life it supports.

Can you describe the terrain of Gunung Leuser National Park?

The National Park is absolutely amazing. With dense jungle surrounding you, there are so many unique types of plants and animals to see each day. A typical day on the trek started with a steep ascent up the hill, followed by moderate ups and downs along the ridge of the hill, and a steep descent at the end of the day down to our campsite by the river. There are many tree roots and vines weaving their way across the jungle floor, so it’s important to be mindful with your steps. At times we would encounter muddy sections due to recent rains, which again meant we needed to take care in our foot placement. Luckily, the local guides are amazing and were always there to lend a hand and provide support in the areas that are trickier to navigate.

What did you find most challenging about the trek?

There were two things that made the trek quite challenging, one being the heat/humidity, and the other being the steep ascents/descents. The weather was typically around 27-30 degrees every day, but with 95% humidity, it made for a very hot trekking environment. This was probably the hardest aspect for most people, so we made sure we were drinking plenty of fluids and hydrolyte to ensure we did not get dehydrated and help keep our energy levels up.

Other than that, the steep ascents and descents at the start and end of the day were the most difficult sections on the trek, especially in the muddy areas. They really get your heart pumping and require a good amount of leg strength as you’re taking big steps up and down.


How did you prepare physically for the trek?

I recently got back into running, so in the months leading up to the trek I focussed on running as my main source of training. I ran 4-5 days a week, anywhere between 3.5 – 15km at a time. In addition to this, I incorporated strength-training exercises to ensure my muscles were up to the task, mainly focussing on leg, hip and core strength. I also went for treks on the weekends, ranging from 12-18km to work on my trekking endurance and ensure my boots were broken in as well.

Anything you packed (or didn’t pack) that others may find useful?

I brought Teva sandals that were really handy for the entire trip and would recommend them to everyone. They were great because they have an ankle strap, so I would wear them around camp and in and out of the rivers when I didn’t want to deal with the small rocks underfoot. They are also made from materials, which dry very easily, so wearing them in the river or during the rain was no issue.

I would also recommend trekking pants for this challenge. I brought both trekking shorts and pants, as I was unsure about the terrain and weather, but ended up wearing pants every day (despite the heat), as it meant I didn’t have to think about the trees, vines, or mosquitoes brushing up against my legs.

Lastly, I’d recommend bringing a dry bag to keep your dry clothes in while trekking. It sounds simple, but trust me, it makes a difference! With the humidity in the jungle, many of the sweaty or wet clothes do not completely dry, so it feels like a nice luxury to put on dry clothes at the end of the day!

What was the overall weather like?

The weather was typically around 27-30 with very high humidity each day (around 95%). We also usually had a rainstorm in the afternoon or evening of most days, which is pretty typical in October.

What are the toilets like? Any hygiene tips?

Toilets in the hotels and lodges are western, but when you’re out and about at restaurants or taking a pit stop on a drive, you may come across a squat toilet.

When camping, the toilets are very basic. There is a designated toilet area, which is closed off for privacy, but it is really just a few holes in the ground, so be prepared to rough it a bit! I would recommend bringing toilet paper and hand sanitiser with you to stay hygienic.

Can you use your phone while trekking in the Gunung Leuser National Park?

My advice would be to take the time to sign off and disconnect for a few days. I had a local sim card, and had very limited, patchy service whilst trekking in the National Park. Most of the hotels have Wifi available, but again, in some of the more rural areas the signal was not as strong, and it is sometimes only available in the reception area.

Any surprises from what you expected?

The campsites were awesome and the food was amazing! We were really impressed by the quality of food the local team provided each day, especially while we were out camping and they were cooking using basic equipment. We felt spoilt by how well we were fed!

Did you spot any wildlife?

Yes, all sorts! Macaques, thomas leaf monkeys, gibbons, many kinds of birds, and last but not least, orangutans! It was really amazing to see them in their natural habitat.

What are some of your favourite highlights from the adventure?

The main highlight was definitely when we encountered an orangutan in the jungle on our third day of trekking. Though we had caught a glimpse of an orangutan early on in our trek, it wasn’t quite the experience we’d all been hoping for, so it was really magical on our last day of trekking to come across one again. We were midway through our day and most had accepted that we might not have another sighting, when one of our guides quietly alerted us that he’d spotted one up in the trees. We all made our way to a clearing to get a good view of her sitting up in the trees in the distance. As we watched in silence, she swung from branch to branch to get a better view of us humans. She perched on the branches for a few moments, looking down at us, with a curious look on her face taking us all in. This moment was absolutely incredible and brought many of the group to tears.

Another highlight was swimming in the river in the afternoons after trekking all day. With the incredible heat, it was so refreshing to hop in for a swim to cool off. One day in particular, some of us made our way up the river a bit to explore a nearby waterfall, which had a perfect swimming pool right at the base. It was such a magical moment to be swimming in this breathtaking location, so secluded and so peaceful in the middle of the jungle.

What advice can you provide for other people interested in taking on a trek like this?

I would recommend training on dirt trails and working on leg strength as well. With the steep ascents and descents, it really helped to have the strength in my legs to lessen the difficulty. Other than that, be prepared to take in the beauty of nature for a few tech-free days in the jungle! There really is nothing like taking in the incredible flora while listening to the sounds of the jungle creatures as you trek throughout the day and camp alongside the rivers at night.

Feeling Inspired?

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!

Fundraisers of The Month: Marie and Emma Montafia

Marie and Emma Montafia

Cause: Shake It Up Australia Foundation
Adventure: Camino for a Cure: Trek for Parkinson’s

As our Fundraisers of the Month, Marie and Emma have scored themselves a $50 donation to their fundraising page. To be our next month’s winner, make sure you’re uploading your journey to social and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired.

Please tell us a little about yourselves

Mum is 56 and lives on a sugar cane farm in North QLD She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 51 after noticing a tremor in her finger at the age of 50. Since her diagnosis, she has started her own millinery business which she has had a lot of success with.

I am 24 and live in Sydney, where I am studying a bachelor of education and arts at Sydney Uni.  Acting is my passion and I go to acting classes weekly. I also like exercising, reading, and watching Netflix.

What inspired you to sign up to the El Camino trek for Shake it Up? What was your 'why' behind the decision?

Mum and I would love to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease in our lifetime. Mum has always wanted to do a part of the Camino, so when she saw this, she thought it was a great opportunity to challenge herself and do something she’d always wanted to do AND to raise money for a cause very important to her.

My ‘why’, was very similar to Mum’s. I thought this was a great opportunity for us to do something together and make a difference in our own way. I also wanted to do this to support Mum in her Parkinson’s journey.

How are you feeling about the challenge ahead? What are you most looking forward to?

Mum is looking forward to raising as much money as possible for Shake It Up Australia Foundation, and she can’t wait to trek this beautiful walk and meet the amazing people that will be accompanying her on this journey.

I’m really excited about the fundraising and some of the events I have planned. I am so excited about going over to Spain and seeing a beautiful country, and walking the Camino with an inspiring group of people.

"I thought this was a great opportunity for us to do something together and make a difference in our own way. I also wanted to do this to support Mum in her Parkinson's journey."

Have you noticed any changes in your life since taking on your first adventure?

Mum has been overwhelmed by the love and encouragement shown to us, and the incredible generosity of people that are so willing to support us. Mum also finds she has been exercising more as she is working towards this challenge. I too have been shocked by the incredible donations, and I have been so excited about all of the event planning and fundraising that I’ve been doing. I’m finding that I’m really passionate about it and loving every second of it!

How did you promote your page online?

We both put our individual stories up with the donation page link so that people understand the reasons why we are doing this. Mum has also put it on her business page which has a further reach than her individual social media pages. We have shared the link on our Instagram pages, as well as Facebook, to hopefully reach another target audience. Posting stories every few days about our progress or anything relating to the cause/adventure helps.

Do you have any hot tips for online fundraising that worked for you that you think others could apply to their own online approach?

Message good friends and family, who don’t have social media or aren’t very present on social media, about what you’re doing, and add a link to your fundraising page.

Send a private group message to a close circle of friends asking them to share the page and to support you in your fundraising – but send messages to groups that are pre-existing (e.g. work friends, old Uni friends, sporting team friends).

Put your personal story out there, nothing too long, but enough that makes people empathise and want to read the link attached.

Make every post meaningful and different to draw people in.

"Mum has been overwhelmed by the love and encouragement shown to us, and the incredible generosity of people that are so willing to support us. "

Fundraiser of the Month

Become our Fundraiser of the Month to win a $50 donation to your fundraising page!

Take a picture whilst fundraising for your adventure and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired and your adventure hashtag. The most exciting use of the hashtag, with a fundraising focus will be our Fundraiser of the Month – it’s that easy!


The Ultimate Guide to Waterproof Jackets

As Paddy Pallin would say, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Many moons ago, Gore-Tex was the only reliable option for 100% waterproof coverage. Nowadays, there are many new waterproof fabrics and designs to cater to every kind of outdoor pursuit.

Waterproofing a jacket is easy; any piece of plastic will keep the rain out. However, what makes a good quality waterproof jacket is its ability to keep you from feeling like you have slipped in a non-breathable oven bake bag.

Instead, quality waterproof fabrics will let your sweat transport outward in the form of water vapour rather than condensing on the inside of the hard-shell and making you wet, cold and let’s face it, probably a little grumpy.

Gore-Tex achieved this by using a waterproof membrane, something like a super fine net with holes too small for water to penetrate, but large enough for vapours to escape through.

Ultimately, every hard-shell will let water through; the question is how long you can stay in the rain before it surrenders. The best jackets are equipped with state of the art technology designed to keep you dry in even the longest downpours, while some will only last an hour. So depending on whether you’re trekking the Great Wall, hiking the Sumatran jungle or cycling through Southeast Asia, you’ll want to know what type of waterproof gear best suits your adventure needs.

The Importance of Waterproof Ratings

Waterproof ratings are measured in millimetres, e.g. 10,000mm. This is the amount of water that was used when testing the fabric.

Testing is usually performed using a cylinder with a 1 inch diameter that is fixed to a piece of fabric. The cylinder is filled and left to stand for 24 hours. If the membrane remains dry, more water is added until seepage appears. The height of the last level of water that the fabric could fend off is the resulting waterproof rating measurement.

While it is hard to convert the average downpour in Vietnam to millimetres, simply put, the higher the number, the better.

If you’re planning on staying around town (where there is ample shelter should you need it) a 2,000+ mm rating should suffice. However, if you’re taking on an Inspired Adventure this year, you will almost definitely require minimum 10,000–20,000+ mm.

How to Care For Your Waterproof Gear

Just like your other equipment, your waterproof gear needs to be looked after. Thankfully it’s as easy as washing your garments with a special detergent.

Most waterproof clothing is treated with a Durable Water Repellent coating (DWR) that sits on the face of the fabric. If you notice that water does not bead off your garment anymore, this doesn’t mean it has lost its waterproof function. Simply give your gear a waterproofing treatment (we recommend Nikwax TX Direct Waterproofing Spray or Wash-in Water Repellent from Paddy Pallin).

So What Have We Learned?

Well for starters, we know that waterproof gear is paramount to the success of an adventure. As the old adage goes, “When it rains, it pours”. Being caught in the rain may have been charming for Gene Kelly; but trust me when you’re caught in a downpour on the side of Mount Kilimanjaro you won’t be singing. Get the right gear and keep it in good condition and you’ll have one amazing adventure after another.

Our Top Picks For Quality Waterproof Jackets

Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket
Made by our fellow B Corp pals, Patagonia, this jacket is not only aesthetically appealing, it will keep you dry through any kind of wet weather.

Patagonia Pluma Gore-Tex Jacket
Rain, hail or shine, this jacket has your back.
Combining durable waterproof/breathable performance in a lightweight 3-layer GORE-TEX® PRO shell fabric, it also features GORE® Micro Grid Backer Technology.

Marmont Minimalist Gore-Tex Jacket
Sleek and minimal, this jacket boasts a lightweight shell that’s durable, waterproof and windproof, guaranteeing reliability in even the grimmest of conditions.

Sherpa Stay Dry Hiker Rain Pants
We mustn’t forget about the bottom half of our bodies. These pants are lightweight, affordable and
made from a PU coated Polyester. They are rated at 5000mm for waterproofness.

Feeling Inspired?

Check out the upcoming adventures on our calendar!