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!