Motivational speaker at the Montreal Theatre

Modern-day explorer Justin Jones with kids from Gundagai Public School at the Montreal Theatre on Wednesday.

Justin Jones, at the age of 33, has had life experiences that would be incomprehensible to most of us.

He’s paddled across the Tasman, from Australia to New Zealand, in a kayak. He’s travelled from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole on foot. He’s currently in the process of planning a trip to walk from the centre of the outback to Port Augusta, on the South Australian coast, along with his wife and year-old daughter. But as he told local high school and primary school kids on Wednesday, these are the kinds of adventures that are in reach for many of us – you just have to believe that you can do it.

“One thing that becomes pretty apparent [during his talk] is that I’m a really, really average bloke, like really just a run of the mill guy,” Justin laughed.

“I’m not the smartest guy, I’m not the fittest guy, I’m certainly not the best looking, and I think people can sort of relate to the journey that I go on. I show photos of when I was a chubby fat kid and I think the fact that there’s somebody ordinary doing a way out-there trip, and that all it takes is planning and execution, inspires people to think that maybe they can too.”

Of course, dropping everything to take off on a dangerous and difficult journey across a frozen wasteland isn’t necessarily something that all of us aspire to. But Justin said the keys to finding adventure can apply to whatever field is relative to each person – it’s all about chasing your passion.

“I strongly believe that adventure is an activity with an unknown outcome,” he said.

“It doesn’t have to be a big expedition, it can be on the sporting field, in business, in theatre, whatever you want to make it, and it’s really relative to the person that’s undertaking the adventure. The process and the preparation is still the same – whether your planning for a trip to Antarctica, whether you’re studying for an exam, whether you’re starting up a business, it’s that preparation phase that’s so important – getting the right people around you and asking questions, trialling, and then simulation, and execution.

“We’re capable of so much more than we think we are.”

Those messages were imparted to kids from schools throughout the Southern Highlands on Wednesday, who were bussed in to the Montreal Theatre to hear Justin speak. In the evening staff and other community members were also able to listen to Justin’s talk and ask questions about his adventures and the thought processes that lead him there.

The talks were organised by Batlow Technology School Principal Greg Hodges and Franklin Public School Principal Carmel Stuckey.