Inspire yourself: Adventurer Justin Packshaw on reaching the poles, Everest & the art of fulfilment


INSPIRE YOURSELF: ADVENTURER JUSTIN PACKSHAW ON REACHING THE POLES, EVEREST & THE ART OF FULFILMENT

Since serving in the Gulf War and sailing around the world for Britain in 1990, philanthropist, entrepreneur and adventurer Justin Packshaw MBE has summited Mount Everest, replicated Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic Expedition and won a 450-mile race to the Magnetic North Pole. All while helping wounded soldiers and other good causes, he has also ridden horses across Mongolia, jet-skied the coast of Nigeria, motorbiked through Africa and ran, swam, cycled, hiked and climbed from London to the summit of the Matterhorn.

 

Justin will be joined by record-setting mountaineer Jake Mayer at Snow+Rock Covent Garden on May 31st for an exclusive evening of inspirational talks. Let us introduce you to Justin ahead of his next trip, hiking, cycling, swimming and running going from the Matterhorn to the top of Mount Etna.


The Art of Fulfilment

 

I am properly happy when I am in some remote corner of the world testing my wits and viewing nature full-on. The appeal to me is stepping into the unknown and wanting to push myself and others whilst seeing what we are capable of doing.  I’ve always been fascinated by this and what we can achieve in terms of our psychology and physiology when mixed with passion and belief. I grew up in Malta in the Mediterranean so I have always been an outdoorsy person. I was lucky enough to have sailed from a young age and fortunately ended up sailing for Britain in the Whitbread.

 

As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve realised that you can do these fantastic trips but also do some real good off the back of them. You can inspire and educate people to follow their dreams or help raise awareness or money for important social and environmental causes. I call it the art of fulfilment. It’s important to look after people less fortunate and to protect and nurture this magnificent world of ours. This is essential to me, but my love of the outdoors and pushing myself has not changed. I still enjoy having a mad idea for a trip, planning it and bringing it all to life.

Self-Powered Behemoths

In 2014, a team of us decided to set a good benchmark to raise money for an incredible charity called Big Change. The idea was to run three marathons from Central London to the coast, row the English Channel, cycle 1,000km across France to Switzerland, hike 150km through the Alps along the Haute Route, and then climb the Matterhorn (4,478m). We even raised £750,000 on the back of it.

 

In September this year, we will be continuing this journey from the bottom of the Matterhorn to the top of Mount Etna (3,350m) in Sicily. This involves us hiking out of the Alps, cycling the whole of Italy to the toe, swimming to Sicily, then cycling before running a marathon to the summit of Mount Etna. It’s going to be amazing. If anybody wants to join up for a leg or two, get involved as it is going to be great fun!

Challenge Yourself

 

I’ve been so lucky to have done many fascinating trips and learnt much along the way. It’s wonderful to see how you adapt. Having been around the block a bit, I marvel at this next generation of adventurers who are doing extraordinary things. Thankfully, the human spirit keeps on pushing these parameters, raising the bar and finding out what we’re capable of.

Following the Footsteps of Legends

For me, it all started with my love of old school explorers – Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and Mallory, to name a few. Remember, it was only just over 100 years ago when no-one had been to the North and South Poles or to the top of Everest. I’ve been lucky enough to have emanated some of those iconic journeys.

 

When we climbed Everest it was along the North East Ridge, like Mallory and Irvine had done in 1924. In 2012, we retraced part of Scott and Amundsen’s 1912 race to the South Pole. We took three wounded soldiers from my old army regiment as one of Scott’s team, Lawrence Oates, was also in that regiment, which added a fantastic historical and emotional element to it. Two years ago, we also replicated Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica, again with two wounded soldiers from the army. What a trip that was! 

 

 

I’m going to talk about the trip we did a couple of years ago where we replicated Ernest Shackleton’s amazing 1914 Endurance Expedition, with two wounded soldiers from my regiment. When Shackleton’s ship got trapped in ice, he managed to save the crew by being incredibly resourceful and tenacious, sailing 720 miles to South Georgia from an island just off of the peninsula of Antarctica in a small rowing boat. It’s the most poignant and powerful story of endurance and belief.


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