Founder of We Are Explorers
Welcome to Compass Studio's first ever blog! This is also the first instalment of our 'Explore More' series where dig into the stories and inspirations of those people that are conquering uncharted grounds right now - whether physical, environmental or social, in the hope of spreading the good further.
Meet Henry Brydon, the British expat who has bunkered down on the far northern NSW coast, whilst building We Are Explorers, the largest network and resource site for Aussie adventurers wanting to explore our beautiful country.
Tell us a bit more about We Are Explorers, and how it came to life?
We’re a community who spread the power and excitement of nature and the outdoors to Australians through a combination of inspiring content and events. We believe there has never been a more crucial time for us to disconnect from the shackles of modern-day society and reconnect to nature through adventure - it’s a necessity for our mental health, wellbeing and our appetites for fresh experiences.
It started through necessity - I arrived in Sydney in 2011 having just completed a 2 year bicycle ride across the world from London. When settling in Sydney I was hell-bent on jam-packing my weekends full of adventure (or ‘microadventure’ as we call them) but was surprised to find that despite being a playground for all things exploring, planning these trips and finding inspiration for where to go through online research was surprisingly difficult. Hmmmmm….
Where was your last adventure? Tell us a bit about it.
I recently returned from a week road tripping through the wilderness of North West Tasmania. If you’re looking for disconnection, you’ll find it here. Rugged mountains, wild oceans and no wifi. WAHOO!
And what are you planning next?
Packrafting the Franklin River….Tassie has cast a spell on me and I can’t get enough of it at the moment.
There has been a massive shift in the Australian outdoor scene in recent years. What are key changes you’ve witnessed and how does it impact the overall industry?
I agree. There seems to have been this societal shift in recent years from urban to nature; more young people are recognising and revelling in everything the outdoors has to offer and it’s never been so accessible. Social media has doused fuel on this of course - for better and for worse. Our ‘social status’ is increasingly measured by the stuff we do, not the shit we buy. More and more people are heading out there to fill their lives with experiences and whilst this pumps spend into local tourism and the outdoor industry, it can unfortunately put a strain on our wild places. This is something we’re cognisant of, and as a publisher in this space it’s a top priority to not just inspire but to inform, educate and ultimately create a self-perpetuating community of environmental ambassadors.
Do you see these changes as beneficial to the Australian environment?
The changes hold the power to do wonderful things for the environment, but we’ve got a way to go. The rising popularity creates respect and awareness for key environmental issues, which in turns encourages a degree of stewardship and solidarity for protecting our wild places. In time this will lead to increased priority of key issues at a state and federal level, and we want to help Australia get to that stage.
Where would you like to see further changes?
The need for society is spend more time outdoors ain’t going anywhere, which is only going to add increasing pressure to our wilderness areas. Normally this can be attributed to a few specific ‘grammable’ spots that have already become trashed (e.g. Wedding Cake Rock, Figure 8 Pools etc). We’re doing what we can to open outdoor enthusiasts minds to other beautiful locations outside of the hotspots - not only does this relieve some of the dangerous pressure placed on certain locations, but also means we all get to enjoy quieter weekends without being swamped but scores of selfie stick waving rock-jumpers. It’s important that we continue to help people get outdoors but disperse visitation too!
According to recent research, domestic travel planning is up 70 percent YOY in Australia, meaning more people are hoping to adventure locally, instead of abroad. Why do you think this is? What are your top 5 Australian destinations?
I think people are beginning to understand that there is so much more opportunity with our daily lives to inject with adventure, rather than simply waiting for that ‘big trip’ overseas. We live in a microadventurers paradise here in Australia where you only have to be a few kms from a major city and feel like you’re a thousand miles away. It’s platforms much as WAE that help realise this (and then pull their fingers out and do it!
Current favourites? The Blue Mountains, Hinchinbrook Island, North West Tasmania, NT’s Outback and the Snowy Mountains!
And what’s on your must-pack list?