Today’s intrepid travelers seek out remote destinations and adrenaline-fueled experiences, each more extreme than the last. Justin Packshaw, explorer, philanthropist and chairman of Joro Experiences, knows a thing or two about this, having summited Mt Everest and reached both Poles. Here, he speaks to the importance of exploration for the soul.
by Justin Packshaw
I have always been fascinated by the power of human endeavor and the intoxicating and evocative spell it creates. It drives curious, brave and open-minded people to search the undiscovered world. Needless to say, my heroes growing up were some of the greatest explorers — Shackleton, Amundsen, Mallory and Armstrong. I was fascinated by their journeys, and I am lucky enough to have dipped my toe into some of them over the last 30 years and seen firsthand what the benefits of stepping into the unknown can be.
For me the die was cast young. My parents were rather intrepid and were keen that we grew up to be ‘interested in life’ and to be ‘interesting as people,’ so we traveled a lot, and they were superb role models. I was raised in Malta, a wonderful island steeped in history and full of charm, sunshine and values. We lived in and on the sea, and were sailing and diving almost before we could walk. I am the youngest of four, so I had to develop a can-do attitude early on, helping me to dream big and take leaps of faith, which shaped my destiny and fueled my soul.
Since those early years, I have served in the British Army, sailed for Britain in competitions, lived all over the world and been involved in several businesses, all of which I have loved. Today, I am chairman of Joro Experiences, a fantastic bespoke travel company. In addition to this, I travel the world speaking to businesses about a host of topics, from managing change to peak performance and leadership.
However, my alter ego is properly happy when I am in a remote locale testing my wits and experiencing nature Today’s intrepid travelers seek out remote destinations and adrenaline-fueled experiences, each more extreme than the last. Justin Packshaw, explorer, philanthropist and chairman of Joro Experiences, knows a thing or two about this, having summited Mt Everest and reached both Poles. Here, he speaks to the importance of exploration for the soul Endurance crew. It was humbling and a total privilege to follow in the footsteps of past legends alongside such courageous and inspirational individuals.
For me, expeditions are an incredible backdrop to show individuals and teams what their true potential is and, more often than not, these trips ignite something in them that has a dramatic effect on their overall outlook. Exploration demands that you be your best, and provides a platform to learn and strive for excellence. Humans are meant to excel; when one understands how capable we are and how adaptive the human spirit is, one realizes that anything is achievable. Throw in a bit of determination and conviction, and the sky is the limit. One always returns more balanced and wiser.
But it is not enough to simply explore and grow; we must give back to the planet. At Joro, we are not just committed to planning extraordinary experiences, we are committed to raising awareness around social and environmental issues, and setting examples on how to be accountable and responsible. In that spirit, I am excited about an important research expedition I am undertaking later this year to kite-ski across 2,000 miles of Antarctica from coast to coast via the Pole of Inaccessibility and the South Pole.
We have great institutions involved including HP, Stanford University and the European Space Agency. We are incorporating sustainable initiatives, including conducting vital scientific research on the state of the Antarctic ice shelf and its importance to the equilibrium of our climate. We will also be looking at new technologies, such as AI and its impact on our understanding of human biology, to assist the advancement of healthcare. I encourage every explorer to find ways to help scientific research and discovery.
What a stimulating time to be alive. Shake off any doubt you have, ignite your deepest dreams and aspirations, and go see the wonder of this magnificent world firsthand. Carpe diem.