This year’s speakers are absolutely out of this world! Take a peek at the incredible adventures they’ve been on, and secure your ticket now to make sure you hear all about them!
After travelling an epic 23000kms through 20 countries on a solo kayak voyage from Germany to Australia, Sandy Robson refers to her kayak as the ‘First Class Ticket to Everywhere’. Sandy was awarded in 2017, the Australian Adventurer of the Year. For this WA adventurer, sea kayaking has always been about living with intention and connecting with nature. Sandy undertook a partial circumnavigation of Australia in 2007, a journey thwarted by an attack from a salt-water crocodile in far north Queensland. Undeterred from long expeditions and inspired by German Oskar Speck, who paddled from Germany to Australia in the 1930s, Sandy spent five years retracing sections of Speck’s route. She endured many hardships and setbacks along the way and these make for an enthralling and inspiring presentation. Sandy now holds a number of world kayaking records, including being the first person to circumnavigate Sri Lanka by sea kayak, the first woman to paddle the coasts of India, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea and the first woman to paddle from Sri Lanka to India across Palk Strait. You won’t want to miss Sandy telling the stories of her grand adventure at this year’s event.
Tim Cope -National Geographic Adventure Honoree 2007, Australian Adventurer of the year 2006 – is a 35 year old from Gippsland, Victoria (Australia), who is pursuing a life of adventure, writing, and film.
Tim, who speaks fluent Russian, and guides in Siberia, and Mongolia, has spent the best part of a decade travelling Russia, Mongolia, and Central Asia by bicycle, row boat, skis, horse, camel and many other means.
Most of all Tim enjoys coming to know people in their home environments by traveling in traditional and local ways. His most renowned journey was a three and a half year odyssey from Mongolia to Hungary by horse on the trail of Genghis Khan and in the spirit of the nomads of the steppe.
Michael Smith was named Adventurer of the Year 2016 by Australian Geographic for his record breaking first solo circumnavigation of the world in his Amphibian Flying Boat, Southern Sun. He has worked in the cinema exhibition space for 25 years, is owner of the popular independent cinema the Sun Theatre in Yarraville. Other interests including regional cinemas and founder of the NGO Screens Without Borders, which began with Cinema Loro Sa’e in East Timor 7 years ago. He recently completed an MBA with a research project into the perceived value of cinema undertaken during his round the world trip. He has been sailing since a wee lad, regularly skippers former America’s Cup (Fremantle 1987) yacht Kookaburra and is a past-Commodore of the Royal Yacht
Club of Victoria.
His book, Voyage of the Southern Sun, is published by Black Inc and currently in bookstores.
Anna Mitchell is the author of the multi-award-winning travel memoir Fat Chick Goes AWOL. The book is a hilarious account of her 4,000-kilometre, solo, self-supported cycle tours in Western Australia and the Northern Territory on a recumbent trike, and her 968-kilometre solo through-hike of the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia – as a 130-kilo, thirty-something desk-bound accountant who had never done any kind of adventure travel before in her life. Get a free sample of her book here: www.fatchickgoesawol.com
Anna is a born-and-bred Perth girl who now lives in a paddock in central Victoria, and is having just as many adventures off the road as she did on it. Follow her current adventures here: www.facebook.com/fatchickgoesawol
Paul was a cutting-edge rock climber and mountaineer hailing from the UK. He embodied the ‘Climb Now Work Later’ ethos (and coined the tagline). His climbing adventures took him from Wales to the Himalayas, from the Karakoram to Patagonia, from Baffin Island to the Pamirs.
When he won the Boardman/Tasker Award for Mountain Literature in 1997, with his book Deep Play, he spent the prize money on a world climbing tour that found him in Tasmania climbing a slender sea stack known as The Totem Pole. It was here that all he had known before was turned on its head.
On Friday the 13th of February 1998 a TV-sized boulder falling from 25 meters inflicted such terrible head injuries that doctors thought he might never walk or even speak again.
Being in hospital for a year gave Paul the impetus to write his second book: The Totem Pole. This narrative about his personal journey through hemiplegia won him an unprecedented second Boardman/Tasker prize, and the Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize and was translated into four languages.
Paul has continued to lead a challenging life even after such a catastrophic injury. He has climbed Kilimanjaro, rode a recumbent trike through Tibet to Mount Everest and took the lead rock climbing again. In 2016 Paul finally climbed the Totem Pole, 18 years after his accident.
In 2017 Paul, and 4 other people with disabilities made the first ever journey under human power between Australia’s extremities of altitude. On the Lowest To Highest Expedition the team members cycled from Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre (-15m) to Kosciuszko -Targangil (2228m), a distance of 2152km.
He sees the accident as a gift and describes it as the best thing that has ever happened to him. He is a passionate believer that without the mountains he climbed, and more-so the Totem Pole accident, he would not have learnt some crucial life lessons.
Those lessons learned in the mountains got him through a harrowing injury, the painfully slow recovery process, and has engendered a life lived in the moment.
Heather Ellis is the author of Ubuntu: One Woman’s Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa, a memoir about a life-changing adventure into the soul of Africa that is filled with ‘survival-against-the-odds’ adventures. But it also unfolds as a deeply spiritual journey of personal growth that resonates with all who read Ubuntu. Following her travels across Africa, Heather continues her journey by motorcycle along the Silk Road and the sequel to Ubuntu based on this journey and will be available in mid-2018.
Heather has worked as a radiation safety technician, a motorcycle courier in London, a journalist for News Ltd and for the NGO, Plan International. She lives in the Yarra Valley near Melbourne with her three children, and still rides motorcycles.
Pint Sized Adventure – small girl, small bike, big distance. What could possibly go wrong?
Tam Kabat had only recently returned to motorcycling when her husband suggested she ride to Melbourne. Six weeks of planning and very late nights saw her not only set-off on her first solo trip, but with some major challenges to achieve around solo travel, self-sufficiency, low-budget travel and fund-raising. And all on a 250cc motorbike that was still too big for her tiny size!
Share in Tam’s joy, pain and frustration as she journeys across our amazing country, 7200km from Perth to Melbourne and return. Find out what has changed in the 2 years since finishing that first solo trip and how she keeps her travel dreams alive.
Tam wants to share her experiences with anyone who thinks they can’t get out there & explore on their own, or that adventures only happen in long trips away. Don’t let your size, gender, bike size, or lack of experience stop you from having the adventure of a lifetime!
Tam owns Overlander Adventure Equipment with her husband Xander, specialising in motorcycle & bicycle travel accessories. In 2009-10, they rode a motorcycle for 17 months through Europe, Africa and SE Asia, before unexpectedly landing in WA.
Gordon Bass is author of the recently published book The Last Great Australian Adventurer, the true tale of Ben Carlin and his astonishing journey around the world in an amphibious army jeep in the 1950s.
Born in Northam, Western Australia, Carlin achieved brief fame and notoriety for his death- defying, record-setting feat. But he was forgotten by the world long before the years-long journey was completed in 1958. Why? In his new book, Gordon delves into Carlin’s tumultuous life and times to discover what drove the the brilliant, hard-drinking former army major, why lasting fame eluded him – and why Carlin once stopped by to visit his father in the late 1960s.
Gordon has contributed to magazines from Men’s Journal to Wired, and is executive producer of the album Dirty Wonder by Nashville singer-songwriter K Phillips. He’s also bartended in Japan, taught English in Turkey and worked in a Texas bucket factory. He lives outside New York City.
Jacqui Kennedy and Linda Bootherstone
When these two get together, people start asking “what are they up to now?”
Linda has been riding for over 50 years, covering most of the world including Russia, Africa and South America. At 72 she refuses to slow down, although the bikes have been shrinking in the last few years.
Jacqui began life as a traveller and adapted to cultural changes first in New Guinea and then squished in a Kombi with her brothers. She has only been riding a mere 30 years – a good chunk of that with her daughter as pillion, touring Europe and Australia.
Both ladies share a love of the road and approach slow travel with the same relaxed attitude, very little planning and embrace every opportunity that crosses their path. After 3 years on a postie bike, Jacqui convinced Linda that she needed to downsize.
Find out how their latest adventure unfolded and see what mischief they got up to.
When her (now ex) boyfriend crashed her pride and joy 4WD after spending the preceding half an hour bagging her driving skills, Helen decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. She wrote A Lady 4WDer’s Guide to the Outback to encourage more females to breakthrough the mystery of outback driving and get out on the tracks. Currently living in the Pilbara, she’s travelled around Australia, written and photographed for 4WD magazines and continues to explore wild places with Larry, her trusty Landcruiser. What’s more, she loves a girls weekend away camping in the bush where there’s no arguing over the best place to camp, the fire gets lit without a chainsaw in sight, the car gets packed in skillful silence and there’s many a laugh over a bottle of red.