Of all the industries to change in 2020, travel is one of the biggest. So how will we explore in a post-pandemic climate? We chat to Henry Brydon, founder of We Are Explorers, about where we go from here.
While Australia’s borders are finally opening up again, it’s going to be a while before international travel is back on the cards. And when we are able to explore further afield, we’ll be doing it differently. We’re more likely to be travelling more slowly and more sustainably. And, for now, we’ll be exploring our own backyards.
That’s what Henry Brydon, founder of We Are Explorers, reckons anyway. We Are Explorers are a media company that started out as a blog in 2014. Henry had just cycled from Shrewsbury (in the UK) to Sydney (a journey worthy of its very own story), and he struggled to find information on local adventures to have with friends around NSW.
“There didn’t seem to be much around that got me excited about exploring outdoors and living this adventurous life,” Henry explains. “So I started this blog to help me and my mates out. We were just trying to celebrate the Australian outdoors in a really accessible, fun, beautiful way.”
The blog clicked, and We Are Explorers started building an audience. Today, they’ve got six full time staff and over 250 writers and photographers contributing to the site, which focuses on adventurous journeys within Australia. The team believe that adventures can be had every day – what Henry refers to as ‘microadventures’ – and that you can explore without having to take time off.
“You guys have the most magical places in the world to explore here in Australia,” Henry laughs. “There’s so much to experience here before we even think about heading overseas.”
The ethos around We Are Explorers is to travel responsibly; to positively impact the places we travel to, and the people that live there.
“Our mission is to get people outdoors, and become advocates for looking after it,” Henry says.
This means ditching the idea of a bucket list, which can lead to overcrowding and unsustainable travel, and being more mindful about the decisions we make when we’re on the road.
“With micro travel, you can actually have a heap of travel experiences on a much more local scale,” Henry explains. “Not only does that keep you topped up in terms of your fix for travel, but you're doing more for the environment by not getting on planes, keeping it local, and supporting local.”
Along with sharing epic ideas for awesome local travel, We Are Explorers are also running annual environmental initiatives. Last year, they crowdfunded $30,000 to buy – and ultimately protect – a hectare of the Daintree. This year, they’re raising another $30,000 to Rewild the Snowy Mountains, which will culminate in a tree-planting party in 2021.
“We’re not just shaking a digital can on the internet, saying ‘Throw your money in!’” Henry says. “We’re bringing people into the story and into the journey, so that people who donate can become long-term advocates for these projects.”
We Are Explorers have just received B Corp certification (they actually got their B Corp status the same day we got ours!). Receiving the certification was no easy feat, but it’s something Henry and the team are immensely proud of.
“You feel like you’re part of something quite special, and that you’re in this inner circle,” Henry says. “I think having the certification has encouraged more of our partners to take us even more seriously; now they see us in a more positive light.”
Throughout the B Corp certification process, Henry decided to make the switch to Bank Australia.
“I banked with one of the Big Four and, once I started exploring where they were investing, I was pretty alarmed,” he explains. “Given the environmental bent of our publication, and that they’re not investing in fossil fuels, Bank Australia really stood out to me as an ethical bank.”
Read more about what it means to be a B Corp here.
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