My travel life: Jon Muir, corporate speaker, adventure guide

THE TRAVELLER

Jon Muir OAM, adventurer, corporate speaker, adventure guide, cinematographer and author who is hosting a five-day stay at his farm, with World Expeditions, as a chance to go off-grid.

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED

I haven't got enough fingers and toes to answer that.

ANY PASSPORT MISHAPS?

I've had a few, but compared to being struck by lightning three times, engulfed by seven avalanches or having a polar bear charge me, to mention just a few challenging situations, my passport mishaps are not worth mentioning.

I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT WHEN I WAS

Eleven in 1972. I travelled on a world tour with my parents and our first stop-over was Hawaii. The volcanic islands totally blew my mind, having previously not left NSW. This was the beginning of my fascination with the wild landscapes of our planet.

MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS

Well, my beard and hair were a bit long so I look like Ned Kelly which is probably a bit of a red light for airport security. I did get the full pat-down entering the USA recently. Not sure if  that was because of my photo or because of the real me, with all the bones and teeth hanging around my neck?

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO

Wild, unpeopled places because in the natural world I feel most at peace.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS

Outback South Australia in March and April to canoe down Kallakoopah Creek, which only flows through the Arunta Desert once a decade or so. After three weeks' paddling, we finished up on the north shore of Lake Eyre and, as planned, burned our boat before being picked up by the Cowarie Station mustering chopper.

MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS

I don't like to talk about what I'm "gunna" do until I've done it.

I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO

Being alone in the wilderness with no contact with anyone, allowing for a deeper immersion and connection with the environment.

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WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS

To move in harmony and balance through a wild landscape with a very light footprint which grounds me solidly in the wonder of "now".

I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE

Travel broadens one's horizons, leading to a greater understanding of ourselves and the unique planet on which we live.

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS

Travelling simply and light, sleeping under the stars wherever possible. I like to go to places that are currently uninhabited. If I can move over a part of the landscape that no one has ever travelled before, all the better. For example, my 1500 kilometre journey to the South Pole in 1998-1999.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS

Bringing the "untamed me" home from my travels, which can lead to unexpected complications. For example, on an expedition when it's intensely cold we use a "pee" bottle at night. You don't have to get up for a pee, you don't even have to get out of bed. You lie on your side and pee into the bottle, making sure you put the lid on tight. A few months after my return form the North Pole, I dreamt I was still out there, but was woken abruptly by [then girlfriend] Suzy asking, "What is that sound?" My answer, "It's me peeing off the side of the bed." We'd only been together for a few weeks. This incident gave Suzy an inkling of what she might be in for, being married to a professional adventurer.

THE ONE THING I REALLY DO GET RIGHT WHEN I TRAVEL IS

Coming back alive with all my fingers and toes. In the extreme environments through which I journey – from the oceans and rivers, to deserts, the poles and the highest and most difficult mountains in the world – effective risk analysis is often the difference between life and death.

IF I HAD TO SIT IN THE MIDDLE SEAT THE OTHER PASSENGERS I'D WANT ON EITHER SIDE OF ME WOULD BE

The first person to walk out of Africa and, being Australian myself, the first person to arrive in Australia. I'm fascinated by pre-history and world exploration and I'd be keen to understand more clearly the motivation and lives of those ancient travellers. Were their journeys driven by population pressure, following a food source or that curiosity for the far horizon that resides in all of us?

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS

The Polynesian seafarers whose names have been lost to history. I admire them because of their ability to traverse vast swathes of the Pacific Ocean in dug-out canoes.

THE ONE FAMOUS PERSON I'D LIKE TO TRAVEL WITH IS

The Dalai Lama because he has a beautifully balanced mind and I like his sense of humour.

AIRLINE FOOD IS

Much better than no food at all. I've been on several expeditions where I've lost a third of my body weight and any food is better than no food.

AIRPORT SECURITY IS

Better than no airport security. Much better.

HOTELS ARE

A shelter to stay in if it's pouring with rain or you have the misfortune to be stuck in some city, heaven forbid!

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO

The place where The Wombles live, or, Charlie's Chocolate Factory. Everyone wants to go there, right? Seriously though, there are destinations in Australia with  the opportunity to combine a paddling and walking adventure. Having previously guided a few similar trips, I'd love to get back out there with a small group keen on an unusual wilderness experience. I love the solo journey but a team expedition is equally rewarding.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO

A war zone.

AISLE OR WINDOW?

Window, because you can get a unique glimpse of our planet.

See worldexpeditions.com

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