The Jonesys /

By Mark McConville

MEET the married couple trekking more than ONE THOUSAND miles on foot across the Australian outback with their one-year-old daughter.

Incredible images show Justin Jones (34) and his wife Lauren (37) with their one-year-old daughter Morgan on their journey through the bush where they have so far completed 621 out of 1118-miles.

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Striking shots show the family of three relaxing in the outback, little adventurer Morgan exploring her surroundings and Justin dragging a cart of supplies that can weigh up to 240kg while Lauren pulls the slightly lighter 70kg cart.

Professional adventurer, corporate speaker and documentary maker Justin, from Sydney, Australia, has already completed two world first expeditions but has now brought a literal meaning to the expression ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

In his twenties, he kayaked a total distance of 2061-miles in 62 days as he travelled from Australia to New Zealand and traversed Antarctica from the coast to the pole and back, totalling 1413-miles.

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Sustainability and corporate strategist Lauren, from Seattle, Washington, USA, explained how she and Morgan ended up joining Justin on his latest trek.

“For his third expedition, he wanted to do something closer to home and wanted to explore his home country Australia,” she said.

“His original plan was to traverse the length of Australia, through some of the most remote deserts and areas in the world. Then he met me, fell in love, got married and when we had our first child Morgan.

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“All of a sudden being away for four to six months felt like a bigger deal than before and he didn’t want to miss out on seeing her grow up and change.

“So, we started to talk about ways that we could merge having a family life and an adventurous life and from there our trip was born.

“We decided to do the desert expedition as a young family of three with our one-year-old in tow, roughly traversing half of Australia from the centre down to the coast to Port Augusta through the remote and rugged Australian Outback – on foot.”

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The Jones family started their expedition on July 20th and expect to finish on October 28th. They began their journey at Kaltukatjara (Docker River) near the border of Western Australia and have passed some of Australia’s most iconic places along the way including Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), Uluru (Ayers Rock), Mount Connor, Mulga Park, Kulgera, Aputula (Finke), Oodnadatta, Lake Eyre, and Lake Torrens.

“The purpose of this expedition is to merge a family life and an adventurous life,” said Lauren.

“We are attempting to settle down differently and break free of the traditional confines, safety and security that often go hand in hand with having children, at least for a period of time.

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“We want to take ourselves out of some of the trappings and the hustle and bustle of our normal city life to create space and time for what really matters and learn to let go of what doesn’t.

“It’s also important for us that we help raise a resilient, curious, strong and kind child; a child that appreciates and protects nature and we feel like the best way to do this is to lead by example and get outside.”
Having a young child along for the ride has also presented some unique challenges but it has been rewarding to watch her grow up in this environment according to the family.

“Morgan just started walking one week before we left Sydney and headed out to the bush on our expedition,” said Justin.

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“To see her not only learn to walk but run in the Outback, and adapt and thrive in one of the most unique, beautiful but also harshest and most remote areas in the world, is amazing.

“We can’t think of a better early life experience then being surrounded by nature 24/7 and learning from the school of life.

“She waves good morning to trees, says ‘night night’ to the sun, has learned fire safety and helps us collect wood for the campfire. She knows what stars, moon, trees, birds, sky, sun, sand, dirt and rocks are. She knows what sound an Emu makes. She’s petted baby cows, rode a pony and slept under a million stars.

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“The most dangerous things we have to look out for, for us and probably more keenly for our daughter, are snakes. It’s a fine balance between letting her walk around and explore and making sure you have a keen eye out for snakes hiding in the brush, grass or bushes.”

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