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Modern-day explorer to give motivational speech

Justin Jones and James Castrission were the first people to make it to the South Pole of Antarctica and back on foot.

Justin Jones has some pretty impressive ticks on his bucket list.

Along with partner James Castrission, they were the first people to travel from Australia to New Zealand in a kayak, and the first people to walk to the South Pole, Antarctica, and back.

When not risking their lives on outrageous expeditions, they work as Sydney-based motivational speakers sharing stories of the strategies that led to their incredible adventures.

Their next expedition will be to Tumut, on Wednesday, May 24.

A joint organisational and fundraising effort from Franklin Public School and Batlow Technology School will see three sessions with Justin: with primary school kids in the morning, high schoolers in the afternoon, and the wider community in the evening.

All the highland schools will be invited, and community members are encouraged to get in contact with Franklin (6266 3216) or Batlow Tech (6949 1208) to express interest.

Franklin Public Principal Carmel Stuckey said Justin has a lot to teach.

“What struck me most about their videos was the importance of planning. How to plan, how to problem solve, how to goal set, how to prepare for possible problems. They also talk about motivation: when something doesn’t go right, how do you deal with that?

“I saw a clip of the two of them talking about when they were in school. They were talking about how they were a bit geeky, a bit overweight – and they challenged each other. It was really interesting listening to them banter: look at us then, look at us now!

“They talk about mindfulness, how you have to be in the right state of mind, how you challenge yourself, how you prepare, how you work as a team.

“In a rural town, to get someone of this calibre to come and speak about his experiences; I think it’s really important to take advantage of it.”

Batlow Principal Greg Hodges agreed that it will certainly be a thought-provoking day.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said.

“They’re like Hamish and Andy, that’s the personality. He’s a bit wacky, he’s only in his thirties but he’s a real high achiever.

“Twelve months before they went to the South Pole, they didn’t know how to ski. You can see videos of them up at Thredbo, learning to ski – and they were planning on going to the South Pole!”

The sessions will be held at the Montreal Theatre, where Justin Jones will also be screening videos taken on his exploits. The cost for community members will be $20.