Happiest in the mountains or surrounded by ice and snow in the high artic, Justine has completed many multi-week, self supported, solo expeditions. She has walked the whole length of Finland solo, skied across the frozen north west passage in arctic Canada, and cycled across Europe, as examples of her adventures. Alongside her love of a challenge and wilderness, she also works for the world health organisation and is currently completing a PhD in priorities for health systems in disasters and conflict. Justine has a passion for writing about her travels for national newspapers and travel magazines, and sharing her adventures on social media.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself and how you started your expeditions?
Adventure combines my love of the outdoors, physical activity, travel and learning. It started with travelling to more remote and off the beaten track places, becoming more self sufficient and having less and less support. Also from surrounding myself with like minded and supportive people.
When and where was your first expedition?
My first big solo expedition was to walk the length of Finland from the arctic north, to the capital in the south. I covered a distance of nearly 1,000 miles in a 7 weeks. It’s still my favourite expedition I’ve ever done and the only one I would do again.
How do you juggle your PhD and busy schedule?
I’m not sure I can say I am! It’s a struggle but I’m really motivated and interested in the topic of evaluating health systems in disasters and conflict. I start work at 7 most mornings, work evenings and a few hours at weekends. I do give myself plenty of time off though and progress is slow.
Favourite place you have ever travelled?
Easy. The arctic
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t wait around for people. Do it for you.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
No one particular person, I take inspiration from people I meet or things I read all the time.
What does a typical day in a life look like?
A weekday: Up at 6:30, work 7-4/5pm, the take a walk or go for a run. If I’m not out for the evening, I then cook dinner and after, I write for 2-3 hours, I try to read a bit before bed, even if just for 20 mins. Bed by 10:30 latest as I’m knackered.
If you had a different career path, what would it be?
Every time I see helicopters in the mountains dropping supplies or doing rescues I think “wow, that’s such a cool job”.
Where will you be travelling to next?
I’m going to Poland to look at ways of supporting Ukrainian refugees with disabilities, and then maybe into Ukraine.
Where do you see yourself, and your adventures in the next 5 years?
Big adventures to the arctic stopped for 3 years due to the pandemic. I definitely need to brush up my skills and fitness. As I have many other commitments with work and my PhD, I’ll focus on perhaps 2-3 I really want to undertake.