The Turner Twins
Hugo and Ross Turner, collectively known as The Turner Twins, are pioneering modern adventurers. Through their expeditions, they continue the search for new knowledge and inspire positive change.
They are currently on a global series to find the world’s Poles of Inaccessibility. These Poles of Inaccessibility are defined by being the furthest points away from a coastline. They are isolated, hazardous and are almost always remote. To date, they have found the centre points of Australia, South America and North America. Most recently, they reached the Iberian Pole of Inaccessibility on fully electric motorcycles.
Over the next few years they will try to reach the poles in Madagascar, Greenland, Eurasia and Point Nemo in the Southern Ocean. While on their expeditions, they capture everything on 360VR cameras. This content then sits on Google Expeditions App – an education platform available on any smart phone and around the globe, for everyone. They then use this 360VR to educate schools, young people and adults about the issues facing our planet and oceans.
Tessa Packard [TP]: What does it mean to be an explorer in the 21st Century?
Turner Twins [TT]: Fewer people are embarking on true exploration due to various reasons but one being the lack of new things to discover – be it geographical, biological or human. And secondly, sponsorship has becoming increasingly difficult to find. Many people have great and credible ideas but it’s usually the funding that suppresses their dreams and ideas.
[TP]: How much of exploration for you is about discovering the undiscovered, or seeing the unseen?
[TT]: It’s core to what we do and why we go on expeditions. We always have a purpose and ours is simple; to discover new knowledge whether geographical, medical, scientific or environmental.
[TP:] A large majority of your expeditions have seen you visit (and will see you visit) the ‘Poles of Inaccessibility’. What is it about poles that you find so enigmatic and inspiring?
[TT]: You have to think back to the golden age of discovery when men were exploring and finding the new world. These Poles of Inaccessibility were the furthest inland points from any coast (which is where early explorers landed their ships). They would have been the hardest points to reach and even to this day there are some Poles which have never been documented. Some have never been seen by mankind.
[TP]: Collectively, what would you like to leave behind as your legacy to the world? And individually, what drives each of you to do what you do?
[TT]: That through our expeditions we’ve helped document some of the planet’s last remaining, untouched places and Poles, and educated people about our impact on the planet. Individually, I think we’d like to encourage more people to follow their own dreams and careers choices.
[TP]: Over time, have your adventures and expeditions influenced your belief systems in any way?
[TT]: We’ve certainly recognised that living outside your comfort zone while in the outdoors, develops an appreciation of the natural world and that we’re the ones who will ultimately have to protect it.
[TP]: Of all the countries you have visited in the world, which has had the most affirmative impact on you (in terms of career aims and ambitions) and why? And in contrast, which country has brought you closest to packing it all in and seeking an alternative career path?
[TT]: I don’t think it’s a country but rather an Ocean. The Atlantic was where we realised just how small the world is and that striped of all your belongings, you can still appreciate the natural world. Nothing has impacted us more than staring at the stars of the mid Atlantic or watching the phosphorescence in the waves.
[TP]: What do you fear most at the start of any challenge?
[TT]: If we can deliver the project we promised to our valued partners. That’s the pressure you feel, not if you’ll come back in one piece. I guess that’s the reality of being a 21st Century adventurer.
[TP]: Is there anywhere in the world you are dying to explore right now, but can’t due to political instability or civil unrest?
[TT]: Democratic Republic of Congo would be up there. It’s hardly been commercialised for tourism and it’s got some incredible history, as well as an abundance of wildlife and untouched forests.
[TP]: You are currently working with King’s College London’s Department of Twin Research to help medical science better understand the nature of twins. What has been the most interesting or surprising fact that you have uncovered since the start of your partnership with them?
[TT]: Even though we have the same DNA and are genetically identical we’re different. Our gut bacteria is different meaning our bodies react to food in different ways. This could mean our health might differ, too, which is why KCL are studying this area of the gut.
[TP]: In your personal opinion, what should be enforced immediately to help reverse climate change?
[TT]: Population control would ultimately reduce the pressure on resources, but that’s a big ask. Significantly increase the cost of short haul flights. I feel that flying to Europe for a few days of sun is completely ridiculous.
[TP]: If you could change three things in the world what would they be?
[TT]: North and South Poles were still undiscovered, tourism to Antarctica heavily restricted and social media to have never been invented.
[TP]: What do you consider to be the greatest exploration success of the 20th Century? And by the same token, what do you consider to be the worst?
[TT]: It surely has to be landing on the moon. For exploration on planet earth it would be the first flight by the Wright brothers in 1903.
[TP]: If you could steal the first edition of any map, what would it be?
[TT]: The maps HMS Beagle produced during the surveying expeditions of Tierra del Fuego in the early 19th century.
[TP]: What matters more, ambition or talent?
[TT]: Ambition. There are so many facets of exploration that it would be impossible to achieve anything if you didn’t have drive and ambition.
[TP]: Fast forward 200 years, how do you think people will be relating to the natural world?
[TT]: Probably through national parks and nature reserves. If the population grows as it currently is, there’ll be little left of the natural world.
ON THE SPOT
Town or Countryside? Countryside
Favourite city? Melbourne
Your perfect dinner guest, dead or alive? Neil Armstrong
If you could time travel to any era it would be…? 19th Century
The best meal you’ve ever eaten is? Poke on the beach in Hawaii
The one essential you can’t leave home without? House keys
Pet hate? Rudeness
Biggest extravagance? Helicopter evacuation from the Greenland ice cap in 2014
Favourite book? World atlas
What would your gravestone read? Tried to live a full life that was twice as fast and half as long
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