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British adventurer, fundraiser and inspirational speaker
It’s fair to say that Julian Evans is addicted to adventure. Juggling work commitments as a proprietary partner at Knight Frank LLP and a family, we’re in awe of Jules' commitment to complete an adventure each year, whilst raising significant funds for worthy causes such as the Matt Hampson Charity.
We caught up with Jules to understand what motivates him and his pursuit of the Explorers Grand Slam, a challenge to reach the North Pole, the South Pole and all of the Seven Summits. With just Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America, to summit, Julian has his goal firmly in sight.
What motivated you to become an adventurer to this scale?
“Off the back of marathons, in particular the Marathon des Sables, I found I quite liked endurance events. Then after summiting Kilimanjaro, I fell upon the Adventurers Grand Slam which is summiting the highest mountain on each continent and walking to the North and South Pole. All in all, it’s quite addictive!”
You've achieved so much. You've reached the North and South Poles on foot, completed the Marathon des Sables and summited some of the world's most iconic mountains including Mount Everest, Denali and Mont Blanc. What continues to drive you to do these challenges?
“In 2005, a local rugby player, Matt Hampson, tragically broke his neck whilst training with England. Matt is now paraplegic, but is an absolute inspiration, you can not fail to be impressed by him.
So, I thought I’d raise money for him and his foundation whilst trying to complete the Grand Slam.”
You summited Everest back in May 2019. What's your next challenge?
“I annually try to undertake a major expedition, my aim was to get back to Aconcagua last year, but that was a no go. So, this year I plan to return to Antarctica for another polar expedition and to celebrate Knight Frank’s 125-year anniversary.”
How do you train for such challenges?
“Frankly, by consistently maintaining a good level of fitness, via lots of weekly cardio. But also, when at work, simple things like rarely using lifts and walking instead of taking the tube or taxis. I joined the other EB ambassadors with Project Vertical virtual climb of Ben Nevis, but decided to push to the height of Everest up the staircase at my office - it took me nearly 10 hours and a whole lot of steps! It all adds up!”
Do you have one piece of kit that goes everywhere with you on your expeditions?
“I sure do, a Union Jack that has been on every expedition with me and a photo of my family which I keep in a pendant.”
As a proprietary partner of Knight Frank LLP you manage to juggle work commitments, with a family and still dedicate yourself to raising money for charities whilst exploring. What's your secret?
“Firstly, I’m super lucky that I have amazing support and understanding from family, friends and colleagues. Secondly, if you want something enough, you can make it happen – you’ve just got to put the hours in by getting up a little earlier!”
To date you've raised more than £1 million. How are you finding fundraising at this difficult time?
“I’ve got an awesome client base, but also Knight Frank, who are very philanthropic and are incredibly supportive of the Matt Hampson Foundation. They just ‘get it’.”
As an inspirational and motivating speaker can you share any key moments with us from events you've spoken at? Do you get nervous before speaking and if so, how do you overcome your nerves?
“Probably the one that grasps the audience the most is me reciting a polar bear encounter/attack at minus 63c in Antarctica, and more latterly on Everest 2019, which turned out to be one of the deadliest ever seasons. However, I rarely get nervous about presenting these days, but I do get excited to promote The Matt Hampson Foundation!”
It’s great to have you on board as an Elliot Brown ambassador. How did that come about? What watch did you select to wear and why?
“I’d heard Elliot Brown had been producing some fantastic watches for a special branch of the Armed Forces, and so the Holton Automatic was a natural choice for me. It’s brilliant for both the outdoors and work life. It’s a privilege to be an Elliot Brown ambassador.”