Jacki Hill-Murphy MA, FRGS is an explorer, teacher, film maker and speaker and has spent the past few years exploring and filming some of the most inhospitable and remote places on earth. There are many reasons why she loves being an explorer including gathering memorable experiences that last forever recorded on film and in writing, pushing herself to the limit and being loosed from her cultural moorings. Her first major expedition was in 1988 when she crossed Africa via the Sahara Desert and West Africa, she has since been to South America, Africa, India, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Russia and lived in Turkey and the United States.
Jacki’s favourite quote is: “Off the beaten track is the real world” Isabella Bird.
The Recreating the Journeys of the Early Women Explorers Project is now in its tenth year and Jacki is completing the book about it. The fusion of amazing, unsung women from history, travel and film making has become a passion for her. So far Jacki has recreated the journeys of:
- Isabella Godin, the first women down the Amazon in 1769. This was done by travelling down the River Bobonaza in Ecuador and onto the River Pastaza in Peru in a dugout canoe and investigating the real truth behind her story at each landmark.
- Mary Kingsley, who climbed Mount Cameroon in Africa in 1894 by a new route and nearly perished from the shear enormity of the the undertaking.
- Isabela Brookes, who died in the Llanganates in Ecuador in 1912. This was part of the ‘Search for Gold’ expedition that she organised with Ken Hames of BBC Beyond Boundaries as survival leader.
- Isabella Bird, who crossed the Digar-La Pass in Ladakh on a yak in 1889. Jacki relived every aspect of Isabella’s book during her 150 mile trek which included finding the house she stayed in and having tea with the King of Ladakh.
- Kate Marsden who undertook a gruelling journey by horse, sledge and cart thousands of miles across Siberia to take relief to the lepers in 1892. Jacki replicated her journey as closely as possible on buses, trains and boats.
Jacki feels that these women’s achievements were sensational for their era as they endured massive hardships while receiving little or no support and showed tremendous courage. They were pioneers in an age that did not celebrate female accomplishment as highly as we do today.
Other expeditions she has filmed are Crossing the Empty Quarter in Oman twice and the Atlantic Rowing Race in 2009.
Jacki is the mother of an adult son who is a photographer.