Lots of people dream about travelling the world, and some lucky individuals get to do it for a living. Many of them have written books or starred in TV shows to document their incredible journeys, inspiring audiences to discover the world around them. It was hard to pick from all of these amazing people, but we’ve picked a few explorers which are bound to make you want adventures of your own.
Sir David Attenborough
Arguably, Sir David Attenborough is the most famous explorer in the world. With a career spanning several decades, he’s been to some of the most far-flung corners of the globe. He started out as a trainee at the BBC and went on to help create nature documentaries that captivated people across the world. He’s inspired generations to admire, and look after, our planet. If you want to follow in Attenborough’s footsteps, walking holidays let you discover places at your own pace.
Kira Salak has been described as a real-life Lara Croft. Her travels began when she took out from graduate school and travelled across Papua New Guinea. She was the first American woman to cross that country. She wrote a book about her travels, which caught the attention of National Geographic, where she became a regular contributor. She is known as a tough-adventurer – from surviving war zones to solo kayaking 600 miles. Salak shows solo travel is not only possible, but you’re capable of more than you realise.
Matthew Henson certainly led an adventurous life. He had been a skipper, training while travelling on a ship. He had already explored Asia, Africa, and Europe before meeting Robert Edwin Peary. The two of them had an expedition to the North Pole, which started in 1891 and ended in 1909. He was the first African American to accomplish this. You can read about his remarkable journey in his 1947 biography, Dark Companion.
Gertrude Bell defied expectations of being a woman in Victorian England. She travelled the world, climbed mountains, and was an expert in archaeology. She was the first woman to get a first honours degree in modern history from Oxford University. She was stranded on a rope for over 50 hours in the Alps before making it back down safely. This did not end her love of climbing. She wrote letters and books documenting her experiences. Bell teaches a valuable lesson to this day: don’t let the expectations of others hold you back.
Past and present explorers go to show that adventure is out there. The world has so many places to discover, and it’s worth pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to see as much of it as possible. Where in the world would you like to travel to?