Legendary Travelers

Nicole Dial shares some of the great travelers whose lives were changed by the better by traveling and who helped inspire others to leave their homes behind and see the world.

Here are some of the great travelers. These are men and women who circled the globe or trekked across treacherous lands in the name of adventure and exploration. This list is by no means complete as there are hundreds of heroes and travelers but here are a few to give you some inspiration to tackle a feat of your own.

Sir Richard Francis Burton: Not to be confused with the actor Richard Burton, this guy’s claim to fame was his translation of One Thousand and One Nights and The Kama Sutra into English. He is also known as a world renowned traveler and even traveled to Mecca and Medina in disguise since only Muslims are allowed in those holy cities. He even traveled throughout Africa in search of the source of the Nile. Burton also was something of a polyglot and knew nearly three dozen languages. Fluently. This guy could definitely give Indiana Jones a run for his money.

Amelia Earhart: This tomboy aviatrix defied social conventions of the day and broke plenty of flying records set by both men and women. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and made plenty of solo flights across both the Atlantic and the Pacific. Congress even awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross, making her the first woman to receive it. While attempting to circumnavigate the globe, she vanished somewhere in the Pacific though her legacy still lives on and she continues to inspire travelers.

Marco Polo: More than just a game you played when you were younger, Marco Polo was a trader in thirteenth century that traveled through Europe along the Silk Road to Asia. He spent a few decades roaming throughout Persia and China and even became tight friends with the Mongolian Emperor, Kublai Khan. Even after his death he inspirered others like Columbus to travel to Asia.

Theodore Roosevelt: TR makes this list because of his sheer badass-ness. Besides being one of the most kick ass presidents the US has even had, he was also a traveler and an ardent conservationist. He traveled in East Africa on Safaris and throughout South America and collected animal specimens. He pushed for the Panama Canal to be built and added more national state parks to the Union including the Grand Canyon. Among his lengthy list of accomplishments, he also tracked down outlaws, went skinny dipping in the Potomac, kept Hyenas in the White House and during an assassination attempt, he continued to give a 90 minute speech even after he’d been shot. If he’s not a real life hero, then I don’t know who is.

Freya Stark: This nomad was the first Western Woman to travel throughout the Middle East on her own.  She made several expeditions into Iran and Arabia and even found the legendary Valley of the Assassins. She spent the rest of her life traveling and writing extensively about her travels. She became interested in traveling to the Middle East after reading One Thousand and One Nights (Thank you Sir Richard Burton!)

Ernesto “Che” Guevara: Before he was a famed revolutionary, he was a traveler. After he graduated college, he and one of his friends took a motorcycle and traveled throughout Latin America. These travels changed his life as he witnessed poverty and disease firsthand and had several encounters with people along the way that helped to shape his political and moral convictions.

Nicole Dial is a freelance writer and photographer by night and a starving artist by day. You can follow her at @nicolemdial.

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