Our world is of limited size and by this day and age, practically everywhere has been explored. I often feel a little disheartened to know that there are no truly new discoveries left to uncover (on Earth). Only 400 years ago there were continents left undiscovered and unlimited possibilities as to what may lie over the next horizon. That doesn’t exist for us in our modern world, which means we have to be creative in coming up with new ways to do things and to get around.
Below are some people who have truly excelled at this, often being the first to achieve feats of extraordinary endurance and fortitude. To me, being an adventurer doesn’t necessarily mean being the first to do something. It simply means pushing the boundaries & taking risks in the pursuit of extra-ordinary physical challenges. This is what being a great modern day adventurer entails.
To me, Mike Horn is the greatest modern adventurer, accomplishing more in a greater variety of fields than all other on this list (except perhaps the bloke below..). Mike has circumnavigated the Earth at the equator, walked to the North Pole in the depths of winter, navigated the length of the Amazon and climbed 8,000m peaks amongst other things. Pretty incredible individual.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
“When Arctic and Antarctic explorer Ranulph Fiennes wife first suggested he go round the world from top to bottom instead of side to side he replied:
“No sane person even tries to do it. If it were possible it would have been done. All oceans have been crossed west to east, north to south, solo, on rafts, backwards and sideways. All major mountains have been climbed and all rivers traveled up to their source and back down again. People have gone round the world by horse, bicycle and probably by broomstick. They have parachuted from over 30,000ft and gone paddling to the deepest spots in the deepest seas. Quite apart from strolling around on the moon.”
She was unimpressed. “You’re saying it can’t be done because it hasn’t been done. Is that it? That’s pathetic.”
Not only does Ranulph Fiennes achieve incredible feats of endurance, he does it all to raise money for worthy causes. Described by Guinness as “the worlds greatest modern explorer”, Sir Fiennes has raised over $20,000,000 for numerous charities.
Has broken adventure world records and climbed 167 country high points amongst other pursuits. Check out this interview with Ginge Fullen for everything you need to know.
Renowned as a polar explorer, Eric completed a world record ‘Save the Poles’ expedition where he reached the South pole, north pole and Everest all within 365 days. He has made multiple other expeditions to the poles and may have covered more polar miles than anyone else.
Now purely in terms of adventure, Sir Branson probably doesnt belong on this list. What he does achieved adventure wise however; hot air ballooning across the Atlantic, kite-surfing across the English channel, record-breaking atlantic crossings, in addition to founding and running one of the largest private enterprises in the world, is truly incredible. Yeh, I’m a big fan. (His book is a must-read)
From his website bio, pretty much sums it all up;
Jason Lewis is an award-winning author, adventurer and sustainability campaigner specializing in human-powered expeditions. He is recognized by Guinness World Records as the first person to circumnavigate the Earth without using motors or sails: walking, cycling, and inline skating five continents, and kayaking, swimming, rowing, and pedalling a boat across the rivers, seas, and oceans. Taking thirteen years to complete, the 46,505-mile journey was hailed “the last great first for circumnavigation” by the London Sunday Times.
Certainly the most unique entry on this list. Erik has climbed the 7 Summits and solo kayaked the 277 Mile Grand Canyon earning him a nomination as National Geographics ‘adventurer of the year’. What makes his accomplishments even more remarkable? He is blind.
That’s right, he reached the summit of the worlds highest mountain without being able to see. He also holds the title of the worlds first blind solo paraglider. Living proof that you can accomplish your dreams, no matter what your condition.
You may not know the name but no doubt you will have heard of the exploits this crazy bastard gets up to. Nicknamed “The French Spiderman”, Robert is famous for free-climbing the worlds highest skyscrapers without any safety equipment, usually getting arrested immediately afterwards.
The list of building he has climbed illegally is far too long to list, you might want to check out his Wikipedia page.
Felix gained worldwide fame in 2012 when he skydived from the stratosphere, breaking numerous world records along the way. He reached a speed of 1,357.64 km/h, breaking the speed of sound, the first person to do so without vehicular power. He also broke records for exit altitude, vertical freefall distance without drogue, and vertical speed without drogue. Great addition to top off this list of modern adventurers.