Who is/was the world’s greatest traveler?

Back in 2006, Wanderlust asked a selection of experts to pick the person who they believe has most changed the way we travel. There list of top 10 best travelers of all time was:

  • FRIDTJOF NANSEN (1861-1930)
  • CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (1451-1506)
  • XUANZANG (602-644 OR 664)
  • IBN BATTUTA (1304-1368 OR 1377)
  • APHRA BEHN (1640-1689)
  • CAPTAIN JAMES COOK (1728-1779)
  • CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882)
  • SIR RICHARD BURTON (1821-1890)
  • YURI GAGARIN (1934-1968)
  • MICHAEL PALIN (1943-)

In 2014 Matthew Kepnes came up with another list of 10 amazing adventures who paved the way for future explorers and inspired generations of wanderlust. There were four names that made both lists, but six new names in the frame.

  • Fridtjof Nansen
  • Christopher Colombus
  • Xuanzang
  • Ibn Battuta
  • Marco Polo
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Ernest Shackleton
  • Freya Stark
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Neil Armstrong

For space exploration Neil Armstrong instead of Yuri Gagarin. Modern day traveler and national treasure Michael Palin had been dropped in favour of Ernest Hemingway.

And a woman had made the list – Freya Stark, ‘the last of the Romantic travelers.’

Moving on to 2017 and George Stone lists his top 10 travelers through history. Xuanzang and Ibn Battuta are still on the list. So is Freya Stark, who is joined by Isabella Lucy Bird and Kira Salak. Michael Palin also makes a return.

  • XUANZANG
  • IBN BATTUTA
  • THOMAS JEFFERSON
  • HOMER
  • STRABO
  • ISABELLA LUCY BIRD
  • FREYA STARK
  • BRUCE CHATWIN
  • MICHAEL PALIN
  • KIRA SALAK

Who would you say are your top travelers?

Who currently influences you to travel?

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