James Holman by Maull & Polyblank, c. 1855

James Holman, the “Blind Traveller”

Once a celebrated travel writer, Holman struggled to find a publisher for his books thanks to a Victorian reluctance to witness his disability.
Ada Blackjack

Ada Blackjack’s Secret Weapon

Memories of her son helped Blackjack to become the sole survivor of an ill-fated expedition to Wrangel Island.
Cyclist and writer Dervla Murphy in Barcelona in 1956

Dervla Murphy: The Godmother of Hitting the Road

Perhaps the greatest female travel writer of her generation, Murphy defied the narrative of the dutiful Irish daughter—and motherhood—to find freedom.
Matthew Alexander Henson, 1910

The First Black American to Reach the North Pole

Matthew Henson partnered with Robert Peary on seven Arctic adventures, but their final success brought an end to a longstanding collaboration.
Lady Florence Baker

Florence Baker, Unsung Survivor

Narrowly escaping slavery herself, Baker risked her life to repress the Saharan slave trade, sought the source of the Nile, and challenged Victorian social conventions.
Elizabeth Kapuʻuwailani Lindsey with her mentor, navigator-priest Pius "Mau" Piailug. Photo by Nick Kato

Pius “Mau” Piailug: Master Navigator of Micronesia

Mau used traditional skills to guide a canoe from Hawaiʻi to Tahiti, sharing his navigational knowledge with others to keep the wayfinding traditions alive.
Tenzing Norgay

Tenzing Norgay: The Mountaineer Who Refused to be Categorized

By remaining vague about his own biography, Norgay called into question the idea of nationhood and made a deafening point about actions speaking louder than words.
Isabelle Eberhardt, 1895

Isabelle Eberhardt: Travel’s Rebel with a Cause

A hash-smoking, cross-dressing woman traveling the Sahara in the early 1900s, Eberhardt unpicked the fabric of society just by being herself.