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Real Life Men of Adventure

Updated on August 18, 2014

Men of Adventure

Adventure Stories
Adventure Stories

The Real Indiana Jones

When I was a kid, like most young boys, I loved reading exciting adventure stories and watching movies about explorers penetrating deep into the darkest heart of Africa. One of my most vivid and fantastic memories is of the first time I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen at the local town hall. I grew up in a rural community where there was no cinema so this was a big event for us! What I saw that day absolutely blew me away and it remains one of my favorite movies till this day. Raiders fed my addiction for this kind of swashbuckling tale for the rest of my life.

However, as I grew older, I started to realize that there actually were real life men and women just like the ones I worshiped from the stories. People like Roy Chapman Andrews and Jack London who lived exciting lives of danger and exploration, espionage and romance. Far more exciting, and often more unbelievable, than even the wildest adventure of any fictional character, these daredevils will keep you on the edge of your seat with the tales of their travels and near death experiences.

African Explorer

Victorian Explorer
Victorian Explorer

Dr. David Livingstone

Dr. Livingstone, I presume?

Anyone who's ever been interested in any kind of exploration (or seen one of the early Bugs Bunny cartoons) knows the phrase "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?" Well that's this guy, Doctor David Livingstone, a Scottish, African explorer of the late 1800's. If you don't believe that truth is often stranger (and far more exciting than fiction) then listen to this: After Livingstone died in Africa, in Chief Chitambo's village, the British Victorian government requested the return of his body for proper, ceremonial burial. Chief Chitambo yielded to the request but cut out Livingstone's heart and buried it uried under a Mvula tree near the spot where Livingstone had died. The chief then pinned a note to Livingstone's body that read "You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa!"

Darkest Africa

This reprint of the original 1876 edition contains Livingstone's full report on his travels through Africa, including lithographic illustrations, facsimiles of notebooks, plus diary entries, letters, and more. As a missionary, Livingstone was the first white man to trek across the continent and record details of the inhabitants as well as the unique flora and fauna. More than an explorer, Livingstone battled the export of natives as slaves.

Inspiration for Indiana Jones

Roy Chapman Andrews
Roy Chapman Andrews

Roy Chapman Andrews

The Man Who Hunted Dragons

I promise you that you will never read a more exciting life story than that of Roy Chapman Andrews. Roy was a man of indomitable will and exceptional personal motivation and his story is a true example of what a man can do if he really puts his mind to it. He was so intent on working at the American Museum of Natural History that, when he applied there after finishing college and was told that there were no openings, he took a job as a janitor! This was a preposterous cause of action for a 'college man' but he could not be dissuaded and eventually rose to become the Director of that esteemed institution.

Even if you are not interested in explorers and their dangerous travels to barbaric realms like Outer Mongolia, Roy's integrity and moral character make reading about him and his accomplishment worthwhile as a fine example of what all men can be at their very best.

The First Dinosaur Eggs

In search of Dinosaurs

Andrews is best known as the man that tamed Mongolia and the savagely unforgiving Gobi Desert where he fought brigands, sand storms, deadly snakes and discovered the first ever fossilized dinosaur egg.

He even coined the term Outer Mongolia.

This is simply the most thrilling and inspiring biography I have ever read. If there is any adventure in your soul at all, read this book.

Great American Author

Jack London, Adventurer
Jack London, Adventurer

Jack & CHarmian London

Jack London

Fiction based on an adventurous life

Jack London, among all the modern age adventurers, has always held a special place for me, to the extent that I made a special trip to visit the famous Wolf House and stand beside his unpretentious grave, a simple red rock in the forest. This incredible individual was, unquestionably, an unparalleled writer, but he was also very much more than that. Possessed by untamed spirit of exploration and an endless will to see what's over the next mountain, Jack was a man who's personal life was far more interesting than any work of fiction could ever be.

Jack's thrilling life was the inspiration for many of his best known works such as The Call of the Wild, White Fang and, my personal favorite, The Sea Wolf. Jack served on a sealing schooner, participated in the Klondike gold rush and even spent time as an oyster pirate. Don't cheat yourself of the experience to learn about this incredible man, read one of his biographies.

Jack London Sailor

The Cruise of the Snark (Penguin Classics)
The Cruise of the Snark (Penguin Classics)

Read about Jack and his wife, Charmian, as they set forth, determined to circumnavigate the globe on a yacht of Jack's own design, The Snark. Named for Lewis Caroll's poem The Hunting of the Snark, Jack and Charmaine dearly loved their boat but their dream voyage was destined for doom.


The Man Who Saw D-Day

ernest hemingway
ernest hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is most commonly remembered for his contribution to literature, for which he won the nobel prize, by the way. But it 's his thrill seeking life style that most intrigues me about this fascinating character. He was present at D-Day during World War 2 as a war correspondent, was an ambulance driver in World War I where he was seriously wounded and sent home. He really was a larger than life human being and his life is a dramatic tale of highs and lows.

Hemingway's Injuries

Far better than any brief outline that I could give as a means of describing Hemingway's exciting life is a list of injuries he suffered. One glance at this will tell you that this man lived life without holding anything back.

Hemingway injuries:

Infancy: left eye defective from birth/mysterious minor operation.
Childhood: falls with stick in throat, gouges tonsils, catches fishook in back
1915-1917: boxing injuries, football injuries
Spring 1918: fist through glass showcase
July 8, 1918: concussed and wounded by trench mortar and machine gun
October 1918: jaundice
Early 1919: tonsils removed, operation on injured leg
June 1920: cuts feet walking on glass
July 1920: falls on boat cleat, internal hemorrhage
April 1922: burns from hot-water heater
October 1922: malaria
September 1925: tears ligament in right foot
June 1927: anthrax in cut foot
September 1927: swollen, itchy hands and feet
December 1927: Bumby (his son) cuts pupil of good right eye.
December 1927: grippe, hemorrhoids, toothache
March 1928: pulls skylight on forehead; needs stitches, welt forms
October 1929: tears muscle in groin, kidney trouble
May 1930: cuts right index finger punching bag
August 1930: breaks right arm in car accident
Summer 1931: eye trouble, needs glasses
April 1932: bronchial pneumonia
October 1933: throat operation
January 1934: amoebic dysentery; prolapsed large intestine, blood poisoning in the right index finger.
January 1935: recurrence of dysentery
April 1935: shoots himself in legs gaffing shark
February 1936: breaks big toe kicking locked gate
1937?: dropkicks foot through mirror
August 1938: scratches pupil of bad left eye
December 1938: severe liver complaint
May 1944: second concusssion when car strikes water tank in blackout
August 1944: third concussion jumping from motorcycle into ditch; suffers double vision and impotence.
December 1944: pneumonia, coughs up blood
June 1945: car overturns; head goes into mirror, knee injured
August 1947---: hypertension
December 1948: ringing in ears
March 1949: erysipelas, hospitalized in Padua
September 1949: clawed while playing with lion
February 1950: skin infection
July 1950: fourth concussion; gashes head falling on boat
September 1950: leg pains from encysted shell fragments
August 1953: second dysentery
October 1953: cuts face, sprains shoulder, falling out of car.
January 1954: two plain crashes in Africa; fifth concussion, fractured skull, internal bleeding, paralyzed sphincter muscle, two cracekd spine discs, ruptured liver, right kidney, and spleen, dislocated right arm and shoulder, first degree burns.
January 1954: severe burns fighting fire
January 1955: rash on face and chest
November 1955: nephritis, hepatitis, anemia, swollen right foot, 40 days in bed with hepatitis
November 1956: hypertension, high cholestoral, arteriosclerosis
October 1958: sprains ankle, tears heel ligaments climbing fence
July 1959: car goes off road near Burgos


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    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      4 years ago from The High Seas

      You won't regret it, I promise! Excellent reading made even more enjoyable when you realize that it is largely based on his real life experiences.

    • CruiseReady profile image


      4 years ago from East Central Florida

      Well, now- I am inspired to put something about Jack London on my list of things to read.

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      4 years ago from The High Seas

      That was just a sample of Hemingway's injuries. Quite frankly, I got tired of typing them out so I just stopped. My own favorite was eyebrows burnt off in bush does that even happen?

    • GetitScene profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Anderson 

      4 years ago from The High Seas

      There's a REALLY good squidoo blog about female explorers from Victorian times. Amazing ladies. Can't remember the name of it but, with the imminent merger, I'm sure it will be on hubpages very soon.

    • aethelthryth profile image


      4 years ago from American Southwest

      Some of those things you could feel sorry for Hemingway about, but "clawed while playing with lion"? Don't know when I'll find time to read about Roy Chapman Andrews, but guess I need to put him on my list!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Jeez, Hemingways injuries! wow, what a man! but reading about Roy Chapman Andrews sounds great, I love adventurers and often watch the modern guys on tv climbing mountains, diving into those underground pools and fighting wild animals, real men, real adventure, and I often say if I had lived back then, I wish I had been a man because I would have been over there doing it myself! lol! great read! nell


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