A few hundred years ago the world was largely unmapped and people thought it was flat. Christopher Columbus, Lewis and Clark, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, and Edmund Hillary bravely sought out new lands and higher limits.
Now, with satellite imaging, Google Maps, and jumbo jets, the world can seem small and conquered. The romanticism of adventure can be thought to only reside in Star Trek and Indiana Jones films. However, there are still a few gifted adventurers finding unconquered adventures among us.
Sir Richard Branson
It might be easy to label him off as the founder of Virgin, the mega company that owns airlines, hotels, and a record label, but the man behind the red logo rivals Indian Jones himself.
The front runner in the commercialization of space travel, Branson's new company will take passengers up into space for $250,000 a seat. Using specially designed aircraft, Branson hopes that travelers in the near future will be able to fly from San Francisco to Beijing in about an hour.
Deep Ocean Exploration
James Cameron beat Richard Branson to the bottom of the Mariana trench, but that hasn't stopped Branson from conquering other deep parts of the ocean. Forming Virgin Oceanic, he is making arrangements to pilot a submarine to five of the ocean's deepest trenches.
My Favorite Autobiography
Bear's Autobiography about his life growing up in the UK, time serving in the British Special Forces, climbing Everest, and adventures as a television host. An inspiring story for anyone who seeks adventure and the testing of the human spirit.
You may know Bear Grylls as the man who eats weird animal parts, jumps off of waterfalls, and runs his way out of the wild on the hit show Although some of his tricks may be dressed up for show business and insurance polices, Bear's real life adventures have him beating world records like Evil Kinevil. The coolest part is that he does his stunts for some incredible charities like Global Angles and The Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Man Vs. Wild.
Youngest Briton to Summit Everest
Only months after breaking his back in a skydiving accident, Bear Grylls became the youngest Briton to climb Everest and survive. During one of Everest's most deadly climbing seasons, he barely made it out alive, having been knocked unconscious while dangling down a crevice, and running out of oxygen above 26,000 feet in, what climbers, call the Death Zone.
Returning to Everest, Bear piloted an engine powered paraglider over the world's highest mountain. Due to issues with the Chinese government, he wasn't able to fly directly over the summit, but took the machine up near it so that he was looking down on it from afar. He doesn't know exactly how high his specially designed machine went, because the altimeter broke, but it was definitely above Everest's 29,000 summit.
Longest Indoor Skydive
Along with double amputee Al Hodgson and Scotsman Freddy MacDonald, Bear Grylls spent a total of 97 minutes in a continuous free fall without touching each other or the walls of the wind tunnel. It may sound easy, but 97 minutes would be like doing 97 skydives back to back. Beyond the physical aspect of proper alignment while being blasted by 150 mile per hour wind, the amount of mental concentration required is astronomical. Bear was recorded saying, "By 1 hr 30 I was beginning to hallucinate" from the intense amount of concentration it took to not loose physical control.
Crossed the North Atlantic Ocean In A RIB
In the same seas that set the backdrop for The Perfect Storm, Bear Grylls led a team of five, in a ridged inflatable boat, from Nova Scotia to Scotland. For weeks, he was exposed to intense waves, freezing temperatures, mechanical failures, and hurricane force winds. Enduring extraordinary conditions, the team made it to Nova Scotia, but probably kissed the ground when they got there.
Bear Gryll's World Record Paraglide Over Everest
Only a handful of gifted and well trained climbers ever attempt big walls like El Capitan or Half Dome. Alex Honnold loves climbing them, except without one essential piece of essential equipment: a rope.
What's next on Alex's list of free climbing acheivments? Free climbing a skyscraper for a two hour special on the National geographic channel.