Below is a list of ten travellers which have been among my favourite reading over the years. There is no ranking to this list and they may or may not be amongst the greatest to have ever travelled, they are simply those that I have time and again returned to when I have thought about how travelling should be.
Having simply declined a glass a wine from a 12th century Sultan of Granada, Ibn Jubayr was able to manage a journey to the Hajj at Mecca.
For nearly 30 years Ibn Battuta travelled much of the known world from Spain to Beijing and managed to perform the Hajj four times.
More than anyone Polo has inspired the travels and exploration of China and the world. His 24 years of travel and provided us with a view of the world from the late 13th century.
This little known Chinese Christian monk travelled from the far east to the holy sites of Persia and Rome. He met with the Kings of France and England during the years that Marco Polo was in the employ of Kublai Khan.
Better know as the Father of History, Herodotus travelled about the eastern Mediteranean and beyond in search of information for his monumental account of the wars between the Persians and Greeks in the 5th century BCE.
Ludovico Varthema arrived in the Indian Ocean region at the same time that the Portuguese had arrived to dominate the pepper trade to Europe. These were dangerous times and all Europeans were under suspicion as local markets were challenged by these arrivals.
I consider this to be the greatest little account of idle wandering ever written. Departing his English home in 1934 Laurie Lee wandered through France and Spain to the port of Malaga. He finished his journey just as the storm of the Spanish Civil War was was bearing down upon that country.
Simply put the toughest SOB to put his travel experiences to paper. Through deserts, mountains and the marshlands of Iraq Thesiger travelled (and lived) as few of us would dare to do.
As Thesiger wrote of land travel Villiers did the same by the sea. Both men were looking to document the way of life and customs of communities succumbing to the modern world.
Setting out on the famed silk road of the 7th century, Xuanzang went to India to gain a better understanding and to collect the sacred texts of Buddhism. After 13 centuries Xuanzang is still revered among Buddhists of China and those around the world