Real life adventure stories from history


Real life adventure stories from history

An adventure holiday is a chance to spread your wings and broaden your horizons, taking you to places you’ve never been before and never thought you’d go.

It takes courage to take a plunge like that!

But if not for some of the more courageous humans from history who took those first influential steps into the unknown, we might not have even been able to enjoy adventure holidays the way we do today.

Here are a few trailblazers from adventure history who helped light the way

Lewis and Clark

Given that they’re probably the most famous adventurers in history, you might have seen these two coming…

In the early 1800’s America was still a developing nation and hadn’t been fully explored.

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis and Clark to set forth and explore the newly acquired lands.

The pair were to report their findings and document the area for the purposes of creating an accurate map as well as establishing geography, nature, wildlife and indigenous populations.

But perhaps most importantly, it was essential they secured the area in the name of America before any foreign powers could claim the land as their own.

With the help of their now legendary guide Sacagawea they were able to go above and beyond their expectations, returning as heroes two years later.

Ernest Shackleton

The quintessential icon of Polar explorations, Ernest Shackleton is famous for leading three expeditions to the Antarctic for Britain.

For his efforts in reaching closer to the South Pole than any human in history, he was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home, cementing his legacy as an all-time great explorer.

But, he is perhaps most famous for his role in the doomed Imperial Trans-Arctic Expedition when his ship ‘Endurance’ became trapped in ice and ultimately destroyed. All members of the crew were forced to abandon ship onto lifeboats, making it to safety on the nearby Elephant Island.

He passed away whilst on another expedition from a heart attack at the age of 47.

A testament to his hard-working character, his death was attributed to ‘overstrain during a period of debility.’ Although his continuous love affair with the drink is thought to have played a major part.

Freya Stark

Sorry to disappoint, but this Stark shares no relation to Game of Thrones…

Travel writers live for exploration and Freya Stark was one of the first to gain international notoriety.

Famed for her travels through the Middle East and Afghanistan, she was making a new ground for westerners abroad at a time when women were allowed to do little more than stay at home.

She became the first white woman to traverse the difficult terrain of Western Iran and was one of the very first women to cross the Arabian Desert.

Because of her unique knowledge of these areas she was able to publish over twenty books outlining her journeys and discoveries.

For her accomplishments, she was given the title of Dame by the Queen in 1972 and passed away in 1993 at the grand old age of 100.

That’s what travelling does for you!

Ibn Battuta

A man with perhaps more insight into the Medieval world than any other, Ibn Battuta was a Muslim scholar who crossed numerous continents on his travels including Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and China as well as many Islamic countries.

Records of his journeys are still respected and used to this day as reference points in mapping out our knowledge of the world in the 14th Century.

He named these records ‘A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling’ but they became known universally as ‘The Travels’ for short.

Yuri Gagarin

Neil Armstrong might have been the first man to step foot on the moon, but he was beaten to arguably an even more important feat…

Yuri Gagarin became recognised as ‘The first human in space’ when the Vostok 1 mission launched from a southern area of Kazakhstan controlled by Russia.

The spacecraft made a full orbit of the Earth, with Gagarin remaining in good spirits throughout what must have been a nerve-wracking experience.

After 108 minutes he and his craft finally parachuted back down to the Earth’s surface, landing near Engles in Russia.

Upon emerging he encountered a farmer and her daughter who were terrified, possibly believing Gagarin to be a UFO of some kind!

It was only when he began to speak did they realise he was a fellow Soviet.

The mission was hailed as a success which led to numerous victory parades in Moscow.

While the USA congratulated Russia and Gagarin, this is widely considered to be the key event which spurred the Americans onto further research and tests in space travel.


We can’t take you into space (yet!) but at Whereabouts Holidays we have a whole host of amazing holidays that will make you feel like your very own adventure pioneer!

If you’d like to find out more please visit our holiday listings for more information.