When you hear the words “famous explorer”, who springs to mind? Christopher Columbus? Francis Drake? Dr Livingstone?
But what about modern explorers of the 21st century? Now we’re talking. These days, there aren’t any unknown countries or uncharted expanses of ocean to discover; it’s not about sticking flags in a map anymore.
Instead, a new breed of explorer has come to the fore: navigators and pioneers who accomplish unfathomable feats of mental and physical endurance. And these are the ones who really excite and inspire us, as they stand for everything we at Go Ape believe in: they dream big, they push the boundaries and, without a shadow of a doubt, they live life adventurously.
We can’t name all the great explorers who have inspired us, otherwise this would turn into a book (now there’s an idea?!), but we can let you in on a few incredible human beings who prove that adventure is still very much alive and well…
Ed’s first programme with Discovery, entitled ‘Walking the Amazon’, saw him embark on an 860-day trek along the (you guessed it!) Amazon River. His daredevil walk made headlines all over the world, and it was officially deemed “the longest jungle expedition ever attempted”. His latest series with Discovery, ‘Into the Unknown’, is proving to be just as enthralling to watch – this time, Ed’s on a mission to investigate our planet’s newest mysteries. When strange, hard-to-classify markings crop up on satellite photos of Earth, Ed uses his experience of coping in extreme conditions to find out just what they are. Fascinating stuff.
Dubbed as “ten times tougher than Bear Grylls” (now that’s tough!), Levison has said he’s not interested in “doing stuff that looks dangerous for the cameras”. Instead, he’s following his childhood dream of becoming an explorer (see, we told you they “dream big”). Inspired by classic explorers such as Richard Francis Burton and Henry Morton Stanley, he embarked on an expedition to walk the length of the Nile. The trek took him a year, and the four-part documentary series ‘Walking the Nile’ that aired earlier this year made for truly inspiring TV. Levsion also speaks very wise words:
“You need to constantly challenge yourself to evolve as a person. To not take any risk in life, no matter how big or small that risk might be, means you’ll be at a standstill.”
At the ripe age of 11, Jessica heard how another young lady, Jesse Martin, had become the youngest person to complete a non-stop circumnavigation of the globe – sailing solo. The story clearly resonated with her as two years later she told her parents she wanted to do the same thing. And she did. It was by no means “smooth sailing” – she had to deal with a collision with a bulk carrier and a ferocious Atlantic storm – but, after sailing for 210 days straight, she completed her circumnavigation three days before turning 17. Yes, she was just 16-years-old when she did this!
So, has all this talk of adventure sparked something inside you? If you want to challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone, zipping through the trees at Go Ape is the perfect way to get the adrenaline going!