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The Travellers' Travellers

Bill Bryson, travel writer extraordinaire:

"My emotional favourite is Captain Cook. He was a terrific human being – brave, good, truly adventurous, heroic in a crisis and kind to his men and the natives he encountered – and he gave us Australia to boot."

Simon Calder, TV presenter and travel editor of The Independent:

"Tony Wheeler has arguably done more to open up the world for travellers than anyone else. And then there's EasyJet's Stelios. Both of them discovered something absolutely crucial: how, if you provide the means, ordinary people will go off on their own voyages of discovery – and that's what really matters."

Lyn Hughes, Wanderlust editor-in-chief:

"For my generation, David Attenborough did more than anyone to inspire us to see the world. He introduced us to an astonishing variety of landscapes and species, made standing on a pile of guano seem oddly glamorous and even has a Mesozoic reptile named after him. Attenborosaurus, a prehistoric lizard found in Charmouth, was named to honour Attenborough's childhood fascination for plesiosaurs, a passion that inspired his great career."

Jonathan Lorie, director of Travellers' Tales:

"Most world-changing travellers were bloody conquerors, such as Vasco da Gama, Attila or Alexander. But the Buddha, on his journeys around south Asia, spread the novel idea of compassion, redefined life itself as a journey and sparked a spiritual revolution that still resonates 2,500 years later."

Michaela Strachan, TV wildlife programme presenter:

"This may sound completely irreverent but Ronald Macdonald and Coca-Cola have changed the world. It doesn't matter how remote your destination is, one of them will have got there first. True pioneers in capitalising the world! I'm not sure either of them has made a positive contribution, though Coke's whimsical ‘Coke shacks' in the middle of nowhere can make for interesting photographs."

Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet founder:

"I vote for Sir Joseph Banks, Captain Cook's sidekick on his first great voyage and principal bankroller of the expedition's scientific side. Banks was a wealthy young man (inheritance, inheritance) who was irrepressibly curious in a place (the unexplored Pacific) and at a time (the late 18th century) when there was an awful lot to be curious about. He probably discovered and catalogued more animal and plant life than any other person in history. He wasn't a mere explorer, discoverer or conqueror – he was a tourist! He paid for the trip himself."

Wanderlust magazine coverThis article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Wanderlust magazine.

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