Most of us have wild dreams for our lives when we are children. But through the process of “growing up” into adulthood, we’re taught to be “realistic.” Get a real job, set our sights low, live vicariously through action heroes on television and in the movies. Imagination becomes the first casualty.

Over the past month, we’ve asked backpackers, nomads, and travelers worldwide to nominate their picks for the Top World Adventurers Under 30.

These individuals should serve as living inspiration to kick this conditioning to “be realistic” to the curb. These intrepid young adventurers have left their comfort zones behind to explore distant worlds, and above all, have never given up on their dreams.

These explorers have absorbed some of the world’s most interesting cultures, explored countries considered the world’s “most dangerous,” trekked to the tallest peaks, swum in glacial waters, and so much more. These individuals crave epic experiences more than flashy toys, and their minds constantly wander to thoughts of distant places. Their feet have walked upon the stones of ancient civilizations, and they live out of a backpack because they are happy with less.

This year’s list, much like last year’s, is a diverse group that includes both genders, varying backgrounds, ethnicities, and nationalities. Each adventurer here has their own unique story and path that led them to get to where they are today.

These young men and women proudly carry the torch for a new generation of explorers, and now it’s time to give them their due!

So, in alphabetical order, and without further ado, we present to you…

The Top 30 Adventurers in the World
Under 30 – 2017sep 

Alex Reynolds

Alex Reynolds, globetrotting girl from Lost on Purpose.

Why she’s a top adventurer: Alex Reynolds is a 26 year-old backpacking lass on a quest to visit all kinds of places you’ve never even dreamed of visiting.

She’s scrambled up dusty fortresses in Afghanistan, watched gods dance in southern India, gotten dangerously drunk while hitchhiking in Georgia, galloped on horseback across the Kyrgyz steppe, overdosed on saffron ice cream in Iran, and smoked with shamans in Pakistan. Along the way, she’s learned that most people in this world are genuinely good—even in “dangerous” countries—and hopes sharing stories from her travels will encourage others to be more understanding and open-minded about the world.

Alex lives out of her very dusty backpack full-time, and runs the travel blog Lost With Purpose to inspire other travelers to think outside the box when picking their next destination.

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Brando Yelavich

Brando Yelavich of Wildboy Adventures

Why he’s a top adventurer: Brando is the mid twenties-something wildboy behind Wild Boy Adventures. Diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia at a young age, Brando found conventional learning a great challenge, and realized many of his dreams were out of reach. He needed something big to get his perspective in check and determine what sort of man he wanted to become.

He began a two year journey becoming the first person to circumnavigate New Zealand’s wild beautiful coastline by foot. Some 570 days and over 8,000km later Brando emerged from a life changing adventure that saw him walk, swim, climb and raft his way around the entire coast of the beautiful country.

As a wandering globewalker, Brando continues the journey, taking photographs and writing about the experiences around the world. He was last spotted camping, paddling, and trekking glaciers in the remotest areas of the Himalayas.

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Brittany Rouillé

Brittany Rouillé, professional explorer from Mr and Mrs Adventure.

Why she’s a top adventurer: Brittany Rouille was working at an eating disorder recovery center in Santa Monica. Yet she felt drained by the emotional weight of her position, while being overworked and underpaid.

Three years ago, Brittany embarked on her life’s greatest adventure so far. After traveling the US for a year in a camper, she summited Mt. Whitney, hiked down and slept in the bottom of The Grand Canyon, explored countless National Parks, skydived, bungee jumped and so much more. Then she married the love of her life in the Florida Keys. Five days later, she and her husband flew to England to buy the Howlin’ Yoweller, a converted Ford Transit that has been their rolling home ever since.

Their van travels (and never-ending honeymoon) have taken them across the roads (and water) from England to Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Portugal and Morocco, where they are currently!

Together, the couple have hiked the infamous Mont Blanc, trekked on the Kungsleden, Scandinavia’s longest, most famous through route, slept under the midnight sun in Lofoten Norway, surfed, ran, biked and lived along some of the world’s most incredible coastlines. And at 29, Brittany is only getting started! Follow their adventures on the road at Mr and Mrs Adventure and on Instagram (@mrandmrsadventure).

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Calumn Hockey

Calumn Hockey, professional explorer

Why he’s a top adventurer: Calumn is the epitome of a young kid on the froth for adventure. Climbing, trekking, biking, kayaking, this dude kills it!

This 25 year-old carries an insatiable craving for some of the toughest hikes on planet earth whether trekking to the far corners of the Upper Mustang in Nepal, summiting gnarly mountains during New Zealand’s freezing winter,, to walking for 27 hours straight all in the name of charity.

When Calumn isn’t hiking he can usually be found rowing bamboo rafts in remote Thailand, swimming in glacial waters of Franz Josef to riding camels at the stunning Uluru. Downtime includes waterfall hunting in The Bellingen Shire or coastal trekking on New South Wales North Coast which he calls home. Calumn sees this epic earth a lot like a bottle of tequila…you gotta drink everything to get to the worm, go hard or go home.

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Celinne Da Costa

Celinne Da Costa, world nomad.

Why she’s a top adventurer: 

Back in 2016, Celinne took a huge leap of faith: she left her unfulfilling corporate life in New York City behind to design the life she wanted from scratch. Growing up as an Italian-Brazilian in the United States, she never subscribed to the idea of the American Dream. Instead she yearned for a lifestyle that allowed her to travel, write, and share meaningful experiences with others.

Packing her carry-on, she got on a one-way plane to Europe, and set out to complete a social experiment in which she challenged herself to circumnavigate the globe by exclusively staying with people with whom she shared a human connection. This meant that everyone who hosted her had to be friends of friends, people she met on the road, and so on.

Celinne spent close to a year putting her fate into the hands of people–mostly strangers–around the world, and had an astonishing +70 hosts in +20 countries across five continents. Her accommodations have ranged from a tiny hut in a small rural Nepalese village to a penthouse in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Her hunger for meeting and befriending locals wherever she goes have taken her on all sorts of adventures, including: meeting locals at a Myanmar monastery who showed her a secret cave where a monk has been meditating for 40 years, meeting a Tasmanian man at a meditation retreat in Nepal for 30 minutes and visiting him in Tasmania six months later, jumping on the back of a stranger’s motorcycle in Indonesia and spending the afternoon learning about the ancient art of Javanese puppet-making.

Her biggest adventure of all, however, has been rediscovering what it truly means to be human. She shares this in her book “The Art of Being Human” (a free sample is available on her website).

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Courtlen Matthew Dimech Beckett

Courtlen Matthew Dimech Beckett, global explorer.

Why he’s a top adventurer: 

Courtlen travels mostly by hitchhiking, and has hitched everything from sports cars, taxis, horse carriages, political convoys, limousines, bicycles, motorcycles, professional football buses, military Humvees, police cars, boats sea turtles, even an airplane.

He’s hitchhiked overland across Europe, South America, India, from New York to Panama, and on private yachts across the Pacific, a journey which took him to Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, and up through Southeast Asia and China.

Hitchhiking has led him to summit mountains in the Andes, dive remote reefs throughout the Pacific, perform in bands, party around the world, and countless other shenanigans.

Courtlen spent all of 2017 on the road and has now been to 80 countries, continuing to hitchhike on performed at Coachella twice and Glastonbury as a experimental dancer, and visited burning man three years in a row. Last year he also hitched across Europe three separate times and from Kyrgyzstan through Russia, from Myanmar to Singapore, and all through Japan.

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Damiaan Reijnaers

Damiaan Reijnaers, world nomad.

Why he’s a top adventurer: Damiaan Reijnaers is a 22 year-old who loves to go remote. Away from the crowds, hitchhiking for months towards forgotten villages to meet locals and tribes. Or, just completely getting off the beaten track, spendings days in absolute serenity camping or horse riding through deserts, mountains and rainforests. He’s got a thrill for anything considered extraordinary or beyond limits. He loves to explore abandoned and controversial sights – whether it’s visiting old Gulag buildings in Russia’s “Extreme North” in -43°C on a snowmobile, or reporting about hidden brothels in Bangladesh.

Meeting people is what keeps him motivated to never slow down. He can be characterized as always trying to live life to the fullest, focussing on getting as much experience as possible, even from the smallest things. Damiaan writes on his travel blog which he describes as “a most likely outdated hodgepodge of a small portion of things that I experienced while traveling.”

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Donovan Murphy

Donovan Murphy, world nomad

Why he’s a top adventurer: 

The travel bug bit Donovan Murphy at the tender age of seven years old, when he was given his first atlas.

Two decades later, Donovan lives nowhere in particular and that’s exactly the way he likes it. A lover of a good challenge,  Donovan completed an overland journey from India to Germany, passing through offbeat travel locations such as Pakistan, Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan, with much of the distance covered by thumb.

Not content to stop there, Donovan immediately jetted off to Mexico to learn Spanish and get a TEFL qualification so he can teach English around the world.

Along with having worked odd jobs all over the world, Donovan funds his travels through his blog “Red Pilgrim” on the cryptocurrency website Steemit; sharing the good, the bad and the ugly stories of his open-ended adventures with an irreverent and sarcastic writing style.

His sex, drugs and rock’n’roll approach to travelling the universe is balanced out by a strong sense of social obligation, as he aims to encourage empathy and unity between cultures and religions. This year he is also working on a fundraiser to help his Pakistani friend build a hostel in the Hunza Valley.

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Enrico Chee

Why he’s a top adventurer: Enrico Chee is an intrepid explorer who is 25-years young and is already one of Malaysia’s greatest adventurers.

In 2017, Rico began a 6,200-mile overland journey from the coast of China to Istanbul. Along the way, he crossed the border from Pakistan to Iran with armed escorts, where he stayed as a guest of the Taliban.

“I soon realized that the Pakistani army would to a great degree protect my life,” he says.

Next up, Enrico has his eyes set on paddling along the Danube river from west to east of Europe and applying for a Guinness world record for it. He also plans to join a hitchhiking charity event in Germany and see how much distance he can cover within 36 hours.

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Gloria Atanmo

Why she’s a top adventurer: 

Gloria Atanmo, nomad from The Blog Abroad

At 27 years young, Gloria Atanmo has spent the better part of her life pushing boundaries, making noise, and leaving a “glo”rious mark across everything she touches.

Her vivacious personality paired with her witty words are the reason she’s been able to build a global following while traveling through 60 countries across six continents.

She refers to strangers as “friends she hasn’t met yet” and can strike up a conversation with just about anyone.

Author of “From Excuses to Excursions” and GoPro Ambassador, Glo has only barely scratched the surface of her potential, and she’s one of the few travel bloggers today who’s not afraid to touch on “taboo” topics like race and politics abroad.

Follow her blog for hilarious and thought-provoking articles at TheBlogAbroad.com and her Instagram at @glographics and you won’t regret it!

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Gregoire Mevel

Gregoire Mevel, global adventurer.

Why he’s a top adventurer: In the past few years Gregoire Mevel has undertaken many adventures around the world: mountaineering in the Alps, cycling 13’000km from Paris to Bangkok, paddling down the Mekong River in Northern Laos and walking around Sri Lanka.

Cycling solo across Eurasia took him about eight months through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Mongolia, China, Laos, and Thailand before ending up in Bangkok.

Living out in the wild, the trip has changed him more than all of the previous life experiences he had put together. It wasn’t a slow imperceptible process as we are used to. He could literally feel himself changing from one day to another. It was a series of getting beaten down one day and fighting back up the next, always rising a little higher.

For this 29 year-old, the adventure continues as he sets himself to new challenges. He’s currently in France, starting his own business, Emerging Alternatives.

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Hayley Gocha

Hayley Gocha, top world adventurer.

Why she’s a top adventurer: 

Four years ago, Hayley boarded Semester at Sea (SAS)—a floating university, and sailed to twelve countries around the world.

Through the experience, Hayley found a new interest in global development. With two friends, she created a sustainable business idea to employ refugees. In winning the Resolution Project’s Social Venture Challenge, she received mentorship, seed funding, and a new career path that she hadn’t considered.

Since then, she has found a way to balance her love of crazy adventure with traveling with a purpose. She has now visited forty countries on five continents. She’s been on the verge of arrest by the Politzi in Germany; been chased by undercover police in Myanmar; raced horses through the desert alongside the Pyramids of Giza; cycled through the Andes; bartered with a supplies caravan to visit Punta Gallinas, where desert meets the ocean; ridden motorcycles along South America’s coast; led a workshop at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and of course, hitchhiked, couchsurfed, and skinny-dipped in many countries along the way.

Hayley loves to prove people wrong about the dangers of travel and hopes to inspire other women to take on even greater adventures. This 24 year-old has a bright future and a world of possibilities awaiting her!

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Jade Hameister

Jade Hameister, the intrepid young explorer and adventurer.

Why she’s a top adventurer: At just 16 years old, this intrepid young explorer may be the most adventurous soul of all. Jade Hameister got off to an early start in 2014 when at age twelve, she completed the trek to Everest Base Camp.

What could be considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most was only the beginning for her. In April 2016, Jade became the youngest person in history to ski to the North Pole. For her achievement, she was recognized by Australian Geographic Society as Young Adventurer of the Year and her journey was captured in a National Geographic documentary that aired in 170 countries.

Jade delivered a TEDx Talk that same year and in early 2017 presented to a combined live audience of over 12,000 students at ImagiNATION in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

In June 2017, Jade made history again by completing the 550km traverse of the Greenland icecap unsupported and unassisted – the youngest woman ever to do so. One can only wait and see what this inspirational young woman will accomplish next! Follow her journey at on her personal website, JadeHamiester.com.

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Jellis Vaes

Jellis Vaes, world adventurer and professional explorer.

Why he’s a top adventurer:

As a young man from Belgium, Jellis felt like his life was completely uninteresting and felt uninspired. He had no interesting stories to tell, and he felt depressed by the conventional life path. So this 24 year-old made the decision to commit to a life of full-time traveling and has turned it into a career for the past six years.

Since then, he’s journeyed the length and breadth of the globe.

He’s helped to build a school in South Africa, lived with an African family, done skydiving, paragliding, shark diving, taken part in an extreme survival course. He’s worked his way around the globe and founded a startup – Inner Picture Stories.

Living in a campervan (which he calls the Batmobile), he’s currently exploring Europe where he’s been based in Barcelona for several months. Recently Jellis was a protagonist in a featured travel movie, became a dive master, climbed Mont Blanc (next up: the Waltzmann in Germany), and is in the process of writing his first book.

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Joan Torres

Joan Torres, the Spanish explorer from Against the Compass.

Why he’s a top adventurer: From Sudan to Kazakhstan, Joan Torres has been exclusively traveling to real off the beaten track destinations which don’t tend to be on most traveler’s bucket list.

Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, among many others. From being accused of being an Islamic State spy by the Hezbollah army in Lebanon to sneaking into an Afghan village in the Pakistani-Afghan border, being arrested by the Russian police in the forbidden Kazakh town of Baikonur and visiting several Syrian refugee camps across the Middle East; Joan claims that is only in these sort of destinations where you will experience the ultimate adventure and meet the most hospitable people.

This intrepid 29 year-old is currently taking a hard-backpacking-break in Mexico, while planning his next 2018-adventure. He is dying to visit Afghanistan and, after re-visiting a couple of places in the Middle East, he wants to start an overlanding journey through Western Africa. Keep up with Joan on his website, Against the Compass.

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Kesi Irvin

Kesi Irvo, intrepid explorer from Kesi to and Fro.

Why she’s a top adventurer: Kesi Irvin is a young twenties-something who, in 2015, quit her corporate job in NYC with a nice salary and benefits to explore her wanderlust. In the last few years she has travelled to over 40 countries and 6 continents and managed to not spend any savings.

She has been able to sustain traveling by budgeting, couchsurfing, working eight weeks a year with The Yacht Week, and relying on people’s kindness. She graduated from an Ivy league institution and yet found her path diverging from her peers and has now embraced the nomadic lifestyle fulltime.

In just a few short years, Kesi has already packed in a lifetime of experiences. She’s trekked the Rainbow Mountains in Peru, become fluent in Spanish while studying in Guatemala, and worked on yachts in Italy, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Thailand, and The British Virgin Islands. She hitchhiked and travelled overland across New Zealand, where she camped, hiked mountains, and bungee jumped for free in Queenstown.

She’s volcano boarded in Nicaragua, hiked the Inca Trail, celebrated Songkran in Thailand, skydived, learnt to trapeze, volunteered at hostels in South America, done caving in Budapest, camped on a sand island (Fraser Island, Australia), sailed the Whitsundays, couchsurfed in Morocco, stayed in beautiful hotels for $5 a night in Bali, swum with pigs in The Bahamas, and is continuing her adventures on into 2018 with no signs of stopping or slowing down! Follow Kesi’s journey on her blog www.kesitoandfro.com and Instagram (@KesiToAndFro).

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Komail Abbas Naqvi

 

Komail Abbas Navqi, Pakistani explorer

Why he’s a top adventurer: Pakistan is often in the news but rarely is it to showcase its gorgeous landscapes, culture of hospitality and outdoor enthusiast community.

Which is why when hardy 25 year-old and avid outdoorsman Komail Naqvi found himself falling into the familiar and comfortable pattern of a stable job and the 9-5 life, he did what any irrational milennial would do. He quit his job, derailed any semblance of a corporate career to be had and, with group of friends, co-founded Pakistan’s first online travel and tourism portal: FindMyAdventure. The dream? To revamp the tarnished image of their country around the globe and make Pakistan the number one adventure destination in the world.

A passionate trekker Komail is a veteran of Bara Broq, Shimshal Pass and Minglik Sar (6050m) to name but a few. Be it skiing in Rattu, cycling across the Karakoram Highway, or rafting in the River Indus, Komail is are hell bent on showing the world a side of Pakistan no one has ever seen before!

If you want the adventure of a lifetime, Komail’s the guy you want by your side. Once he’s shown the world what Pakistan truly has to offer, Komail is devoted to spending the rest of his life travelling around the globe.

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Laura Nalin

Laura Nalin, adventurer and blogger from Willful and Wildhearted

Why she’s a top adventurer: Laura is a 29 year-old Vietnam-based travel blogger who focuses on expat living. She set out to live abroad in 2013; she was meant to stay in Seoul, Korea for one just year, but ended up staying for more than two. Since then, she’s traveled extensively throughout Asia and lived and worked in New Zealand.

Since moving abroad, Laura has undertaken many challenges and has set and accomplished goals she never imagined possible. Her adventurous spirit has led her to go skydiving 15,000 feet above New Zealand’s Franz Josef Glacier, tackle all of South Korea’s major mountain ranges, obtain her Advanced Open-Water SCUBA certification and continuously redefine her ‘comfort zone.’

While Laura is not ‘on the go’ at the moment, she’s regularly pushing her boundaries in her current home of Ho Chi Minh City. You can read more about her travels and experience as an expat at Willful and Wildhearted.

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Milou Van Roon

Milou Van Roon, intrepid explorer and owner of Explorista.

Why she’s a top adventurer: Milou is a spunky twenty something from the Netherlands who has always done things a bit differently from the norm. A few years ago she was broke and struggling with depression, which made her realize how important it was to pursue the things that made her happy.

She has begun to travel the world on a budget and now travels at least twenty times a year, already exploring dozens of countries and getting into all types of adventures. And all of this while never having a nine to five in her life.

Through her blog, Explorista, Milou hopes to inspire female millennials to live a more adventurous life. She’s the ringleader of a popular group called “Female Digital Nomads” on Facebook with over 22,000 members and creates guides and resources to help other women pursue their dreams. Go Milou!

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Nicole Arnott

Nicole Arnott, world explorer from Wee Gypsy Girl.

Why she’s a top adventurer: Nicole is a young up-and-coming adventurer from Scotland who left her home four years ago to pursue the gypsy lifestyle. She begun by working and living among culture that was the polar opposite of her own in South Korea. Since then she’s been traveling and living abroad ever since exploring destinations all over Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

This hardy adventurer is all about pushing herself outside of her comfort zone, trying new experiences, and inspiring women around the world to do the same through her blog, Wee Gypsy Girl.

In 2017, Nicole made a big leap in her career in that she learnt how to earn and work online, allowing her to travel and live anywhere on her own terms. She visited sixteen new countries last year, and says that Taiwan was her favorite new country that she’s visited. Only time will tell what 2018 has in store!

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Raphael Alexander Zoren

Raphael Alexander Zoren from Journey of Wonders

Why he’s a top adventurer: Coming from the spicy and wonderful country of Mexico, Raphael is a crazy 28 year-old explorer that has seen his fair share of misadventure on his six years of being a world traveler.

His mission in life is to empower the people of all over the world to achieve their dreams of travel no matter how impossible they might seem. He is the living example of the fact that a world traveler can come from any background. If you want to travel, you will find the way to travel no matter the obstacles that come your way.

Some of his favorite activities include jumping from high waterfalls, trying out new exotic food, flying his drone in forbidden places and doing a lot of IG stories. You can follow his misadventures at Journey  Wonders (Instagram — @journeywonders).

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Sal Lavallo

Sal Lavallo, professional adventurer

Why he’s a top adventurer:

At 27, Sal Lavallo recently became one of the youngest people ever to visit every country in the world. With a degree in economic development and identity studies, Sal has a unique perspective on travel as most of his journey was for research or work in these fields.

Along the way he has lived in fifteen different countries on six continents, visited fifty countries more than twice, and entered 110+ by land border. An attendee of the United World College, he was lucky to have local contacts for most of his travel, staying in the homes of former classmates in 75+ countries.

With a stated mission to “promote the beauty and positivity of little known or negatively perceived places,” Sal shares a photojournalism series on Instagram from places such as North Korea, Syria, Libya, and South Sudan. He believes that travel is all about learning, meeting new people, and experiencing the diversity of the world. Sal says that when he looks at a map, he sees faces and that he has never met someone who he feels different from.

Raised in America to a German mother and Italian father, Sal has called Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (his favorite country) home for almost 6 years and can often be found on his small farm in a village in central Tanzania.

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Sam Kolder

Sam Kolder, adventurer and filmmaker.

Why he’s a top adventurer:
Sam is a professional nomadic filmmaker and adventurer from Toronto, Canada.

Sam is a 21 year-old prodigy who has already lived more than most people do before even starting university. With his stunning shots from around the world Sam has quickly turned his love of photography into his full time job.

Traveling the world with his camera and friends, Sam is now working with tourism boards and brands and having the time of his life while doing so.

He spends his days traveling via helicopter to remote regions, exploring frosty glaciers and the world’s tallest skyscrapers, snowboarding, surfing, riding dirtbikes, solo skydiving from airplanes and hot-air balloons, and documenting the entire exhilarating experience on Instagram (@sam_kolder) and YouTube.

On any given day you could find Sam in Dubai, Paris, Bali, Santorini, India, Iceland, or the Philippines. Sam’s location seems to change by the week, yet he calls Hawaii his favorite destination in the world.

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Sher Sg

Sher Sg, world wanderer and adventurer.

Why she’s a top adventurer: Sher Sg is a twenties-something NYC-based photographer/writer duo chronicling her adventures around the Big Apple.. and around the world!

Sher has created a successful career documenting fashion and lifestyle across five continents and more than fifty countries. She has created a network of 240,000 followers interested in luxury travel and fashion and shows no signs of stopping!

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Shelby Johnson

Why she’s a top adventurer: Shelby has spent the better part her life living underwater as a scuba instructor exploring everything from ancient shipwrecks deep beneath frigid oceans, to the tangles of eery kelp forests, mining for gold inside looming ice caves on the bottom of the Arctic Sea to studying the watery graves of ancient Moai ruins on Easter Island, and even plunging into the blue with the Great White Sharks of Guadalupe. The liquid world below seduces her endlessly and there’s no depth too deep, no cave too dark, no shipwreck too haunted and no shark too big for her as she fearlessly descends below the waves blazing a trail for women in professional diving.

Beyond her passion for the ocean, Shelby is also enraptured with the most remote places on Earth and their inhabitants. Traveling to more than 40 countries as a solo female traveler on a mission to make the world a better place, she devotes herself to bringing enlightenment towards indigenous cultures and their strifes to maintain their ancestral identities in the face of the ever-pressing modern world. Far into the Amazon Jungle, Shelby lived with the Matsiguenka people over several years and with grassroots stamina, filmed a documentary of their stories to help their voices be heard around the world. Living on Easter Island for over a year, she learned the wisdom of the Rapa Nui people and pondered the extraordinary fishing techniques that have been practiced for thousands of years to aid in the fight for their rights to preserve their ocean and culture. Filming for Discovery Channel and Travel Channel has taken her to live with the Yupik peoples of the Arctic as well as working on some of the most isolated islands on Earth in search of secret beaches.

Shelby is a strong believer in following her heart and letting her curiosity keep her mind forever open and expanding. The world of adventure lies not only in new places and new sights, but also in new stories and new faces while exploring the unknown. Lovingly known as ‘spunky’ and ‘tumbleweed’, Shelby will continue to spend her life exploring and learning about this beautiful planet of ours while letting the wind take her away to destinations unplanned and unexpected. She never knows where or what she will be doing next, but one thing is for certain: it will be an adventure.

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Shilpa Sisodia

Shilpa Sisodia, from Pack it all and Leave, in Split Croatia.

Why she’s a top adventurer: In Indian culture, women are not usually expected to do a whole of traveling, but Shilpa Sisodia is a bit of a black sheep who is bucking that trend! At 24 years old, Shilpa is an up and coming young adventurer who is already on her way to traveling through 55 countries.

A final year medical student in London, Shilpa wanted to travel the world so badly that she lived on a barebones bread diet for the past five years, saving so that she could travel the world during holidays. She’s hitchhiked around the Balkans, done motorcycle tours of Southeast Asia, hitchhiked to Transnistria (an unrecognized country in Moldova), and couchsurfed and slept in monasteries and on floors from India to Santorini. She writes and shares about her travel experiences on her blog, Pack it and Leave.

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Stephen Gollan

Stephan Gollan, from Uncharted Backpack.

Why he’s a top adventurer:  Stephen is a 28 year old Canadian Travel blogger who has been globetrotting for eleven years now and blogging for 2 years. He specializes in travel to the more parts unknown. My most recent adventures include Learning to Surf in North Korea, Backpacking across Yemen, Taking local transport through Afghanistan, Running a School in War Torn Libya, and hiking to remote communities in Papua New Guinea.

Stephen enjoys traveling and reporting from conflict areas. His goal is to preserve historical sights, and help the people in these areas. Currently he is working with a small company in Tibet that focuses on employing Tibetans from remote communities and training them to be guides, and also working with the tourism board in Yemen to bring awareness of Yemen’s situation.

Stephen believes that no matter how remote and difficult the destination is, anyone can get there if they set their mind to it. He blogs about his travels and his adventures have been featured on Huffington Post, National Geographic, Business Insider, And Lonely Planet.

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Stephanie Flor

Stephanie Flor, world adventurer.

Why she’s a top adventurer: A make-up artist by profession, Stephanie is a self-described “beauty culture lover” and “beauty explorer” who organizes beauty workshops inspired by her global adventurers. From Marrakech to Mexico and Venice to the Taj Mahal, this twenties-something is committed to empowering women to reconnect with their heritage and discover beauty rituals inspired by women around the world. Traveling to 30 countries before age 30, you may find Stephanie researching Ayuverdic tradition in the hinterlands of India or trekking Macchu Picchu to “get a closer look at the sun.”

Stephanie’s discoveries have been featured in Oprah Magazine, the Travel Channel, Allure, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Latina Magazine and more. Stephanie says: “When you cant sleep because your dreams are happening while your awake, thats the feeling I go for. I love beauty, I love people, and I love cultures. Its the one thing in life that is free to touch, see, feel, and be. The world provides you with the wisdom, but it’s about being able to take the risk to fly.”

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Victoria Yore

Victoria Yore, of "Follow me Away"

Why she’s a top adventurer: At just 25 years of age, Victoria and her partner Terrence are creating photography magic around the world under the viral travel photography project “Follow Me Away.”

As a model and drone pilot, Victoria aims to redefine travel photography with dreamy captures. One photographer and one subject in all photos.

She has been to 27 countries, all American states except Hawaii and all Canadian provinces but Northwest Territories. Favorite travel experiences include walking on icebergs in Nunavut and taking the train across Canada.

Her work has been featured in Conde Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, Business Insider, USA Today, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Elite Daily, My Modern Met, ABC News, and more.

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Xiao Wei

Xiao Wei, extreme adventurer from China.

Why he’s a top adventurer: 

Wei Xiao is a 28 year-old biologist with a nomadic heart. He was born and grew up in China but lived six years in Europe. Then he took a hitchhiking journey around the world, 80 countries and 6 continents. Daring, resourceful and full of positive energy, he is an Adventurer with a capital A.

Wei hitchhiked through Taliban controlled Pakistani Kashmir, warring Eastern Turkey, Colombia, Iran, India, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Congo (DRC), Sudan …… He has hitchhiked hundreds of cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, ambulances, tractors and boats. During his journey, he couchsurfed, slept in strangers’ houses and did wild camping at Angkor Wat, ancient Inca ruins, wild African savanna surrounded by lions and zebras and many other unlikely places. He speaks 7 languages and is now learning Dari and Pashto to prepare for his hitchhiking journey in Afghanistan the next year. He runs a blog named “alwaysawei” where he shares the stories behind his adventures.

Wei’s motto is ‘I like every place in this world except my comfort zone’.

Congratulations everyone who made this year’s list! Happy trails, travel far and travel well!

Cover photo: Raphael Alexander Zoren.

Please join the discussion and leave us a comment. What do you think of this list? Did we leave anyone out? We’d love to know.

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