1Steve Fossett : The Millionaire Who Made the First Solo Trip Around the World in a Hot Air Balloon, Among 116 Other Sports Records
He holds world records in piloting balloons, airships, airplanes, and gliders. He made five unsuccessful solo attempts to circumnavigate the globe, once surviving a harrowing fall of 29,000 feet into the Coral Sea. In 2002, he finally completed the first circumnavigation in 14 days, 19 hours and 51 minutes.
In September 2007, Fossett disappeared while flying a plane over the Sierra Nevadas. Per the request of his wife, courts declared him dead on February 15, 2008. On October 3, 2008, search parties found his remains along with wreckage from his plane. (Source 1 | Source 2)
2Amyr Klink: The Brazilian Sailor Who Solo Circumnavigated the Antarctic
Klink has written seven books about his voyages, including "Between Two Poles" which describes his trip from Antarctica to the Arctic Pole that began in 1989 and took 642 days. Klink helped in the construction of the polar vessel used in this trip, named Paratii after the town of Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Amyr Klink was the first person to row across the South Atlantic, leaving from Lüderitz, Namibia on June 10, 1984 and arriving 100 days later in Salvador, Brazil on September 18. His chronicle, "100 Days Between Sea and Sky," reports on the journey, during which he rowed a small boat from Africa to the state of Bahia in Brazil. The food rations for this trip were compacted into packages of lyophilized food that were especially designed for him by a food processing company in Brazil.
In 2002, Klink completed an experimental phase of his project "A Trip to China" – a trip around the world through a maritime path in the Arctic Circle that had never been explored before. The project's first phase was successfully accomplished between January 30 and April 6, 2002; Klink and crew left the Antarctic Circle, visiting Margarida Bay in the Bellingshausen Sea,which is in the extreme south of the Antarctic Peninsula. From there, the ship stopped in South Georgia before returning to Brazil. (Source)
3Saint-Exupéry: Author of The Little Prince Who Got His Inspiration While Lost in the Sahara After a Failed Attempt to Break the Speed Record for a Flight from Paris to Saigon
In The Little Prince, its narrator, the pilot, talks of being stranded in the desert beside his crashed aircraft. This account clearly drew on Saint-Exupéry's own experience in the Sahara, an ordeal described in detail in his 1939 memoir Wind, Sand and Stars.
On December 30, 1935 at 02:45 am, after 19 hours and 44 minutes in the air, Saint-Exupéry, along with his copilot-navigator André Prévot, crashed in the Sahara desert. They were attempting to break the speed record for a Paris-to-Saigon flight in a then-popular type of air race, called a raid, and win a prize of 150,000 francs. Their plane was a Caudron C-630 Simoun.
Both miraculously survived the crash, only to face rapid dehydration in the intense desert heat. Their maps were primitive and ambiguous. Lost among the sand dunes with a few grapes, a thermos of coffee, a single orange, and some wine, the pair had only one day's worth of liquid. They both began to see mirages, which were quickly followed by more vivid hallucinations. By the second and third days, they were so dehydrated that they stopped sweating altogether. Finally, on the fourth day, a Bedouin on a camel discovered them and administered a native rehydration treatment that saved Saint-Exupéry's and Prévot's lives. (Source)
4Thor Heyerdahl: Sailed 4,000 Miles Across the Pacific Ocean in a Self-Built Raft to Prove His Theory
His aim in mounting the Kon-Tiki expedition was to show, by using only the materials and technologies available to those people at the time, that there were no technical reasons to prevent the journey. Although the expedition carried some modern equipment, such as a radio, watches, charts, a sextant, and metal knives, Heyerdahl argued they were incidental to the purpose of proving that the raft itself could make the journey.
Heyerdahl and a small team went to Peru where they constructed the raft out of balsa logs and other native materials in an indigenous style as recorded in illustrations by Spanish conquistadores. The trip began on April 28, 1947. Heyerdahl and five companions sailed the raft for 101 days across the Pacific Ocean before smashing into a reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands on August 7, 1947. (Source 1 | Source 2)
5Jesse Martin: The Youngest Non-Stop Unassisted Circumnavigator
At 17, Martin departed Melbourne for a world voyage on his yacht, "Lionheart." He arrived back in Melbourne on October 31, 1999 and sailed into the record books at age 18. In all, the entire journey covered 328 days and 27,000 nautical miles (50,000 km). Since Martin's voyage, the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) have discontinued the "youngest" category and no longer recognize "human condition" records. Martin remains the youngest solo non-stop unassisted sailor to cross opposite points of the globe in a single voyage. His adventure inspired other young sailors to attempt similar circumnavigations. (Source)
6Rick Hansen: The Paraplegic Athlete Who Became the First Person to Travel Around the World in a Wheelchair
He embarked on his Man in Motion World Tour on March 21, 1985 from the Oakridge Mall in Vancouver. Although public attention was low at the beginning of the tour, he soon attracted international media attention as he progressed on a 26-month trek, logging more than 40,000 km through 34 countries on four continents before crossing Canada. He returned to Vancouver's BC Place Stadium to thousands of cheering fans on May 22, 1987 after raising $26 million for spinal cord research and quality of life initiatives. Like Terry Fox, he was hailed as an international hero. (Source | Photo)
7Jason Lewis: The Man Who Completed the First Human-Powered Circumnavigation of the Globe
Jason pedalled up the Thames to the finishing point at Greenwich in his unique pedal-powered boat Moksha (meaning ‘liberation' in Sanskrit). The Expedition 360 team pushed Moksha up to the Royal Observatory and at noon took the boat across the Meridian Line marking the completion of the circumnavigation, 13 years after Lewis, now 39, set out from the same spot on 12 July 1994. (Source)
8Alastair Humphreys: The Englishman Who Crossed the World by Bike
Alastair rode from England to South Africa, crossed the Atlantic by yacht, and then cycled from Patagonia to Alaska. Crossing the Pacific by freighter, Alastair completed his expedition by cycling back to England from eastern Siberia. He has written three books about his adventure. (Source)