As wingsuiters whizz by in YouTube clips and snowboarders spin high above the halfpipe at the Winter Olympics, it’s easy to lose sight of what defines a true adventurer. We too often equate adrenaline with adventure; we too often mistake athletes for adventurers. But true adventure is a far more frightening proposition than most athletes and adrenaline junkies could ever handle.
You see, there are a group of brave men and women throughout the world who are heading into truly uncharted territory, whether pioneering an entirely new sport, reinventing old ones, using art to inspire action, or challenging seemingly immoveable stereotypes. These 18 people are on their own personal mountains, as we speak, trudging forward through naysayers, Mother Nature, and physical limitations to reach their own particular summits. Some are almost at the top; others have a long climb ahead of them—and every one of them is changing the world through adventure in their own distinct way. Below, meet the Global Adventure Class of 2018.
Additional research by Mary Anne Potts.