Dave Cornthwaite’s 5 Must-Visit Places on Planet Earth

Image Credit: Dave Cornthwaite
Dave Cornthwaite has traveled more than you ever will. And harder too. So far, the British adventurer, 33, who quit his desk job eight years ago, has skated more than 3,600 miles across Australia, paddled 2,400 miles down the Mississippi River and swam 1,000 miles of the Missouri River. Next up: rowing across an ocean, horseback riding across Mongolia, and paragliding over the Himalayas. Driving all this is his Expedition1000, a set of 25 self-propelled journeys, each of which traverses at least 1,000 miles.

Since Cornthwaite has seen so many of this world’s greatest places””whether via kayak, tandem bike or sailing boat””we asked him to name our planet’s 5 must-visit spots. The adventurer, author, and motivational speaker obliged; here’s his list:

5 Australia’s Nullarbor Plain

Image Credit: Wikipedia

“œLying flat and bare between Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and Ceduna in South Australia,”Cornthwaite said, “œthe Nullabor is an ominous 77,000-square-mile spread of limestone desert bisected by the mostly straight Eyre Highway, Australia’s old telegraph line. At first glance there’s not much to it, but the challenge of crossing by foot or bicycle (or in my case, skateboard) draws a few hardy souls each year. Add whale-watching opportunities at the Bight and the world’s longest golf course””with a hole at each of the 18 towns or roadhouses along the 850-mile route””and the Nullarbor is, at the very least, an unforgettable journey.”

4 Memphis, Tennessee

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“œA visit to this city,”Cornthwaite gushed, “œbrings Mark Cohn’s famous song to life. From the recording history at Sun City Studios to the foot-tapping nights on Beale Street, music is part of Memphis’s soul. Elvis, of course, will never be forgotten here: His image plasters the sides of buildings and you can have a pancake breakfast in his favorite seat at the Arcade Restaurant. Pause at the Lorraine Hotel, where Martin Luther King’s death makes the Civil Rights Museum across the road incredibly poignant, and soak up the wide majesty of the Mississippi River as it flows slowly south toward the Gulf.”

3 Bujagali Falls, Uganda

“œSadly, the most peaceful, beautiful place in my memory no longer exists,”Cornthwaite mourned. “œTen years ago, a gloriously rampant waterfall played host to the first wave of happy whitewater rafters as they took on the mighty White Nile, just a few miles north of its secondary source at Lake Victoria in Jinja, Uganda. The Nile shimmered at all times of day, smokestacks on the other side of the river drifting gently skyward from cooking fires dotted throughout dense, green bush. The valley has since been filled as a result of damming for a hydroelectric plant.”

2 Machu Picchu, Peru

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“œThis might sound like a cliché, but Machu Picchu is special because to me it highlights human potential,”Cornthwaite explained. “œPrecariously balanced across a thin bluff that juts out hundreds of meters above the roaring Urubamba River, the old, tattered ruins leave us having to imagine the sheer scale and effort of assembling such a city in the middle of nowhere, in deep mountain jungle, long before automated transport did the lugging for us.”

1 London, England

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“œThough I’m English, I don’t really consider anywhere to be home,”Cornthwaite admited. “œDespite this, London is my favorite city on our planet. Sure, the weather leaves a great deal to be desired much of the time, but the history and culture of the place sings out from more well-known feats of architecture than you can count. A skyline that happily brings together old and new; tight, cobbled backstreets providing a gorgeous escape from the hustle and bustle of main thoroughfares; vibrant parks and bridges galore across the Thames. Give me a twilight walk across Hungerford Bridge above almost any other view on the planet.”

Just like Cornthwaite, adventurer Gary Arndt sold his house in 2007 to travel the globe, and these are the Top 5 Things He’s Learned.

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