Hah. You thought we�d open with a Jules Verne character or perhaps Huckleberry Finn, didn�t you?
A very different kind of traveler, DeTamble is the male protagonist in Audrey Niffenegger�s knock out book The Time Traveler�s Wife. The title tells you everything you need to know really - Henry is afflicted with a syndrome that throws him uncontrollably through time for brief intervals, disrupting his life in peculiar ways and making his relationship with his non-time-traveling partner very interesting to say the least.
Although the storyline doesn�t see the characters leave America, we had to crowbar it in with the tenuous travel link since it�s one of the more unique modern fiction novels to have hit the shelves of late. Niffenegger�s handling of the back-and-forth timeline is masterful, and our suspension of disbelief is never shattered as she carefully explores the concept.
Some insist on doing it the disservice of calling it chick lit; even still, it may be the most intelligent novel of its hard-to-categorize genre (word of warning: don�t watch the movie, which comes nowhere near to capturing the delicate and delightful nuances of the book).
Deserves Kudos For:Taking his own death on the chin. Oh, that was a spoiler by the way - unread that last sentence.
Questionable Antics:He commits a lot of crime during his time travels.
Conceived by Michael Bond in the late fifties, Paddington Bear is a traveler with a taste for adventure and nerves of steel - very few people would emigrate across the world to an unknown country on a whim, but that didn�t stop the fuzzy bear fearlessly stowing away on a boat from Peru to England.
Curiously, Bond�s first draft of A Bear Called Paddington saw the titular character travel from Africa, but his agent pointed out that there are no bears on the continent. His origin was then changed to Peru, but in the whole of South America there is only one species of bear, the Spectacled Bear, which looks nothing like Paddington. No wonder he felt the need to get out of there.
Judging by the fact that he arrived with just a suitcase and no accommodation, Paddington is clearly a globetrotter who doesn�t believe in planning the life out of a holiday. No return ticket, no Lonely Planet guide, and no travel insurance - he just got up and went.
Deserves Kudos For:Incredible reliance on the idea that "things will turn out alright".
Questionable Antics:Blatant flaunting of animal immigration rules.
Carmen Isabella Sandiego is the elusive traveling villainess who originated in a series of games in the eighties before spilling out onto other media. Carmen�s job as a criminal mastermind saw her travel all around the globe and was always one step ahead of the detective� though why there were never more solid leads we�ll never know. Her outfit wasn�t exactly discrete.
Regularly pulling off crimes which put DC and Marvel super villains to shame (such as stealing all the sushi in China), it was difficult not to like and admire the red-clad anti-hero; she was extravagant, rich, intelligent, playful, and you�ve got to admit, she was more than a little bit sexy. It should also be noted that Carmen and Jessica Rabbit have never been seen in the same room together.
Back to the matter at hand - the games and kid�s shows were genuinely educational without being patronizing or detracting from the fun. If you�re going to teach kids about geography, it�ll go down better if you�re also plotting to steal the entire Statue of Liberty at the same time.
We hope Dora the Explorer is reading.
Deserves Kudos For:Looking good in that outfit.
Questionable Antics:Like so many villains, her otherwise genius plans always got foiled at the last minute by teenagers. Lame.
Frodo and Bilbo belong to the hardcore adventure travel elite. Their separate odysseys across Middle Earth have remained at the forefront of popular culture for decades, though as fictional characters they hardly fit the profile of your average backpacker.
Contrary to popular belief, Bilbo and Frodo are very distantly relatedbut both of our furry-footed friends share a similarity common to their species - they absolutely loathe traveling, to such an extent that they�d be horrified to find themselves on this list.
Hobbits are notoriously unadventurous by nature and half the appeal of the books (and subsequent films) is that their epic quests are thrust upon them against their will. Really, why on Middle Earth did the council assign Frodo as the ring-bearer in the first place? Out of the candidates, he�d never traveled before, possessed no fighting experience and clearly didn�t want to take a single step out of his comfort zone. All the signs point to the elves having a practical joke at his expense - luckily for them, it paid off.
Deserves Kudos For:Showing everyone how to get stuff sorted.
Questionable Antics:Using those giant eagles in the first place would have saved a whole lot of time.
Alice�s inquisitive mind and fearless exploration of the fantastical Wonderland have earned her a place on this list, but bonus points are deserved for female solo travel in the Victorian era.
The Alice in Wonderland books have never gone out of print, and testament to their popularity and worth is the fact that a first edition easily fetches over $1mAll of the imagery and characters associated with Alice�s bizarre travels, from the From the Mad Hatter to the Queen of Hearts, has endured and inspired countless portrayals and retellings over the centuries; we all fondly remember the marvelous Disney version (it�s hard to believe it is almost sixty years old), and the recent Tim Burton outing wasn�t half-bad, even if it should have been a million times better given the people involved.
Deserves Kudos For:Keeping a level head and not succumbing to what must have been extreme culture shock.
Questionable Antics:Both books concerning Alice�s adventures feature lame endings, boiling down to "it was all a dream."
"Call me Ishmael." - one of the most memorable novel introductions ever, opening what was to become one of the greatest nautical fiction adventures ever written.
Melville�s Moby-Dick wasted no time in putting us squarely into the narrative hands of Ishmael. He was an incredibly observant character; to such an extent that the �character� aspect of his role almost disappears entirely during the course of the novel as he becomes an omniscient observer (we can think of very few instances in literature in which this occurs).
What results is a tale of epic proportions, borne of a guy bored of his surroundings and overcome by wanderlust. Isn�t that how the best travel stories come about? What�s more, he is an effortlessly cool character (if a little obsessed with death) and if he were around nowadays he�d more than likely be in a thrash metal band.
An interesting point is that the story of Moby-Dick is loosely based on real events, as outlined in the award-winning non-fiction book In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick.
Deserves Kudos For:Being the only one not to get his ass kicked by Moby-Dick.
Questionable Antics:Killing whales for sport has fallen from social acceptance since the book�s publication.
Don�t worry! Santa Claus is not a fictional traveler - we�ve put him on this list for what we call �ironic humor�, something you�ll learn about one day at school.
Okay, kids gone? Good.
Santa Claus doesn�t meander around the globe like some clueless student backpacker; he goes from A to B with an unstoppable determination. The jolly plump man has a job to do and by the heavens he�s going to do it, even going as far asin order to carry out the seemingly impossible task of delivering all those presents (the only traveler we know of to routinely travel through eleven dimensions and possible more).
We�ve got to admire a man who has not only roamed 200 million square miles of our fair planet, but routinely does so every year. And he�s not one to hang around gawking at the locals or drinking warm beer on Bondi Beach - he uses his godly travel powers to make sure everyone (or the good boys and girls, at least) gets a little something for their efforts over the year. He does this seemingly without thanks, although a small brandy or sherry coupled with a mince pie is often appreciated (rightly or).
Deserves Kudos For:Never calling in sick on the big day.
Questionable Antics:Drink-driving and judging the morality of others.
Yann Martel�s brilliant, Man Booker prize-winning fiction novel Life of Pi focuses on a single, arduous journey from India to Canada. If you�ve read it, chances are you were among the millions who did so in a single sitting, unable to put the book down until its mind-blowing conclusion.
The character of Pi is an unfortunate one. While emigrating to Canada by boat along with zoo animals intended for sale, an unexplained accident causes the vessel to sink, taking his family down with it. The sixteen-year-old boy survives, along with a number of dangerous animals, who find themselves having to survive on a lone lifeboat together.
There are only two principal characters in the novel, Pi and a Bengal Tiger, and one main location (a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean). Sound boring? Wrong. Even with these sparse plot devices, Martel weaves a splendid tale and we connect with Pi from the off. It takes a writer of immense talent to maintain pace and conflict with so little tools at his disposal, and the rollercoaster of emotions is carefully constructed across every page of the novel. Needless to say we don�t want to give too much of the game away, but the ending will linger in your mind long after you close the book.
Deserves Kudos For:Being one of the nicest guys ever to get stranded in a lifeboat.
Questionable Antics:Accusations of the book�s premise being
It�s always difficult to say where he is at any precise moment, but we know where he has been - just about everywhere.
The books themselves have been published in 28 countries to date, and people have been invited to spot Waldo (or Wally outside the U.S.) in scenes depicting many more - we�ve tried to spot him everywhere from Egypt to the Wild West and in between trips at the airport.
His image is one of a typical backpacker - practical clothing slightly at odds with those of the locals, a walking stick and occasionally a brown knapsack. He clearly travels light, trusting in the facilities of his host country to survive. Like Paddington Bear, he doesn�t seem one to plan the life out of a holiday and is comfortable immersing himself in large crowds.
Not only is Waldo an observer of foreign lands, but he is also able to traverse time with the help of his walking stick (which is magical in the TV series, you see). The animated series is the only window we have into his personality to date, but exciting news breaks - movie rights have been sold and Jim Carrey is rumored to don the great man�s legendary jumper and bobble hat.
Deserves Kudos For:Preferring to keep in the background and never capitalizing on his celebrity status.
By far the coolest traveler on the list.
The name James Bond is synonymous with suave - all the girls want him and all the boys want to be him. His work usually takes him around the world (when he isn�t filing paperwork or whatever he does in his down time) and he never fails to make the most of the local amenities wherever he is. And yes, by �amenities� we mainly mean �women�.
Why he is admired so much is open to debate, since he is something of a murderous lunatic and treats girls like dirt. Regardless of his character flaws, the lifestyle he enjoys while globetrotting is enviable to say the least, especially while the rest of us stay in $10 hostels and wonder whether the water is drinkable.
Deserves Kudos For:Being the most awesome guy never to exist.
Questionable Antics:When are his antics not questionable?