Oh my gosh, guys. Today (i.e. yesterday by the time I manage to post this), Wikipedia’s photo of the day is of Fridtjof Nansen, who is my personal favourite explorer of all time. Given all the hilarity of the Australian explorers (and my love of hilarity), the fact that I have chosen such a serious explorer is saying something.
There are many reasons to love Nansen. Maybe you just love his handlebar moustache. If he had lived long enough, he probably could have prevented the second World War by the might of his moustache alone.
Nansen is potentially the most bad-ass guy to have ever lived (forgive my language). Not only was he incredibly athletic (he skied with a dog pack across Greenland), but he was also a brilliant scientist, and a humanitarian (winning a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in helping WWI victims).
He skied from east to west across the ice of Greenland, with no option of retreat (the east was uninhabited). The trip of 450 km ended up taking 49 days.
He wanted to be the first person to reach the North Pole, and had the innovative idea of freezing his ship inside a block of ice that, following the natural currents, would float across the Pole. When it became apparent that the boat would miss the Pole, Nansen took a team and skied out across the ice.
Nansen made it farther north than anyone ever had before, but he missed the Pole. He made the wise decision to save the lives of the men on his expedition and turn back.
Later in his life, he played the role of zoologist, diplomat, and humanitarian, but his early days as an explorer are the stuff of legends.
I even was inspired to draw him and I hate drawing humans (because I am terrible at it!).