In March 2015, an elite group of adventurers boarded the Ortelius, an ice-strengthened cruise ship bound for Bouvet Island. The 29-day journey was long and arduous: Considered by some measurements the remotest landmass on the planet, the Norwegian territory lies in the middle of the south Atlantic Ocean, a forlorn speck between Antarctica and the bottom tip of South Africa. As they sailed through the miles of icy waters, the ship’s 60-plus passengers traded the monotony of sea for mingling. Among them was William Baekeland, a young and unassuming outsider, who cut an intriguing figure. An inveterate travel expert at 22 years old, with a scrawny build and neatly combed hair, he looked more like a high-school student than an explorer. Shockingly, though, his knowledge of world geography was immense – he’d claimed to have already visited most of the 193 countries recognized by the United Nations. The other explorers onboard the ship – seasoned members of the Travelers’ Century Club, the Most Traveled People, and other exclusive societies – perked up in the company of the curious stranger. Related Up in the Air: Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free Related The 14 Craziest Musician Acting… Read full this story
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