Sarah Marquis (born 1972)

“Life is short. We don’t know when it’s going to end. So we need to eat every minute of it. We need to go for it. We need to actually enjoy every second of it.

A modern day adventurer and explorer, Sarah Marquis, is a truly a woman that has achieved a number of feats that are more than a “little impressive”—they’re downright inspiring! At only 44 years old, this Swiss globetrotter has written two books, Wild by Nature and The Desert Hiker, delivered a TED talk, and was also a 2014 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year award recipient.

So what exactly makes this women’s adventures and achievements so amazing? What sets her apart?

Sarah Marquis explores the world on foot.

This is the woman that headed out on a journey—alone and on foot— that took three years to complete—taking herself from Siberia, across the Gobi Desert, then into China, Laos, and Thailand before boarding a ship to Australia, and then walking across that country as well. This was not her first, nor her last, incredible journey on foot. Even as a child, she was prone to wandering and exploring. Once, she set off with only her dog for company and discovered a cave where she decided to spend the night, causing her panicked mother to call the authorities. Her wanderlust only increased—at the age of 17 she learned how to ride a horse and crossed Central Anatolia in Turkey on horseback. In 2000, Sarah walked across the US, going from the Canadian border to the Mexican border in just a little over four months. Between 2002 and 2003 she spent 17 months covering 8,700 miles around Australia—also on foot. Next, in 2006, she spent another eight months walking through the Andes and covering over 4, 350 miles. And finally, on her 38th birthday, Sarah Marquis began her particularly famous journey from Siberia to Australia when she left Irkutsk, Siberia, and began walking south.

She prepared for her incredibly long trek for two years—planning, studying, and doing everything she could to be ready. But she admits that at some point, you have to understand that there’s only so much preparing you can do, and sometimes you just have to let it go and step into the unknown. Sarah plotted her own path, arranged for resupply points, and had to prepare the gear that she would need crossing unforgiving terrain—like deserts and dense jungles—with temperatures ranging from -22F and 124F.

About walking, Marquis says, “I feel walking is beyond walking for me. It lets me feel like a little bridge between humans and nature and I’m there to try to understand and communicate this connection that we’ve got.” In 2015, she decided to tackle a new personal challenge—a surviving expedition. As a National Geographic Explorer, she was dropped by helicopter into one of Australia’s wildest areas, in the Kimberley region, far away from civilization. Walking 500 miles over three months, Sarah managed to survive while living off the land and arrived at her finish point on Sept. 6, 2015. Surviving close calls with saltwater crocodiles, bushfires, drought conditions, and the other numerous dangers that one might face in the Australia bush, Sarah was emaciated, but smiling, when she arrived. A globetrotter of true grit, determination, and a genuince appreciation for our connection with nature, it’s probably no surprise that Sarah has become a speaker, a writer, and has continued to push herself to her limits, putting one foot in front of the other as she tackles her next challenge.

Want to watch a fascinating interview with Sarah Marquis on CBS? Click here. Or read this great article from National Geographic.


by “Go-To Global Gal” Alyce Howard