Name: Freya Stark

Born: Paris, France (1893)

Died: Asolo, Italy (1993)

One Sentence Bio:  A British born woman who was the first non-arabian to travel extensively throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Tags: Writer, Explorer, Traveler.

About: Freya  is know for her insightful and honest travel writings from around the world.  Before she died at the age of 100 she had written over 15 books and left behind 8 volumes of travel letters.1 Not only was she one of the first non-arabians to travel throughout the Middle East, but she was also a woman.  While her travel achievements were not exceptional she gained fame through her writings.  She wrote honestly in her works, never sentimentalizing or aggrandizing her travel experiences.  Her writings were riddled with the discomforts of travel, the hardships of her experiences.  She didn’t paint travel as all rainbows, but as something with an occasional rainstorm. When she was young her parents separated and she moved with her mother to a place in Asolo, Italy, and it was here that she would return later in life and live out her last years.  Before traveling she received a formal education and worked for the ministry of information during WWII.  At this point in her life she lived a high society life filled with social and domestic obligations.    It wasn’t until the age of 33 that she left Asolo and transformed into a wanderer.


“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure.”

“The beckoning counts, not the clicking latch behind you”

“To feel, and think, and learn – learn always: surely that is being alive and young in the real sense”

“I do like people who have not yet made up their minds about everything, who in fact are still receiving”

“One life is an absurdly small allowance.”

*You can buy her books online here