He was known simply as the Blind Traveler. A solitary, sightless adventurer, James Holman (1786-1857) fought the slave trade in Africa, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted rogue elephants in Ceylon, helped chart the Australian outback—and circumnavigated the globe, becoming one of the greatest wonders of the world he so explored.
Today I’m talking with Jason Roberts, author of one of my all-time favorite history books: A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler. We get into all the impossible-to-believe stories that come from Holman’s life, including:
— Holman retraining his senses to use echolocation to “see” the world around him through sight and touch
— Summiting Mt. Vesuvius as it was on the brink of eruption
— Riding horses at full gallop
— Negotiating peace between the British navy and islanders in Equatorial Guinea