Why You Want to Meet Him: Mike Horn is a friendly guy. The South African-born explorer and educator happily engages the sailors who dock next to the Pangea, his 115-foot-long floating classroom, which he’s lived on with a rotating cast of voyagers for years. Since 2009, Horn has been circling the globe, tracking global warming, sailing with Germany’s World Cup Team, and occasionally disembarking for some leisure time climbing far-flung Himalayan peaks and playing in professional cricket matches in India. Prior to boarding the Pangea, Horn walked the Arctic Circle, swam the Amazon River solo, completed an unmotorized circumnavigation of the globe at the equator. He has - to put it succinctly - stories to tell.
How to Meet Him: If you want to hear Horn’s stories, the easiest thing to do is check Mike’s blog, which he updates when he’s in major ports of call. The only man on this list likely to come to your hometown (provided you live on the coast), Mike is generally found aboard his boat, which is pretty damn easy to find. It’s a giant aluminum sided sailboat with Mercedes Benz written on the side. You can’t miss it.
Photo: ENRIQUE CASTRO-MENDIVIL / Reuters / Corbis
Why You Want to Meet Him: The world’s poorest president is a former revolutionary who has spent the last several years legalizing marijuana, forming an increasingly close bond with the United States, yelling about FIFA officials, advocating the importance of adventurous living in front of the UN General Assembly, farming chrysanthemums, and driving around in his VW Beetle. Unlike most political leaders, “Pepe,” as Uruguayans call Mujica, doesn’t keep people at arms length. Anyone who approaches his entourage - just a few guys - will be politely introduced to the President, who lives just outside Montevideo and wanders freely around the capital.
How to Meet Him: After his election, Mujica refused to move into the Palacio Estevez, Uruguay’s presidential palace. Instead, Pepe decided he would simply commute. When he’s not traveling the world on government business he can be seen walking through Plaza Independencia between the Palacio and Torre Ejecutiva, his official office.
Photo: Jens Kalaene / dpa / Corbis
Richard Garriott de Cayeux
Why You Want to Meet Him: When Richard Garriott (who changed his name after getting married) was in high school, he spent a six weeks programming a video game named Akalabeth in his closet and wound up making $150,000, more than his astronaut father was making annually. He was so distracted by his project that he flunked a programming class. He was, in short, a natural, but he grew into a man with a lot of interests. Garriott made millions building and selling computer games - notably Ultima - during the late eighties and nineties and then started spending the money on his hobbies. He built an Elizabethan theater in the back yard of his home. He turned that home into the most technically complicated haunted house in the world. He visited the International Space Station as a guest. He amassed one of the foremost collections of magician’s paraphernalia. Garriott de Cayeux became, in short, the eccentric millionaire par excellence.
How to Meet Him: Garriott de Cayeux has a bit of Jay Gatsby in him and loves nothing more than to host massive parties. Getting an invite to one of these “interactive soirees” can be a bit tough if you’re not well known around Austin, but you can always take in a play at the Curtain Theatre on his estate. He frequently attends productions and is known for being an amiable host.
Photo: Kevin Frayer / AP
Why You Want to Meet Him: Born Lhamo Thondup in 1935 to peasants in Takster, a small village in China’s Qinghai province, Tenzin Gyatso was renamed by the search party of Tibetan monks who declare him the Dalai Lama after he correctly identified the former Lama’s possessions. Gyatso was taken from his home to Lhasa, where he was educated by monks and the Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer. When he was exiled from Tibet, the Lama started the Tibetan government in exile in Dharmsala, India - so he’s got that going on.
How to Meet Him: The Dalai Lama still teaches regular classes that are open to the public at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharmsala. Travelers can sign up on his website. To have a private audiences with the Dalai Lama, you’ll need to apply online and explain what you want to speak with him about. The only way to meet him is to have a very good reason to meet him.
Photo via www.facebook.com/AlaskaDistillery
Why You Want to Meet Him: Scott Lindquist is an ice shepherd. The Alaska native collects broken pieces of glaciers and hauls them aboard the Qayag Chief, his battered boat. Working on treacherous Prince William Sound, he harvests ice on the water before hauling it back to Alaska Distillery’s warehouse, where he can carve it up with a chainsaw and melt it down to create pure water that, in turn, becomes some o the world’s best vodka. Distiller and glacier-chaser are interesting jobs for anyone, but Scott Lindquist is legally blind. He can see shapes, but he’s not allowed to drive a car and he has a hard time seeing weather coming. In Alaska, that’s a big deal. Scott Linquist is one tough guy.
How to Meet Him: Alaska Distillery is a high-end operation, but it isn’t a big one. Head to Wasilla and stop at the facility on North Shoreline Drive. Ask for Scott. If he’s not around, he will be.
Photo: Tom Williams / Getty Images
Georges de Paris
Why You Want to Meet Him: He left Marseille and came to Washington D.C. for love, but after he got dumped Georges de Paris found himself homeless for a year. A tailor by training, de Paris got back on his feet by making suits. He got a reputation for his work and - like all manner of hearsay in DC - word of his professionalism made its way to the White House. The first president that ordered a suit was Lyndon Johnson. Since then, de Paris dressed Nixon, Ford, Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton and Obama. He altered Carter’s suits. In a town built on relationships, there may be no one as connected as Georges, who still works out of a tiny shop with only a few sewing machines.
How to Meet Him: The Georges de Paris shop isn’t open at regular hours so the best way to find Georges is to head to the Old Ebbitt Grill, his favorite bar. He’ll be the guy with the long white hair. You can buy him a drink or try to buy a suit, but he may be busy with more important customers. If not, he’ll be happy to chat.
Photos by Markus Gilliar - DFB Pool / Bongarts / Getty Images