John Goddard (adventurer)

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John Goddard

John Goddard (July 29, 1924 – May 17, 2013) was an American adventurer, explorer, author, and lecturer.


In 1940, when Goddard was fifteen years old, he wrote down a list of one hundred and twenty-seven goals he wanted to accomplish, from learning to type to climbing Mt. Everest. "When I was fifteen," he told LIFE magazine, "all the adults I knew seemed to complain, 'Oh, if only I'd done this or that when I was younger.' They had let life slip by them. I was sure that if I planned for it, I could have a life of excitement and fun and knowledge".[1]

After serving in World War II with the Army Air Forces, he began pursuing the goals on his list in earnest, and in 1951 became the first man to navigate the entire length of the Nile in a kayak; this and subsequent adventures, such as exploring the Congo River in 1956 and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1968, fueled a successful career on the lecture circuit. He was also the first person to conduct an exploration of the entire Congo River.[2]

Goddard has written two books: The Survivor (ISBN 1558746951), and Kayaks Down the Nile (ISBN 0842513655), an account of his trip from source to the mouth of the White Nile in kayaks accompanied by two French friends in 1950,[3] and been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul. His Colorado River expedition, which included his near-fatal plane wreck at the river's source, is featured in the feature-length film Devil's Highway The Fabulous Colorado River.[2] John Goddard died on May 17, 2013 in Southern California.[4][5]


  1. ^ "One man's life of no regrets". LIFE. 72 (11): 66–68. 1972. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Goddard highlights film date". Palo Verde Valley Times. Blythe, California. 1975-01-02. 
  3. ^ Goddard, John (1979). Kayaks down the Nile. Brigham University Press
  4. ^ Sandra Yi (May 18, 2013). "Adventurer John Goddard dies with nearly complete bucket list". KSL. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ Rebecca Trounson (May 21, 2013). "John Goddard dies at 88; adventurer fulfilled most of childhood goals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 

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