“Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets.”

-Oscar Wilde

 

Marco Polo was a Venetian explorer. He was born in 1254, in Venice, Italy. Although he was born to a wealthy Venetian merchant family, much of his childhood was spent parentless. His extended family raised him as his mother died in his childhood while his father was in Asia for much of young Polo’s youth.

He first set out at age 17 with his father and uncle, travelling overland along what later became known as the Silk Road. Upon reaching China, Marco Polo entered the court of Kublai Khan. Kublai dispatched him on trips to help administer the realm. Polo remained abroad for 24 years.

He is best known for the book The Travels of Marco Polo, which describes his voyage to and experiences in Asia. Polo travelled extensively with his family, journeying from Europe to Asia from 1271 to 1295 and remaining in China for 17 of those years. Around 1292, he left China, acting as consort along the way to a Mongol princess who was being sent to Persia. His account of Asia was perhaps the first accurate account of the Orient that the Europeans of the Middle Ages ever read. Despite that the book was written some 700 years ago, it still leaves the experts and laymen in awe.