Two Camels for a Life
John Lewis Burckhardt (1784–1817), born in Switzerland and raised in Germany, was an extraordinary traveler and Orientalist. In the summer of 1806, he traveled to England, where, for two years, he wandered the streets of London in search of employment. He was ultimately hired by the African Association, which was seeking explorers to investigate Arabic Africa; the last six young men employed in that capacity had vanished without a trace. The African Association first sent Burckhardt to Cambridge to study Arabic and medicine, among other subjects. He also prepared himself for the rigors of his travels by wandering bareheaded through the English countryside during a heat wave, subsisting on vegetables and water, and sleeping on the ground.