David-Néel was a born explorer. She began running away from home at the age of two, and by the time she was 18 her parents had grown accustomed to her taking off without warning to bicycle around Spain and England. This was an insane thing for a young, single woman to do alone in the 19th Century, but David-Néel simply had a wanderlust deep in her bones, and cared little for society's expectations. Her adventures included becoming a prima donna opera singer in Vietnam, living in a cave with a young Buddhist monk she'd later adopt, having a love affair with an Indian prince, and illegally sneaking into Tibet in a time when nobody got away with that kind of tomfoolery. Her amazing life would later help inspire the Beat Poetry movement, though we think she out-badassed Kerouac by a mile.