The Chinese scholar and adventurer Xuanzang was born in 602. As a young man, he had a vivid dream that convinced him he needed to explore India, and he set out on a 16-year pilgrimage almost immediately (Gee, if we took every dream so seriously, we'd find ourselves at school with no pants on a lot more often). He was very open-minded about the new world into which he'd ventured and received training from many Buddhist monks along the way. When he finally returned home to China, he collected his experiences into two books that historians today still find incredibly useful for understanding both Indian and Buddhist history. A statue of Xuanzang holding his wandering staff now stands in Xi'an, overlooking the Great Wild Goose Pagoda.