The Believers

Dan Buettner: Interactive Explorer

Dec 1, 2005
Outside Magazine


HE's BIKED MORE THAN 120,000 MILES around the globe and is considered the father of the interactive expedition, but Dan Buettner may be on the verge of his greatest feat to date: unlocking the secret to long life. In 1992, Buettner and three other cyclists pedaled across the Sahara to the southern tip of Africa to promote racial awareness—posting their travels on Mosaic, an early Internet browser. The St. Paul, Minnesota–based Buettner, 45, has since launched 12 real-time expeditions designed to enlist Web users to help solve some of science's biggest questions. For his latest Quest (, he has narrowed down the globe's "blue zones"—hot spots of human longevity—and is working with top demographers and physicians to study diet and lifestyle and create a blueprint for living longer. First stop: Okinawa, Japan, followed by mountain villages on an as-yet-undisclosed island in the Mediterranean. "We know that there's a recipe for longevity, and that 75 percent of it is related to lifestyle," he says. "And we're figuring it out."