“All men dream; but not equally.”
You may recognize him as Lawrence of Arabia, but the real life man is closer to another film icon. T.E. Lawrence is probably the closest you could ever get to finding the real life Indiana Jones. Lawrence was an insatiable adventurer and was fascinated by medieval history. He hated his celebrity persona, going as far as to go by several different aliases throughout his life.
As a teen, he biked across France drawing historic landmarks he visited along his way. He was an expert mechanic and loved anything that had enough horsepower, especially motorcycles. While in college, he visited the Middle East and went on a 3-month 1,100 mile walking tour of crusade-era castles in Syria, alone. After graduating he became an archaeologist (of course) and with the outbreak of World War I he volunteered to join the British army. All while only standing 5’5”.
Lawrence’s love of the Middle East and Muslim culture would go on to make him a legend, as he became something of a one-man representative of the entire Western World during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Lawrence was a key figure during the revolt, rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel and fighting alongside Grand Sharif Hussein bin Ali (the great-grandfather of fellow MYWYW King Hussein bin Talal) and Prince Faisal, with whom he would form a life-long friendship.
After the war, Lawrence worked tirelessly to help create an independent Arab state in the Middle East. Even going so far as to refuse any medals of recognition from the British government in protest of their colonial policies. It wouldn’t be until 1921 when a blueprint for Arab independence would be set up by British authorities.
T.E. Lawrence was a man of few vices. He was a strict vegetarian (I like him anyway) and never touched alcohol or tobacco. Speed was the one thing Lawrence could not get enough of. Lawrence was killed when he crashed his motorcycle returning home one evening. Police estimated he was traveling just under 100 Mph at the time of the crash, the bike’s maximum speed.
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