OCCUPATION Adventurer, humanitarian
HOME BASE Auckland, New Zealand
GLOBE-TROTTER The first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, in 1953, Hillary now devotes himself to the Himalayan Trust, a foundation he created 44 years ago to aid the Sherpas of Nepal. He recently spoke about the trust—which has built schools and hospitals in the mountain nation—to the Grand Circle Foundation at the Children's Museum of Boston. "I've made a half-dozen visits to Boston through the years; my first trip was after my initial ascent of Everest just over fifty years ago. It's one of the best cities in America, in my opinion. But there certainly is a lot of digging going on. It will be marvelous once the digging is done."
FIRST THINGS FIRST "I never stay long enough in any hotel room to try and decorate it, but I do adjust the temperature immediately. Then I unpack and have a good stretch on my bed. If the bed's comfortable and there's a roomy bathroom, all's right with the world."
LESS IS MORE "At a certain age, essentials get refined. These days, the only things I must bring with me are my pills and my shaving gear."
CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN "I actually spend very little time thinking about Mount Everest. I don't even dream about it. I keep seatmates on a plane from querying me about Everest by trying—or pretending—to sleep. No one wants to awaken an elderly man from sweet slumber."