Little is known of the early life of British explorer George Forster. His travel memoirs, published in 1808 after his death, were edited by persons who apparently never considered that such information would be of interest to readers. We can thus only rely on what we find in scattered letters and journals. He was probably born around 1750 and at some point joined the East India Company as a young man; he would eventually be posted to Madras to work as a writer. Around 1782 he was granted leave to return to England; and for some reason–perhaps it was just a taste for adventure–he decided to make the return trip by land through Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Russia.