A woman travelling alone in 2016 impresses and amazes. Think about the women of the past who, alone, made memorable journeys, when the journey was not yet accessible for them since they were in a social condition of inferiority.
Adventurous, intrepid, determined, curious, these are historical solo women travellers
who, from XVIII century to today, have explored the world, by crossing continents and oceans, by throwing themselves in extraordinary ventures and by setting records.
They have handed down to us a precious message of courage and independence, turning into models for feminine gender. Let’s discover together who they are.
Anne Smith-Peck (1850-1935) – USA
To pursue her greatest passion, mountain-climbing, Anne abandoned her work as archaeologist and Latin teacher and started earning her leaving by writing tales and reading about her journeys and her adventures throughout the world. In 1908 she climbed the mount Huascarán in Peru. When she was 84 years old, she made her last journey, but she fell ill while going up to the acropolis of Athens. Once she came back, she died in New York of bronchopneumonia.
Nellie Bly (1864-1922) – USA
Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, known as Nellie Bly, was one of the first women to deal with female investigative journalism. Taking inspiration from the famous book The Tour of the World in 80 Days by Jule Verne, in 1889 – equipped with pen and notepad – undertook a solo tour of the world. It took her 72 days, setting a real record for that time. She visited alone the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Brindisi, Colombo, and San Francisco. This journey has been described in her book The Tour of the World in 72 Days.
Annie Cohen Kopchovsky (1870–1947) – LATVIA/USA
Annie Cohen Kopchovsky succeeded in having her journeys funded with advertisements by Londonderry Lithia Company, with which she decorated her dresses and her bike. She left in 1895, leaving her husband and children at home. Thus, she embarked on a tour of the world by bike in 15 months, a venture arisen with the aim of showing that women can also get by alone. The New York World described her journey as “the most extraordinary ever made by a woman.”
Isabelle Eberhardt (1877 – 1904) – SWITZERLAND
Born in Geneva from Russian parents, Isabelle was a restless woman and journalist, longing for setting herself free from all social conventions that characterised Europe in XIX century. She travelled through Northern Africa disguised as an Arab knight, wandering through Sahara desert. She established overwhelming relationships with sheiks, Sufis, legionaries. After having got married with an Arab official, she moved to Algeria and embraced Muslim faith, even if she kept on wearing male suits and exploring Northern Africa. She died at 27 years old, victim of a flood.
Amelia Earhart (1897- 1937) – USA
She is the most famous woman aviator in history. She left her work as a nurse and, with her savings, paid for flight lessons and her personal plane. As a woman aviator, in 1922 reached the height record of 4,300 metres. In 1932 crossed the ocean by a solo transatlantic flight, it was the first time that a woman did it. Five years later she disappeared mysteriously in the attempt of circumnavigating the world. Her body and her plane were never found.
Freya Stark (1893 – 1993) – UNITED KINGDOM
Freya, British explorer and essayist, was the first Western woman who travelled alone in Arabian Desert and explored regions of Western Iran, where no other European had set foot before then. She wrote over thirty books on her journeys around the world.
Rosie Swale-Pope (1946- ) – SWITZERLAND
ÈShe is a marathon runner who, in 2003 at the age of 53, ran around the world. The journey lasted 5 years and thanks to this Rosie managed to raise 250,000 pounds, which were devolved to back an orphanage in Russia and the Prostate Cancer Charity, for the fight against prostate cancer, due to which her husband had died. Her equipment consisted exclusively in a small trailer that also served as bed.
Laura Dekker (1995- ) – THE NETHERLANDS
La più giovane di tutte le viaggiatrici solitarie della storia. Velista esperta, da bambina ha viaggiato in barca a vela con i suoi genitori per 7 anni. All’età di 15 anni, Laura è partita per realizzare il suo sogno: circumnavigare il mondo da sola e senza sosta, viaggio che si è concluso nel 2012.
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