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Great Female Adventurers in History

International Women’s Day

The international women’s day is established to celebrate the achievements of women, remember the hardships women have been through, and advocate for more young women to join the effort to reach equality for all. As we’re approaching this day, it’s inevitable that we look at the great female adventurers that have broken the travel mold and shown the world what women are capable of.


Female Writer and Explorer: Isabella Bird

The Victorian Web

Isabella Bird was a British traveler and writer who explored Asia, Australia, and America in the late 19th century. At 23 years old, Isabella suffered from ill health and her doctor suggested she travel to a warmer climate. She set foot on her first major journey to America in 1854. Isabella sailed to New York and traveled throughout the United States, eventually making her way to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Isabella returned to England in 1856 and published her first book, "The Englishwoman in America," which was a critical and commercial success.


In 1872, Isabella set out on a journey to Asia, traveling to Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam. She was one of the first Westerners to visit some of these places, and her observations and insights provided valuable information about the cultures and customs of these distant lands. She wrote extensively about her travels in Asia, publishing several books, including "Unbeaten Tracks in Japan" and "The Yangtze Valley and Beyond."


Isabella was a remarkable traveler and adventurer. Her curiosity, courage, and spirit of adventure paved the way for future generations of women to explore the world and make their mark on history. Her story is a testament to the power of travel, curiosity, and the human spirit, and her contributions to the field of travel writing have left an indelible mark on the world of literature and exploration.


Around the World in 72 days: Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly was an American journalist, writer, and adventurer. Nellie pushed the boundaries of journalism with her daring adventures and exploits. In 1889, Nellie Bly set out on a historic journey to circumnavigate the globe in record time. Inspired by Jules Verne's novel "Around the World in Eighty Days."


Nellie's journey began on November 14, 1889, when she boarded a steamship from New York to England. From there, she traveled by train to France, Italy, and Egypt, where she met with the famed explorer Henry Morton Stanley. She then continued on to Sri Lanka, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan, where she was greeted with great fanfare. Despite countless setbacks, Nellie managed to complete her journey in just 72 days, setting a new record for the fastest trip around the world by a woman. She arrived back in New York City on January 25, 1890, to a hero's welcome. Crowds of people gathered to greet her, and she was feted with parades and receptions in her honor.


Nellie's trip around the world was a triumph of determination and ingenuity. She pushed the boundaries of what was considered possible for a woman at the time, and her daring exploits inspired generations of adventurers and travelers to follow in her footsteps. Her dispatches from the trip were published in a book called "Around the World in Seventy-Two Days," which became a bestseller and cemented her status as one of the most celebrated journalists of her time.


Female Mountaineer: Annie Smith Peck

Annie Smith Peck was a pioneering female mountaineer during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She enjoyed daring expeditions to some of the highest peaks as a highly educated woman who spoke several languages and was an accomplished writer.


When she was 58 years old in 1908, Peck climbed Peru’s Mount Coropuna, which was one of the highest peaks in the western hemisphere at 21,079 feet. The ascent itself was a challenging one, with steep slopes, ice fields, and dangerous crevasses. Peck and her team were also hampered by bad weather, which made the climb even more treacherous. However, Peck persevered, and after several days of hard climbing, she reached the summit of Coropuna on September 18, 1908. She was the first person, male or female, to reach the peak. Despite this most famous climb, Peck had also ascended some other major peaks, including Mount Shasta in California and the Matterhorn in Switzerland.


Peck's achievement was widely celebrated at the time, and she became a celebrity in the United States and Europe. She pushed the boundaries of what was considered possible for a woman at the time, and her determination and courage remain an inspiration to adventurers and travelers around the world.


The first woman that flew across the Atlantic: Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was an American aviator who loved adventure and exploration. She became interested in aviation in her 20s and took her first flying lesson in 1920. In 1932, Earhart made her most famous flight, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She flew from Newfoundland, Canada to Ireland in a single-engine plane, battling dangerous weather conditions and technical difficulties along the way. When she landed in Ireland, she was greeted as a hero and became an instant celebrity.


Earhart continued to push the boundaries of aviation. In 1937, Earhart set out on what would be her final flight - an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, flew across the Pacific Ocean and made stops in several countries before setting out for Howland Island, a tiny speck in the middle of the Pacific. However, they never arrived at their destination, and their plane disappeared without a trace.


The mystery of Earhart's disappearance has captivated the world for decades, and many theories have been proposed about what happened to her and Noonan. Despite the uncertainty surrounding her fate, Earhart's legacy has endured as a symbol of courage, perseverance, and adventure. Her groundbreaking achievements in aviation paved the way for future generations of women pilots, and her advocacy for women's rights helped to break down barriers to equality and opportunity.


The first woman that conquered Mt. Everest: Junko Tabei

Junko Tabei was a Japanese mountaineer who became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. She was drawn to the mountains from a young age and began climbing with a local mountaineering club in her early 20s. Despite facing discrimination and sexism from male climbers who did not believe women belonged in the mountains, Tabei persevered and continued to hone her skills.


In 1975, Tabei assembled a team of 15 climbers, including several women, and set out for the Himalayas. The journey was long and grueling, and the team faced numerous challenges along the way, including dangerous weather, altitude sickness, and treacherous terrain. On May 16, 1975, Tabei and a Sherpa guide named Ang Tsering reached the summit of Mount Everest, becoming the first woman and the first Japanese person to do so.


Tabei's climb of Mount Everest was more than just a personal achievement - it was a groundbreaking moment for women in mountaineering and a symbol of what could be accomplished with hard work and determination. She inspired women and girls worldwide, showing them that they could follow their dreams and achieve greatness in any field they chose.


Looking Forward

These are just a few examples of the many female adventurers who have made their mark on history. They have shown the world, male and female, that females can be courageous, powerful, adventurous, and determined. Their stories continued to inspire generations of female adventurers to have confidence and never give up.


Despite adventurers, there are other great females in history that have broken traditional travel conditions for females and helped acquire equality. They have helped shifted perspectives on women traveling. As we celebrate women’s day, it is important to keep their stories and spirit in mind while we thrive to become great people ourselves to help achieve equality for all women. But of course, there is not only one way to define success and achievement, just try to be the best you can be and don’t let gender stereotypes ever restrict you from your visions.


We have the privilege today to enjoy travel freedom that was gained by these ancestors, and GlobeSisters continues to help make traveling for female travelers easier and more convenient. If you’re traveling alone or with your girlfriends and you’re looking for immersing experiences, check out GlobeSisters homestay options that are open to females only to ensure a secure community. Happy woman's day!


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