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We're marking International Women's Day by telling the stories of iconic women and their travels. Despite facing enormous challenges, these women have earned their place in history for their truly remarkable achievements.
It's International Women's Day and we want to tell the stories of a handful of the most iconic female travelers of all time.
Despite facing enormous discrimination, Bessie Coleman was the first black woman in the world to hold an international pilot's licence. Born in Texas, USA, Bessie worked in the cotton fields from a young age before developing an interest in flying. Though she was banned from flying schools in the States, Bessie taught herself French and obtained sponsorship to travel to France and earn her pilot's licence in 1921. Later, Bessie flew all over the US to raise funds for an African-American flying school.
Amelia worked as a truck driver, photographer and stenographer to help fund her dream of becoming an aviator. As soon as she was in the cockpit, she began to break records, from highest altitude climbs to the fastest flight. But Amelia is best known for her successful attempt to fly solo across the Atlantic, and became the first female to do so in 1932.
You will probably have heard of Around the World in 80 Days the Jules Verne classic novel. However, few will be aware that a few years after the famous book was published Nellie Bly, a reporter, would break that fictional record, by over a week. Starting her journey with cash, clothes, an overcoat and a few pieces of gold in 1889, Bly circumnavigated the globe in 72 days, travelling alone for most of the journey and setting a new world record.
In 1766, long before any of these women had started their journeys, the French explorer Jeanne Baret became the very first woman to circumnavigate the globe, and all while disguised as a man. Jeanne had to disguise herself, since women were prohibited to travel in the French navy. An expert botanist, Jeanne managed to enlist as a valet to a naturalist on a maritime transport vessel.
This modern addition to our list of inspiring women is Jessica Nabongo, who became the first black woman to travel to every country in the world on October 6th, 2019. Jessica started her travels early at the age of four, so by the time she read about Cassie De Pecol, the Guinness World Record holder for fastest person to travel to all countries, she was inspired to do be the first black woman to do the same. Nabongo is a currently a blogger, photographer, and advocate for inclusive and ethical tourism.