If someone asked you to list travelers whose names went down in history for their amazing achievements, probably only male names would come to mind: Christopher Columbus, Magellan, and Elcano… But, what about women? Did they perhaps not travel? History has brought us great female travelers that have gone unnoticed throughout the years, and today, being International Women’s Day, it’s time to give them the importance they deserve. Discover them:
If you search for this character’s name in the history books, you will probably find nothing. But, what if you were to change Jeanne for Jean? It’s a different story then. Born in 1740, little is known about her early life until almost 30 years later, when she climbed aboard a French Navy ship ready to travel the world and see all the plants in the planet. But back then, women were not allowed as crew, so she had to pretend to be a man for… seven years! Luckily, her efforts were rewarded, as during her travels she documented over 70 new plants that were unknown up to that point.
How often have you wondered where the artifacts in museums come from? Who brought them? How were they found? Well, if those artifacts in question belong to ancient Mesopotamia, there’s no doubt about it: it was Gertrude Bell. This British explorer and archeologist has gone down in history for leaving behind the Victorian culture she belonged to, and venturing into the deserts of the Middle East. There, she brought to light the ruins of ancient civilizations with which she founded the Baghdad Museum.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to travel so far to learn more about her. If you are interested in her story, you can have a look around the Great North Museum in Newcastle, or the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where you’ll find exhibits about this famous traveler.
If getting on an airplane and traveling to Africa to film indigenous tribes and wildlife seems like utter madness on our day and age, imagine doing so back in 1917. Together with her husband, this American explorer traveled the entire African continent in search of the most extraordinary places, so she could photograph them and display them in her photography books. Her documentaries and films are also well-known, and it could be said that they almost cost her her life. But not even the time when she was almost eaten by cannibals, or the time when she was attacked by a rhino extinguished her desire to explore the world.
Her books are mandatory reading for any self-respecting traveler, and her documentaries are Museum-worthy. But if you want to learn all there is to know about this female traveler, don’t miss out on the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum in Kansas next time you visit the United States.
Flying around the world is hard; sailing around the world is dangerous, but cycling around the world… is just insane! That is exactly what Annie decided to do after betting she could do it, even earning $5,000 along the way. And how did she manage it? By becoming a walking billboard (a cycling billboard, to be more precise). She would set up small billboards on her back, rent ad space in her own dress, and sell her portrait just to make enough money to continue traveling. A true feat where she was only backed by her own wanderlust.
Unfortunately, the story of Londonerry has not reached any museums. But if you want to learn more about her, you’ll surely enjoy the theater production Spin, playing in Winnipeg (Canada), and bringing to the stage the life of this woman that was so far ahead of her time.