It’s now 127 years since crusading journalist Nellie Bly raced through a ‘man’s world’ — alone and literally with the clothes on her back — to beat the fictional record set by Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days. She won the race on 25 January 1890 and became a global celebrity.
We both travelled alone with one small case. She went by ocean liner and train. I flew. She raced, I didn’t. She covered 21,740 miles in 72 days; I completed 22,500 miles in 32 days.
She journeyed through the Victorian age, dashing conventions along the way. I travelled through the Information age, blogging along the way. She started from New York. I started from London. We both finished with book-length memories and a profound appreciation for the kindness shown to us everywhere we went.
To this day, she is one of the world’s top 10 female adventurers.
Nellie is best known for her record-breaking journey, but even more importantly she pioneered investigative journalism. Her stories brought about sweeping reforms in asylums, sweatshops, orphanages and prisons. She burst into male-only newsrooms paving the way for women reporters. She was the first journalist to report from the Eastern front in WWI.
I followed in Nellie Bly’s footsteps because I want to put her ‘back on the front page.’
I travelled 6 September – 8 October 2014 — by air because sea travel is limited by the routes available and hostilities occurring in some locations. Which is why I named the blog ‘Nellie Bly in the Sky.’
I was back in time for the 125th anniversary of the start of her world race on 14 November 1889 and her triumphant return to New York on 25 January 1890.
Please read the blog posts at the right to follow in the footsteps of Nellie Bly.