While doing research for another novel, I stumbled across the name Nellie Bly. She was a reporter who gained fame in the late 1800s for racing around the world in an attempt to beat the “record” from Jules Verne’s novel, Around the World in 80 Days.
I was fascinated to read her story, about how she went by herself–unchaperoned–around the world in under eighty days. She had gumption!
But, as it turns out, she was not the only young reporter making this trip. Elisabeth Bisland’s editor read about the stunt on his way to the office, called the young woman in, and sent her off in the opposite direction that evening! He was convinced that the competing team miscalculated and sent their reporter the wrong way based on winter travel across the US on the return trip.
Can you imagine participating in such a feat today–even with the internet for quick research and planning? I don’t think I would have done it. I would have needed weeks to plan, let alone figure out the barest necessities to pack. Nellie Bly brought only a small gripsack. Elisabeth Bisland, slightly more.
I’ve started a pinterest board dedicated to these ladies and the time of their race: 1889-1890.