March is Women’s History Month, and we wanted to join in on the celebration by showing support for women and their many contributions. There are so many women that have paved the way for others to thrive, including some incredible female travel icons. These ladies have changed the way we see the world and opened up doors for all of us to be able to experience some pretty remarkable things. We are thankful for the bravery and passion that these female explorers have shown and are honored to share how their stories have made a positive impact on the world of travel. With all that said, here are some incredible female explorers that changed the world and travel as we know it:
The First Woman of Color and First Person of Native-American Descent to Obtain a Pilot’s License
The first incredible explorer we wanted to highlight is Bessie Coleman. She paved the way for people of color who wanted to become pilots. Coleman was the first African American woman to obtain a pilot’s license, the first person of Native-American descent to have a pilot’s license, and the first African American to receive an international pilot’s license. But obtaining a pilot’s license wasn’t an easy task for Coleman. She had to travel to France to learn to fly and was the only student of color in her class. Through hard work and determination, Bessie Coleman learned to fly in under a year.
Elizabeth Jane Cochran (Nellie Bly)
Traveled the World in 72 Days
The story of Elizabeth Jane Cochran (better known as Nellie Bly) is one for the history books. She’s known largely for breaking the record for taking a trip around the world in 72 days. One of the main reasons Cochran wanted to take on this journey was because the famous author, Jules Verne (author of the book, Around the World in Eighty Days), stated that he would publicly congratulate Cochran if she could make it around the world in 79 days. Well, she shattered that number by 7 days, got her public congratulations, and gained a whole lot of fame.
The First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe Via Maritime Transport
One of the most interesting female explorer stories is the story of Jeanne Baret. Baret’s partner, Philibert Commerson, was selected to be a part of a journey around the world on a ship named the Etoile. He wanted Baret to be alongside him on this journey, but there was a rule that women could not be on French Navy ships. To try and bypass this rule, Baret dressed up and disguised herself as a man and boarded the Etoile. She managed to keep her identity hidden long enough to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe via maritime transport.
The First Women to Climb the Fourteen Highest Peaks in the World
Our next female explorer that helped change the world and travel as we know it is Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. She’s truly an inspiration to anyone who has ever wanted to push their limits in the world of mountain climbing. Her extraordinary story started at the young age of 13 when she went on her first climbing expedition up Mount Sturzhahn. Since that day, Kaltenbrunner knew that she had a true passion for climbing. She went on to become the first woman to climb the fourteen highest peaks in the world without using supplemental oxygen, and she also won the National Geographic Explorer of the Year Award.
Bestselling Author and the First Woman to be a Member of the Royal Geographical Society
Isabella Bird was a British travel writer and explorer who enjoyed writing books about her adventures. Bird journeyed to many countries across the globe, including Tibet, Turkey, Australia, China, Japan, Vietnam, and India. A big part of what made her books so interesting is that they often included details about the extreme weather conditions she frequently faced during her travels. The books Bird wrote led her to eventually become a bestselling author, and she also became the first woman to be a member of the Royal Geographical Society.
Happy Women’s History Month! We hope that you enjoyed learning more about these incredible female explorers. They truly achieved some extraordinary things that paved the way for others, and there’s no doubt that their accomplishments will be talked about for years to come. What other female explorers do you know of that have changed the world? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re ready to get started on your own adventures and need a passport, we can help! You can get the passport application process started on the Swift website. If you have any questions about obtaining a passport for an upcoming trip, please feel free to contact us. A member of our knowledgeable team would be happy to help. No matter where you plan on going, we’ll get you there!