In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the badass women of travel. Here are some of the most interesting explorers, adventurers, scientists and women who just wanted to get out and see the world. Happy International Women’s Day, keep climbing to new heights.
(P.S. Make sure to check out the bottom of the article for highlights of our own badass female travel writers.)
Racism and sexism wouldn’t stop Bessie Coleman from flying. Around 1915, Coleman became inspired by stories of pilots in World War I. She decided to become a pilot, but no school would teach her because she was black and woman. The obvious answer to this dilemma? Teach yourself French.
Coleman taught herself French, went to France, learned how to be a pilot and became licensed after just 7 months of training. She was a natural and a daredevil, performing stunts and tricks. The African American press dubbed her “Queen Bess” for her larger than life exploits and accomplishments.
Bell embodies the classic English explorer. An archaeologist and writer, she traversed the Middle East, Asia and Europe, writing books that are still studied today for their detailed descriptions of cultures.
Heard of the book “Around the World in 80 Days”? American journalist Nellie Bly did that journey in just 72 days, making much of the journey solo. Now where’s that movie?
Bly is most well known for her scathing exposés on corrupt institutions in America. She went undercover in a women’s asylum and documented the abuse the patients suffered. Her work spurred outrage and calls for change.
Anésia Pinheiro Machado
In the early to mid 1900s, Machado crisscrossed the America’s by plane, working as a pilot. Machado was the second licensed pilot in Brazil (Teresa de Marzo was the first, but her career was short as her husband refused to buy the fuel she needed to fly her plane).
In 1951, Machado flew a goodwill tour throughout the America’s, meeting presidents all along the way.
Baret wanted to be the first woman to circumnavigate the world but that wasn’t allowed in 1700s France. Social norms be damned though– Baret dressed up as a man and started the journey with her husband who was in on the gig.
Baret was an expert botanist and she gathered many species of plants during her journey. At some point, her gender was discovered, but on her return the French Navy commemorated her work. Her husband received most of the glory though. To this day, over 70 species of plant names honor him while only one honors Baret.
Dr. Rebecca Lee
Dr. Rebecca Lee can survive some incredibly extreme conditions. Hailing from Hong Kong, this fierce woman was the first woman to travel to three of earth’s most extreme places: The Artic, the Antarctic and Mount Everest.
Want more Stories of Incredible Woman Doing Their Thing? Check out the female travelers who write for us and whom we’ve interviewed.
Their stories add to the rich range of human experience
Women throughout history that let nothing hold them back.
“My adventure began on the Southeastern tip of Pattaya where the clubs and dirty-disco night shows are a must see for curious eyes.”
Ashely Lipasek is an unapologetic traveler who’s explored backpacking circuits in South America and Southeast Asia. Her exploits are raw, funny and full of a contagious energy.
“As I drove back to the hotel, a little old lady flipped me off on the freeway. I laughed as she flew past me, and I settled into the realization that Austin might not be so weird after all.”
Mechele Williams loves looking for places to explore in wide open Texas. In her free time (she’s working on a masters), she writes about things to do in vibrant Texas cities like Austin and Houston.
“Beer Can Island is a low key sand bar where the locals go to hang out, and by that I mean literally string up their hammocks on the woodsy beach.”
Kelly Denski seeks out the hidden gems in the tourist choked state of Florida. She has an eye for local haunts and writes with a simple sweetness that makes you want to skip the tourist attractions for simple local spots.
“Bruschetta is my hors d’oeuvre love language of sorts. And boy is Taverna speaking my language.”
Kelsey Corban covers food and restaurants in Dallas. She skips the well-known restaurants, instead seeking out places that make healthy food delicious.
Lor Glitz makes an experience out of every trip she takes. Bubbly and energetic, Glitz’ abundant love for life seeps through every post she makes. Of course, travel isn’t always sunshine and roses, but Glitz highlights the happy times.
We talked to Lor Glitz about her life, travel and what keeps her feeling young and full of energy.
Bilyana Petrova wants you to travel more and worry less. Most of us want those two things, so how is this raspberry wine loving Bulgarian going to accomplish that? Through a little inspiration and some solid travel tips.
We talked to Petrova about her journeys, and he love for raspberry wine.
Kulkarni works as a yoga teacher in her native country, India. Yoga is as integral to her life as travel. But this wasn’t an occupation she set out to do.