Digging to Roam

Inspirational Travel Quotes by Adventurous Women

Inspirational Travel Quotes as said by adventurous ladies

Travel takes us out of our comfort zones. It forces us to learn hard lessons about ourselves and the world around us. Even the most nomadic soul will struggle while navigating new and unfamiliar territory. Women have been traversing the globe and seeking adventure for centuries. Early pioneers include Jeanne Baret who was the first woman in recorded history to circumnavigate the globe in the 1760s and Cheng I Sao who was born in 1775 and in her heyday commanded over 400 pirate ships. Let's take a moment to appreciate some words of wisdom as spoken by courageous trailblazing women.

"Once you've been in space, you appreciate how small and fragile the Earth is." (Tereshkova)

Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space

Born in 1937 in western Russia, she grew up in a small town near Yaroslav where her mother worked in a factory and her father was a truck driver. By the time she was 24 she had become an accomplished skydiving competitor and amassed 90 jumps when the Russian space program looked her way as they pursued a classified mission to send a woman into space. Tereshkova was the only female candidate for the Russian space program that wasn’t a pilot. She became the first woman to fly in space, reaching new heights on the 16th of June 1963 aboard the Vostok 6.

"If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can’t they fly in space?" (Tereshkova)

"The real work of an expedition begins when you return." (Boyd)

A Californian native, Boyd's nickname is "ice woman" due to her multiple explorations to the arctic. She spent decades exploring the arctic by sea, adventures she was able to embark on thanks to a privileged upbringing. She was a philanthropist who self-funded seven journeys to the north. She employed researchers, academics, and entire crews. She was also the photographer and botanist for these scientific expeditions. Then, in 1955 at the age of 68, Boyd chartered a plane and became the first woman to fly over the North Pole.

Louise Arner Boyd, first woman to fly over the North Pole

“I must say that the charm of the Arctic, its infinite diversity, its aloofness from the rest of the world, made it a field which gives its own reward. Only those who have seen the magnificent sunsets over the ice, who have…been buffeted by storms… can appreciate the spell which always draws us back there.” (Boyd)

Annie Londonderry, first woman to cycle the world

"My work on the bicycle since I started on this trip has developed me wonderfully." (Londonderry)

Annie Londonderry's real name was Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, but her "stage" name was Annie Londonderry and it was the name she was known by in all the papers that wrote about her. She was born in 1870 in what is today Latvia and immigrated to the United States as a child. After getting married and having three children, she hopped on a bicycle and became the first woman to cycle around the world while her young children waited for her return 15 months later.

Londonderry financed her trip through sponsorship, just like many travel bloggers and athletes do today, but such a thing was not "proper" for a lady. And shocking people with her immodest ways was something she seemed to truly enjoy. She used the name Londonderry because she needed a measure of protection as a Jewish woman traveling alone.

"I am a journalist and 'a new woman' if that term means that I believe I can do anything that any man can do." (Londonderry)

Isabella L. Bird, first woman in the Royal Geographic Society

"Everything suggests a beyond." (Bird)

Isabella L. Bird was born in 1831 in Yorkshire, England and took her first big voyage in 1845 when she traveled to America. She wrote about her many international adventures and was a well-respected photographer and naturalist. Her photography won her acclaim in the Western world. In 1892 she became the first woman member of the Royal Geographical Society.

"Surely one advantage of traveling is that, while it removes much prejudice against foreigners and their customs, it intensifies tenfold one's appreciation of the good at home." (Bird)

Mary Ritter Beard, historian shifting the conversation

"The era may witness the first female engineer, motor truck chauffeur, radio broadcaster, head of an aviation school, or federal prohibition officer, but it has not produced the first thinking, creative, and writing woman by any means." (Beard)

Mary Ritter Beard was a historian and social justice activist. She was an important figure in the women's suffrage movement  . She hailed from Indiana where she was born in 1876. She spent time living in England in the towns of Oxford and Manchester, during her time abroad her approach to activism was influenced by European social reformers.

She wanted people to understand the contributions of women throughout all of history; to change the conversation from one about oppression to one about agency. She believed women had long provided things necessary for society that were just not being recognized. She knew that the domestic has always been political. In a small measure, her work was part of the early musings of intersectionality. 

"Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." (Beard)

Ella Maillart, Swiss athlete

"The usual channels of university studies or secretarial work did not appeal to me. I cherished difficult dreams through confidence in myself." (Maillart)

Ella Maillart was a Swiss adventurer, athlete, photographer, and writer who lived from 1903 to 1997. She competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics as a sailor, she was also an accomplished skier and the captain of the Swiss Women's field hockey team. She wrote in both English and French on philosophy and her extensive travels through Asia, today her works are important historical narratives.

"You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you with yourself." (Maillart)

Gertrude Bell, Oxford educated diplomat

"All the earth is seamed with roads, and all the sea is furrowed with the tracks of ships, and over all the roads and all the waters a continuous stream of people passes up and down – traveling, as they say, for their pleasure. What is it, I wonder, that they go out to see?" (Bell)

Bell was a British female traveler in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She was an accomplished mountain climber who could speak (aside from her native English) French, German, Italian, Persian, Arabic, a little Turkish. She was the first woman to obtain a first-class degree in modern history from Oxford and she studied archaeology, maps, and surveying techniques at the Royal Geographic Society. Later in life she was advised the British Empire about the Middle East and played a pivotal role when Iraq emerged from the Ottoman Empire.

Nellie Bly, investigative journalist

"Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything." (Bly)

Starting November 14, 1889 Nellie Bly embarked on a historic and record breaking 72 day round the world trip and to be the first person to follow the journey from Jules Verne's book Around the World in Eighty Days and did it in just 72. She was a journalist, a pioneer for investigative journalism, and an activist for social justice.

Nellie Bly was her pen name, her legal name was Elizabeth Cochran Seaman. Some of her biggest contributions were in the field of journalism. She went undercover at a mental institution to expose the abuse and inhumane conditions that the patients were being subjected to.

"I said I could and I would. And I did." (Bly)

"While I live I hope." (Bly)

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Published 19 December 2016
Updated 31 January 2018
By Kristance Harlow

4 Comments

  1. William Lynn on March 7, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    A very nice article, well written! Did you count yourself in the list of Trail-Blazers!

  2. j. madison on December 28, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    I love and so value your entire BEingness, Kristance! Thank you!

  3. Alice Lynn on December 20, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    A fascinating article, reminding us that women have done remarkable things before it was “fashionable!” Did not get the photo downloaded though for Isabella Baird. A glitch? Good writing!

    • Kristance Harlow on December 20, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out! I corrected the image link.

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