October 3, 2012 Third Person Journal Nellie Bly
There has always been a human fascination with exploring the unknown. Then, once the unknown has been discovered and charted, people begin to think of other ways to conquer it. “Could we get there faster?” “Could one person do it alone?” “Could someone live there for a week? A month? A year?”
Long ago, in the 1500’s, Magellan became the first person to circumnavigate the globe. His journey was made in a ship and took several tries over a period of years. Since then, many others have made the trip and using various modes of transportation, like planes, boats, or spacecraft.
Some of the trips used a few different types of transportation and, usually, the people making those journeys were trying to set speed records.
In 1889, a young journalist named Nellie Bly set out from New York trying to beat the record of the fictional character, Phileas Fogg (from Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne).
Nellie Bly (whose real name is Elizabeth Cochran) was one of the first female reporters and she often did amazing things for her stories. Once, she got herself committed to an insane asylum in order to expose the awful conditions within.
For this particular story, she just had to travel all the way around the world (24,889 miles) in fewer than 80 days. Another newspaper had heard about her journey and, in an effort to gain publicity, they also chose a reporter to send around the world at the same time as Bly. This other reporter was sent westward while Nellie Bly travelled east. Bly’s trip began on a steam ship from New Jersey. She headed first to Europe, where she met Jules Verne. She used trains to travel across Europe and Asia. Then, from Asia to San Francisco, she took a ship. For the rest of the journey back to New York, she took a train. Despite some delays, Nellie Bly had managed to make it back in only 72 days and a half days. The other reporter was still travelling and would not arrive home for 4 more days.
Nelly Bly later went on to be a war correspondent from the front lines during World War I. (She was the first female to do so).