Famous For: Writing Travel Books and Becoming the First Woman in the Royal Geographic Society
Isabella Bird was a 19th century explorer and important travel writer in Victorian England. She wasn’t your typical explorer but in fact it was her doctors who were responsible for recommending an outdoor lifestyle and a naval voyage as a remedy for significant health issues including spinal injuries and insomnia.
This first voyage came in the form of a trip the United States and from this journey also bloomed her first travel writing which culminated in her first book called An Englishwoman in America.
This one trip was the catalyst was a life of exploration, throughout her life Bird went on to visit to Australia, Hawaii, the Rocky Mountains – the subject of her most famous book ‘A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains’ – Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaya, India, Persia, Turkey, Iraq, Armenia and Morocco.
In fact, her work in India was as a missionary after inheriting a large sum of money she chose to study medicine and travel across India at the age of 60.
To commemorate such an action packed life of travel she was the first woman to be admitted to the Royal Geographic Society in 1892.
Her legacy still lasts today and was the subject of a 2022 BBC documentary series called Trailblazers: A Rocky Mountain Roadtrip that retraced Isabella’s footsteps.