Close your eyes and imagine leaving your home and traveling all the way around the world. You would cross oceans, meet new people, try new foods, and see new places. It would be an exciting journey, even dangerous at times, but it would change the way you see everything… Today we are going to learn about a woman who did just that … and finished the journey faster than anyone else in the world. This is a story of daring and adventure. This is the story of the fearless Nellie Bly.
When Nellie Bly was little she lived in a time when kids didn’t go to school most of the day. Instead, they worked long days. Nellie had a big family with fifteen brothers and sisters who all worked in their father’s mill. A mill is a place where wheat is ground in flour to make bread. Here she learned to work hard and have determination. Determination is trying and trying and trying, and not giving up until you finish something.
Nellie loved to wear the color pink. One day her friend said: “You wear pink so much, we’re going to call you ‘pinky’!” From then on she had the nickname “pinky.”
Nellie also loved to write. She practiced writing so often she became very good at it. When she got a little older, she became a journalist. A journalist is someone who writes for the newspaper. Nellie was also very curious and loved learning about new things … and she wrote the new things she learned in the newspaper. Her stories soon made her very famous.
One day Nellie was reading a book called “Around the World in 80 Days” about a man who traveled around the world. Even though the book wasn’t a true story, Nellie wanted to do it herself … and believed she could. Other people told her it would be too dangerous, or that because she was a girl she couldn’t do it. They told her she needed someone strong to protect her. But Nellie was independent and brave and believed she could do it on her own.
Nellie packed her clothes and other things into a bag and went to the dock where the ship was waiting. Everyone cheered and waved goodbye as the ship set sail.
Nellie travels around the world
At sea, Nellie became seasick. Seasick is when someone not used to the ocean gets very sick from the boat rocking in the water. But even though it was hard she was sick she kept going, and she was determined to finish the journey.
Next, the ship landed in England, and from here she went to France and finally to Asia. Sometimes she traveled by boat, sometimes by train. She tasted new foods, went alligator hunting, bought a monkey, and rode ponies across Hong Kong. Newspapers all over the world were keeping track of Nellie Blye. All the world was watching to see how fast she would finish her trip.
When she returned to America, while traveling across the country people [crowds, cheering] waved to her along the way, gave her flowers and fruit, and shook her hand. Girls and boys saw what Nellie was doing and realized they could do difficult things too.
By the time she got home, she had traveled 25,000 miles in 72 days. It was a very long trip and she was tired and glad to be home. Because Nellie was brave and believed in herself, other women saw that they could do adventurous things too. She was an inspiration to all.
You can be like Nellie
Like Nellie, you can learn to work and be determined — to keep trying and trying and not give up even when something is hard. You can be curious. You can imagine new things and do them even when others doubt in you or no one else has done them before. It may take learning new things and lots of practice and courage but you can do it if you keep trying.