Travel Blog

March 8, 2024

Top 3 Inspirational Women - Travel edition

A little peak at how women have changed the world

Our team is all about supporting all the amazing things women do around us. We wanted to share our top 3 picks of inspirational women in travel and their extraordinary little-known stories  We hope you get inspired by the amazing achievements in their stories and start planning your next travel adventures with us. 

  1. Jeanne Baret - the first woman known to circumnavigate the globe 
    Born: 27 July 1740, Burgundy, France | Died: 5 August 1807, Saint-Aulaye, France 

Although she grew up poor, Jeanne was intelligent and determined, she made it out of her tiny village to a nearby town and began her escape from a life of rural poverty. She became a housekeeper for Philibert Commerson and began to assist him in his botanical work. After moving to Paris together, in 1766 French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville invited Commerson to serve as a botanist on the French navy vessel the Étoile. Commerson requested that Jeanne accompany him as his scientific assistant and to care for him as his health declined.  

French naval regulations outlawed the presence of women aboard naval ships, so Baret disguised herself as a man and shortened her name to “Jean.” She was certainly not the first male impersonator in the 18th century, and under her new identity, collected samples of more than 6,000 plant specimens from around the world. Commerson’s frailty left Baret to undertake most of the scientific labour and advance the field of Botany. Though many of Baret’s contributions to science were overlooked or attributed to Commerson, her legacy has survived nevertheless. In 2012 a species of vine, Solanum Baretiae, was named after her. (Yay!) 

  1. Bessie Coleman – the first African American aviator, star of early aviation exhibitions & air shows 
    Born: 26 January 1892, Atlanta, Texas, U.S. | Died: 30 April 1926, Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. 

One of 13 children, Bessie grew up in Texas, where her mathematical aptitude freed her from working in the cotton fields and allowed her to attend college. At 27 years old, now living in segregated Chicago, sick of life working in beauty salons, and after conversations with her brother, a World War I veteran, she was determined to become a pilot. Discrimination crushed Bessie’s attempts to do so in the US so she studied French and in 1920 was accepted into the Caudron Brothers School of Aviation in Le Crotoy, France – a very well-respected flight school at the time. In 1921, she became the first American woman to obtain an international pilot’s license and did it in just 7 months!  

After further training in France, she specialized in stunt flying & parachuting and staged the first public flight by an African-American woman in America on Labor Day, (3 September) 1922. She also raised money for a school of her own to train black aviators. Before this dream could become reality, however, during a rehearsal for an aerial show, the co-piloted plane carrying Bessie spun out of control, resulting in her untimely death. The Bessie Coleman Aero Club was then formed to promote aviation awareness in the black community. Both men and women were welcome to apply. 

  1. Eileen Collins - the first woman to pilot and, later, to command a U.S. space shuttle 
    Born: 19 November 1956, Elmira, New York, U.S. 

From when she was a child, Eileen loved airplanes and flying. Proving that shooting for the stars was not out of reach, at 19 years old she saved money earned from part-time jobs and began taking flying lessons. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics in 1978 and became one of four women admitted to Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. In 1979 she became the Air Force’s first female flight instructor and for the next 11 years taught both flying and maths. She continued her training at the Air Force’s Institute of Technology and was one of the first women to attend Air Force Test Pilot School. She eventually achieved the Air Force rank of colonel and earned her Masters in both operations research and space systems management. 

Selected as an astronaut in 1990, Collins became the first woman pilot of a U.S. space shuttle in 1995, before becoming the first woman to command a shuttle mission in 1999. She has logged over 6,751 hours in 30 different types of aircraft and performed maneuvers previously unmastered by other pilots. Eileen retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2005 and from NASA in 2006 but continues to inspire many through her hard work and determination. 

We hope these three women inspired you to start planning your next travel adventure with us. Build the courage like they did to be the first in their fields. Our popular Language Immersion Programs are the best way to start your travel adventures. Embrace the culture of the country, whilst improving your language skills significantly. We travel to ITALY, SPAIN, GREECE, FRANCE, AND GERMANY 

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