By Rebekah Bachman
Then (1889), the most common modes of transportation were horse-drawn carriages, trains and steamships; now (2017), we travel by airplane, high-speed rail, and luxury cruise ships. Then, travel arrangements were made by telegraph, letter or messenger; now, we use websites, email, and telephone. Then, the travel route around the world was 24,899 miles and took 72 days; now, the travel route of 24,899 miles can be completed in less than 72 hours.
With that perspective, the accomplishments of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland during their history-making race around the world shared in Eighty Days (Matthew Goodman) become even more remarkable.
These two women, actual contemporaries of novelist Jules Verne, set out to test the fictional Phileas Fogg’s record set in Verne’s novel, Around the World in 80 Days. One headed west, the other started on an eastern route and their accounts of what followed are amazing!
Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything. – Nellie Bly
Not just focusing on the journeys, the author does a very good job of giving a fuller view of both women before, during and after the race. I appreciated this, as there are instances I wish for the “rest of the story” when reading about specific historical events. Do not be deterred by the 453 pages or the fact that this is a historical non-fiction book. You will get caught up in the action and particulars of their trips, the differences and similarities between the two gals, and the other happenings of the period. I believe this is one you should skip the digital version and choose holding the book in your hands, while you tag along for the ride.
Nellie Bly had a saying by which she tried to live, “Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything”. As I think about some of my endeavors that seem to be at a standstill, I’m wondering if I’ve been applying my energies the most accurate way in the best direction. Whether or not it’s travel-related, don’t be surprised if you find yourself moved to action on a delayed adventure when you finish reading this book.