My husband and I are leaving for our big trip tomorrow! Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic! I managed to pare down my ‘bare necessities’ to fit into one little 19″ carryon. But you know who’s more impressive than that? Sure you do! Nellie Bly.

In 1889, Nellie set off around the world. Her goal was to beat the fictional record set in “Around the World in 80 Days.”  When she first approached her publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, with the idea, he scoffed. A young lady? Unaccompanied? Impossible!

The men at the paper told her, in no uncertain terms, that they loved her idea, but a male reporter would be infinitely more suitable for such an adventure.

“Very well,” Nellie replied. “Start the man and I’ll start the same day for some other newspaper and beat him.”

Faced with such grit, Pulitzer had no choice but to concede to Nellie.

Rather than pack the ‘dozen trunks’ her editor had predicted, Nellie brought just one bag, very small — a mere 16 by 7 inches, as pictured. She packed unbelievably light. No, really. Her writing came first, so by the time she’d packed her pens and paper, there was just enough room for a robe and underwear.  She didn’t even pack a single spare dress.

I didn’t do quite as well as Nellie and have 5 complete changes of outfits. And instead of 72 days, I’ll only be gone for about 15.  As I pack, I have to marvel, yet again, at the force of nature that was Nellie Bly.

Packing Light with Nellie Bly

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