A Woman to Know: Isabella Bird

I still vote civilization a nuisance, society a humbug and conventionality a crime. — Isabella

(image via National Portrait Gallery)

In 1872, at 41, Isabella Bird set sail on the first of many travels -- from her home in London all the way to Australia. She began a life of trip photography, adventuring and travel writing, chronicling her time in China, India, Japan, Morocco, Hawaii, Tibet and (most famously) a six-month sojourn across Colorado's Rocky Mountains. She collected fans around the globe, admirers who marveled at her marvelously glam camping style, her fierce independence, her refusal to ride sidesaddle and her prolific travel documentation.

In 1892, she became the first woman ever elected to the Royal Geographic Society. Just a few weeks before her death, she was planning yet another trip -- back to China, to see everything again, just one more time.

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