A Race Around the World: Based on the True Adventures of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland

A Race Around the World: Based on the True Adventures of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland

On November 14th, 1889, two female writers entered a race to go around the world in under 80 days. Nellie Bly went east, and Elizabeth Bisland headed west. This eleven part series will unpack their whirlwind adventure and what it was like to circumnavigate the globe alone as a woman at a time where women had no rights. Storyteller and travel writer Adrien Behn brings Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bislands’ experiences, emotions, and adventures to life in this serialized podcast. A Race Around the World brings the incredible accomplishments of these two bold solo female travelers to life, going through every country and feeling they face while braving the world on their own, in under 80 days.

Episodes

September 4, 2023 2 mins

On November 14th, 1889, two female writers entered a race to go around the world in under 80 days. Nellie Bly went east, and Elizabeth Bisland headed west. 

This eleven part series will unpack their whirlwind adventure and what it was like to circumnavigate the globe alone as a woman at a time where women had no rights. 

Storyteller and travel writer Adrien Behn brings Nellie Bly and Elizabeth...

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On November 14th, 1889, Nellie Bly left Manhattan to go on a race around the world in under 80 days. In this episode, host Adrien Behn will delve into the background of this extraordinary woman. She will explore Nellie Bly’s upbringing and aspirations, the obstacles she summersaulted over to become a female investigative journalist, her groundbreaking reporting, and what drove her to embark on a journey that defied the norms of her...

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Nellie Bly isn’t the only woman to leave New York on November 14th to race around the world. On the same day, the editor of the Cosmopolitan magazine, John Brisben Walker, recognized the potential for a sensational story. He dispatched ( aka bribed, badgered, and threatened) his literary writer Elizabeth Bisland to jump into the race as well. But, instead of following the same path, Elizabeth took a westward route. She packs her it...

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November 14th- 21st: Elizabeth Bisland begrudgingly takes a trip across America. In this episode, we travel the northern route of the Great American road trip from New York to California. Over these 4000 miles, we stop in Chicago, pass through the Midwest, interact with Native American women, and explore San Francisco’s Chinatown. As Elizabeth Bisland passes thro...

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November 22nd-November 25th: While Elizabeth Bisland leaves America, Nellie Bly makes contact with her first country. She arrives in England and is informed by reporters, who escort her, that Jules Vern, the author of the fictional A Race Around the World would like to meet her. Is going to a small town in France worth the detour to meet this famous author? Will she make it down in time to southern Italy to catch her steamboat to E...

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November 25th- December 2nd: Nellie Bly sails through the Mediterranean, cuts through the Suez Canal, sails through the Red Sea and makes it to the Indian Ocean. She stops in Egypt and Yemen and explores the Middle East. Now that she is in the middle of it all, she sees both sides to travel, all of the beautiful and ugly parts of it.

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December 8th-12th: After 16 days at sea, Elizabeth Bisland finally sees land again. She explores the land of the rising sun and does everything she can in her short amount of time there. Elizabeth gets the first taste of how exhilarating falling in love with a country can be...and she starts to see this whole race differently. 

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December 8th- 12th: The same days that Elizabeth Bisland is falling in love with Japan, Nellie Bly is having a hard time being present in Ceylon. The fates have intervened, and Nellie’s plans get turned upside down. What will Nellie Bly do now that the unexpected has happened, and will she ever get off the paradisiacal island of Ceylon? 

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December 13th- 16th: Nellie Bly is anxious as her steamship crosses through the Bay of Bengal and the Straits of Malacca to make up for lost time.

In these few days, she does make progress. She touches down in two ports in Malaysia: Penang and Singapore. 

While in Singapore, she analyzes how different cultures express the human experiences in vastly different ways. She comp...

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December 13th- 18th: Thirty-one days out from New York, Elizabeth Bisland arrives in Hong Kong. She is lucky because she has friends in Hong Kong who show her the best parts of the city. She hikes mountains, explores markets, and indulges in every pleasure. Something shifts in Elizabeth Bisland, and she starts wishing that she could stay longer in every places she explores on her flying trip aroun...

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December 19th-December 25th: Nellie Bly surpasses her halfway point, but bad luck and worse news meet her at every corner. She suffers through a monsoon, receives aggressive unwanted male attention, is rescheduled again, all before learning that another woman is in the race against time as well...

Nellie takes charge and has an unforgettable Christmas day in Canton, China. 

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December 20th-25th: Elizabeth Bisland is deliciously indulgent in Malaysia. But even in all the beauty of the tropics, she can't help feeling homesick as she sits on the  thousands of miles from home. 

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November 21, 2023 1 min

Announcement! 

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December 30th- January 8th: Nellie Bly rings in the New Year on a steamship headed to Yokohama. And something happens to Nellie when she arrives in Japan. For the first time, she doesn't want to rush through this country. Japan seduces her and Nellie wishes she could pause the race to enjoy this enchanting country. 

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December 30th- January 9th: Elizabeth Bisland had not felt the pressure of the race until now. She starts to feel the pace of the race pick up and the faster it goes by her the less she wants it to end. But she feels a great shift in herself as she explores the oldest civilizations in the world. 

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January 15th-19th: Elizabeth Bisland travels through Europe to try to catch the fastest steamship to get her back to New York in under 80 days. But every steamship bails in the last minute; she gets confusing information, and is stuck in a thunderstorm of all storms as she grasps for her last bits of sanity and good temper. 

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December 12, 2023 68 mins

January 20th-26th: Both women rush closer to the finish line. Liz heads west on her tumultuous ride across the Atlantic while Nellie moves east on high speed trains across the country. And after months of calculation, there is finally a winner to this race. 

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December 19, 2023 28 mins

What happens to the rest of Nellie and Liz's lives and why is their story important? 

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