How to Pack for Your Thanksgiving Break Like Adventuress Nellie Bly

Tomorrow is the 124th anniversary of Nellie Bly’s departure on her adventure that made her the most famous woman in the world.

We bet you’ve never heard of her. According to

Sixteen years after [Jules] Verne’s classic novel Eighty Days Around the World, his vision for speed-circumnavigation would be made real — but by a woman. On the morning of November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly, an audacious newspaper reporter, set out to outpace Verne’s fictional itinerary by circumnavigating the globe in seventy-five days, thus setting the real-world record for the fastest trip around the world.

By way of honoring her extraordinary accomplishments (see below), and because you’re probably getting ready to travel somewhere for Thanksgiving and dreading paying baggage fees, we wanted to introduce you to the concept of packing like Ms. Bly. This image to the right represents what she brought with her…to!

If you’re not familiar with Bly’s groundbreaking undercover journalism work, she is definitely worth a look-see. Matthew Goodman describes her thus in his book Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World:

Bly had gone undercover…feigning insanity so that she might report firsthand on the mistreatment of the female patients of the Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum.…Bly trained with the boxing champion John L. Sullivan; she performed, with cheerfulness but not much success, as a chorus girl at the Academy of Music…She visited with a remarkable deaf, dumb, and blind nine-year-old girl in Boston by the name of Helen Keller. Once, to expose the workings of New York’s white slave trade, she even bought a baby.

This is a dame who definitely deserves her own day or honor, or at least to be the patron saint of smart packing.