Pioneer. Explorer. Trailblazer. I’m especially drawn to stories of women who have defied societal norms and their own fears, who stepped out in faith and accomplished something for the first time. So when I took my 9-year-old daughter to the library to get a new book, the book with a black and white photo of Amelia Earhart caught my attention. The title of it… Explorers.
I can’t say I’ve ever thought of women as explorers so much. Explorers were tough and rugged men like Lewis and Clark and Christopher Colombus. But in the pages of this book, my daughter and I traveled back in time and were introduced to a few amazing female explorers!
Did you know Amelia Earhart actually flew across the Atlantic twice? That’s right… once as a member of the crew and once in a solo flight. She was also the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the mainland. Each time Amelia set a record, she was leading the way for others. She wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. Across the globe, we are still mezmorized by her life and unexplainable death.
Annie Smith Peck was an American mountain climber. Her ultimate goal was to conquer some height where no man had previously explored. In 1888, she climbed her first mountain and after many challenging yet victorious climbs, she climbed her last mountain at the age of 82. She saw herself as setting an example for other women and felt that every one of her accomplishments gave women an advantage.
Valentina Tereshkova was a Soviet Astronaut and in 1963, became the first woman in space. Valentina was poor and uneducated but her determination landed her in the driver’s seat of one-woman spacecraft orbiting the earth for 3 days. She had a long career in Soviet politics as a member of Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. Valentina also led the Soviet delegation to the World Conference on Women in Copenhagen and played a critical role in shaping the socialist women’s global agenda for peace.
Flying around the world. Climbing treacherous mountains. Traveling in space. Women have done amazing things simply by wanting to be the first women to accomplish them. They risked their lives in the name of exploration! I contend, though, that it’s about more than just bragging rights. Yes… Amelia, Annie, and Valentina all hold a special place in history but their lives are a testament for what women can do when they believe in themselves enough to try.
The wish I have for you is the same as the one I have for my daughter… that you will tap into your bravery, leave other people’s expectations in the dust, and do something you’ve only dreamed of. (Tweetable!) It doesn’t matter if someone else has done it before… you haven’t. You can still hold the title of ‘Explorer’ and write a beautiful story of adventure!
As Amelia Earhart reminds us “You will find the unexpected everywhere you go in life. By adventuring about, you become accustomed to the unexpected. The unexpected them becomes what it really is – the inevitable.”
So go! Get out there and blaze your own trail! Create your own adventure! Become a pioneer! Explore your world! Not only will you accomplish great things, you’ll inspire other women! What do you want to be known for? Better yet… what are you waiting for?