It was on November 14, 1889 that New York World journalist Nellie Bly boarded a steamship bound for Europe and began her attempt to break the fictional record of voyaging around the world in 80 days owned by Jules Verne’s character Phileas Fogg.
Bly would meet Verne in France along the way.
M. Verne asked me what my line of travel was to be, and I was very happy to speak one thing that he could understand, so I told him.
“My line of travel is from New York to London, then Calais, Brindisi, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, Aden, Colombo, Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, New York.”
“Why do you not go to Bombay as my hero Phileas Fogg did?” M. Verne asked.
“Because I am more anxious to save time than a young widow,” I answered.
“You may save a young widower before you return,” M. Verne said with a smile.
I smiled with a superior knowledge, as women, fancy free, always will at such insinuations.
She succeeded in her quest, making the trip in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds – with the help of a private train chartered by her publisher to speed her across the U.S. on the last leg of the trip.