Risking with a purpose, on this day in 1889, New York World daredevil reporter Nellie Bly set out to travel around the world. Her goal was to make the trip in less days than the fictional hero Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).
Starting from New York, she made the trip in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes.
Born Elizabeth Jane Cochrane (1864-1922) in Cochran's Mills, Pennsylvania, Bly became a reporter in 1885 to help her family with financial problems. She adopted her pen name from the Stephen Foster song.
Building a reputation as a pioneer in investigative journalism, Bly examined sweat shops and slums in Pittsburgh and the lives of the poor in Mexico.
"I was too impatient to work along at the usual duties assigned women at newspapers," Bly once explained.
As a reporter for Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, she delved into the brutal treatment of patients at an insane asylum. She researched the story first-hand by commiting herself to the asylum for over a week.
Her writing exposed corruption and inspired positive reform. On her trip around the world, she was greeted with brass bands, cheers, and fireworks. At a time when career options were limited for women, Nellie Bly, risk-taker-with-a-purpose, found fame and made a difference.
Risks with purpose are miracles in motion.