Taking inspiration from "Around the World in Eighty Days," investigative reporter Nellie Bly began her own attempt at circumnavigating the globe on the 14th of November, 1889.
The Journey Begins
At 9:40 a.m., Nellie Bly boarded the Augusta Victoria, bound for London. Through England, she made her way to France, stopping in Amiens just long enough to interview Jules Verne, the author of the book that had inspired her journey. She traveled through what is now Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. Sending periodic updates to her editor via the then cutting-edge submarine cable networks. All the while, her newspaper, the New York World, sponsored the "Bly Guessing Match," challenging readers to guess her arrival time as closely as possible. At first, the winner was promised a free trip to Europe, but as interest grew, the pot was sweetened with a cash prize.
Arrival in New Jersey
After traversing multiple continents, Bly was ready to return home, boarding the Oceanic, a White Star liner bound for San Francisco. While on the journey back, rough weather delayed the boat, and she arrived two days behind schedule.
Her employer Joseph Pulitzer chartered a train to get her home safely and on time. This private train, referred to as the "Miss Nellie Bly Special," traveled 2,577 miles in a total of 69 hours, achieving an average speed of 37 miles per hour, a record at the time. She departed the train in Hoboken and found her way back to the New York World office 72 days, 6 hours, and 11 minutes from when she had first left, setting a record for the trip that would be broken just a few months later by George Francis Train.