cover image of Wanderlust


The Amazing Ida Pfeiffer, the First Female Tourist

by John van Wyhe


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Wanderlust is the true story of Ida Pfeiffer (1797-1858), one of the most remarkable female travellers who ever lived. It is the story of a stubborn tomboy, of lovers torn apart, and a miserable housewife who decides to follow her dreams despite the strong disapproval of society. At a time when it was considered utterly impossible, Pfeiffer set off, alone, to travel the world. She displayed incredible courage, endurance and perseverance. Along the way she survived storms at sea, parched deserts, plague, malaria, drowning, earthquakes, robbers, murderers, head hunters and cannibals. She became the first woman to circle the globe alone, and then the first to do so twice and she was the first budget traveller to boot. As a result of her incredible exploits and her best-selling travel books, Pfeiffer became one of the most famous women in the world in the nineteenth century. It’s a tale that culminates in spies, intrigue, a botched revolution and a remarkable career cut tragically short by one voyage too many.

Publication Details

NUS Press
Ridge Books
Publication Date:


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John van Wyhe (Author)

John van Wyhe is a historian of science and one of the world's leading experts on Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. He is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences and a Fellow of Tembusu College, National University of Si...

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