I’ve always had the feeling that nothing is impossible if one applies a certain amount of energy in the right direction. If you want to do it, you can do it.
Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, perhaps better known by her pen name “Nellie Bly,” was born on May 5, 1864. After going undercover as a mental patient at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island, New York and experiencing the horrid nature of life in an asylum first-hand, Cochrane wrote a world-changing expose on the abuse of the mentally ill, which earned her lasting fame and incited serious mental health reform for the entire nation.
But she didn’t stop there. In 1889, inspired by the Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days and financed by the New York World, Cochrane set about beating this fictional globetrotting record in a time when female travel was far from the norm. She documented her successful attempt in a memoir entitled Around the World in Seventy-Two Days, which includes detailed accounts of her trip from New York to England, England to France, Singapore to Japan, and California back to the East Coast via ships, trains, rickshaws, horseback, and even mules.
Through her constant willingness to put herself in uncomfortable, risky situations and her strong belief in morality, justice, and adventure, Cochrane was able to change the world for the mentally ill and prove that when you eliminate the obstacles of your own doubts and insecurities, there’s nothing stopping you from achieving whatever you set your mind to.