If you are a wanderer, if you travel solo, or you’re still forced to fight against gender stereotypes, then you absolutely must know the story of Ida Pfeiffer. A travelling woman definitely ahead of her time, who met queens and cannibals as well, and was also the first European lady to cross the island of Borneo.

Ida began traveling late, after turning 40, after a failed marriage, and after rising her children alone. See? It’s never too late!

Her first trip took her from Vienna to the Black Sea, then to Syria and Egypt. She crossed the Suez Strait and went back to Vienna through Italy. She also had to lie to her family in order to be able to go, but this didn’t stop her leaving again. Ida’s second trip took her to Scandinavia, where she also had the chance to meet the Queen of Sweden.

In 1846, Ida Pfeiffer left for her first round-the-world trip, which began in Brazil. She sailed around the dreaded Cape Horn to reach the beautiful Valparaiso, in Chile. Afterwards she went to Tahiti, and from there to China, moving through countries where the presence of a white woman was such an extraordinary event that she often found herself in challenging situations. Not that any of this could possibly scare her. From India, in fact, Ida went to Mesopotamia and Persia, she visited Baghdad, crossed the desert with the nomad caravans and saw the ruins of Babylon and Nineveh. Passing through Armenia, Turkey and Greece, this extraordinary woman finally returned to Vienna. Of course already planning her next trip.

When she left Vienna once more, this time headed to Cape Town, Souht Africa, Ida was 54. This time her compass took her to South East Asia, where she met, and survived, cannibal populations. She then moved to California, crossing the Pacific Ocean, then headed to South America, which she had to leave soon due to the political instability of the region. Moving north again, till the Niagara Falls, Ida finally reached London and went back home.

Not having seen Australia yet, Pfeiffer left one last time in 1856. She reached Mauritius and then Madagascar. Here, at the outbreak of political riots, she was accused of espionage and imprisoned. Sick, and escorted by the army, Ida had to walk for 53 days through malaria-infested swamps to reach the coast and return to Mauritius. Unfortunately her Australian dream wasn’t meant to be. Due to malaria, Ida was in fact forced to return to Vienna, where she died.

Her books made her pretty famous and gave her an income that funded her travels, but she still started on a very low budget, and traveled like that all of her life. She’s the perfect role model for all of us backpackers!

Now, since we’ll be soon allowed to travel again, what better time to kickstart ourselves out of the door with this amazing lady as a source of inspiration?

I said I’d join, right? So this is my entry for the #fairtradechallenge! Coffe is already here, so are sugar and chocolate, tea will join very soon.

Now, this is just a fun game (and my pic may have been better) but the most important thing is that we all remember, at least every now and then, to buy food whose proceeds go to the real producers, the farmers of the countries where the goods actually come from. They often are taken advantage of or run just small business unable to compete with huge companies.

Also the taste is divine 🙂

Did you know? Next weekend, 10-11-12 May 2019 is the World Fairtrade Challenge. It is a nice initiative that mainly serves to make people aware of the issue of fair trade, of the way in which small businesses that produce the goods we consume every day (coffee, cocoa, fruit juices, clothes and many many others) are often penalized, if not really robbed, by huge supply chains.
There is so much we can do, for example by choosing the products that have the Fair Trade logo, both in some supermarkets and in specialized shops. The quality is excellent (I’ve been using them for years), the price is reasonable and the profits are distributed much more equitably so that farmers and small business, the people actually doing the job, get a fair deal. But there’s even more. It’s not only about money, it’s about child labor, gender equality, climate change etc.


I’m totally convinced that none of us have to be a martyr, a saint, much less a fanatic, but we can still help with little gestures every day, the ones that cost us almost nothing but mean so much for other people.

We are many small drops and together we can become the sea. Why give up this opportunity?

As for the World Fairtrade Challenge I’m talking about, it’s simply a nice and fun thing to do with coworkers, friends, family or by ourselves. If you work in contact with many people you can organize a public event, but a family breakfast is also perfectly fine. It’s what I’ll do, for example. More or less every country has its own site where if you want you can even request free gadgets to personalize your event. Then you upload some nice photos using the tag #fairtradechallenge et voilĂ , many people who previously had no idea what fair trade is, now know and maybe tomorrow some of them will make the right choice. Believe me, it may not look like much, but a little is more than nothing, right?