We’ve all heard the story of Amelia Earhart. Children across the country grow up learning about the brave woman who tried to fly around the world, only to mysteriously vanish. But the life and legacy of Amelia Earhart can’t be summed up in one single, tragic event. Earhart was a pioneer and trailblazer who left a profound impact on the American psyche – and paved the way for a whole new generation of women. It’s been 121 years since her birth and 81 years since she disappeared, and her legacy is still going strong.
Born in Kansas on July 24, 1897, Amelia Earhart’s whole life could be seen as a rebellion against norms. She simply never felt the need to follow the constraints forced upon women at the time. Academically gifted, Earhart studied medicine after graduating from high school before finding her one true love: flying.
Although Earhart is now celebrated for stepping into the male-dominated world of flying, the path to the sky was not easy. Women just didn’t fly planes in those days; it was a privilege reserved almost exclusively for men. Additionally, planes and lessons weren’t exactly inexpensive. Rather than give up on her dream, Earhart worked over two dozen jobs so as to afford her first plane.
The rest, as they say, is history. Earhart became known as one of the most talented pilots of her era, regardless of gender. She set the altitude record for women in the very first plane she ever bought – just one of the many flight records she shattered during her career. A passionate feminist and activist, Earhart used her fame to advocate for causes important to her. When she disappeared in 1937, she left behind an entire generation of young girls who knew that even soaring among the clouds was an achievable feat.
That legacy stands strong even today. Emboldened by her success, more and more women began applying to fly planes. Female astronauts often point to Earhart as their inspiration for daring to attempt such a challenging and dangerous career.
Even women with no interest in sitting behind the wheel of a plane felt the impact of Earhart’s life. This was a woman who managed to excel in a world entirely dominated by men. Amelia Earhart broke all the rules and succeeded on her own terms. With that model in mind, she inspired many women to step into careers in fields like science, engineering, and computer programming just to name just a few.
But Earhart’s legacy somehow runs deeper than even this. There’s a reason she has remained such a powerful figure in American history, and it’s not just because of her mysterious end. Amelia Earhart lived her life on her own terms; she fought against convention and pursued her dreams, regardless of what the world around her thought. This is a difficult thing to achieve today; back then, it was virtually impossible for a woman.
Travels With Amelia
Nowadays, travel is something a lot of us take for granted. Earhart came from a time when flying across the ocean – much less around the world – was a feat in and of itself. When we’re stuck on a bumpy flight or complaining about delays, it’s easy to forget the simple magic that comes from travel. Earhart’s story takes us back to the days when the flight was still a marvelous thing to experience. It reminds us to pause and appreciate travel in all its complicated, exciting, sometimes frustrating glory.
While Amelia Earhart never returned from that fateful flight around the world, she still lives on – in ways she could never have imagined. Her story is told to schoolchildren around the world. They visit museums dedicated to her. They can even watch movies and see fictionalized versions of her having all sorts of wonderful adventures.
For some kids, this will be just another history lesson. But for many little girls out there, Amelia Earhart will be the first real-life superhero they encounter: a regular person who set out to do incredible things on her own terms – and in doing so, changed the world. So while Amelia Earhart stands as an example of exploration and discovery, in a lot of ways she is much more than that. She lived life bravely, both in the air and on the ground. In uncertain and scary times, seeing someone take on the unknown and win can be a rare and powerful comfort. And as long as she continues to inspire people to chase their dreams, Amelia Earhart will never really be gone.
Ready to take flight like Earhart? Tell us about your travel endeavors inspired by this famous aviatrix below!