Jules Verne’s fictional gentleman traveller Phileas Fogg will be forever known for his adventure filled 80 day journey around the world, but Nellie Bly’s record-setting 1889 trip taking a mere 72 days is a far more impressive achievement – especially because it actually happened. The journalist’s name may not be as synonymous with travel as Fogg, but she certainly isn’t a forgotten figure. Former lawyer Rena Thiagarajan is among her biggest fans, and adopted Nellie as the spiritual matriarch of her travel and lifestyle website Project Bly.
Based in the Mission District of San Francisco, Project Bly’s central tenet is that to really appreciate a city, one must walk it and get amongst the action with the locals. That means street markets, back alley artisans, and the food of the common people. The website visits a different city every two months, presenting the sights and sounds of the locations as a virtual cultural tour, and offering authentic wares for sale through its shop; textiles, homewares, photography and paintings are all up for grabs. Manna from heaven for the armchair traveller and a boon for those who are still making up their minds about where to go next.