These 6 images epitomize what it means to be female adventurers

This article was created for The Travel Project by Alli Speed, a YouTuber, global traveller, and Travel Project partner, from the USA.

6 quotes, said by 6 of the most inspirational female adventurers of all time, brought to life by 6 images I captured while traveling in Iceland, seeking to understand the role feminism plays in this tiny, beautiful country.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”


Amelia Earhart: The first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean

alli speed in iceland


This waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, was our last stop on an extremely long day tour. I was so cold and tired after a two hour glacier hike that I decided to take some photos and enjoy the scenery, but skip the walk on the famous trail that passes behind the falls. As I shivered in front of the massive wall of water, two people who were on the tour with me walked by with huge grins on their faces, soaked through with icy water. “Are you going behind the falls?” they asked. I replied that I wasn’t. They looked at each other briefly, and one finally said, “You might never come back here. You should go!” And so I went. It felt so good to choose, and to push back against myself.

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of the story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story.”


Cheryl Strayed: American novelist, adventurer, and author of best-selling novel ‘Wild’

image taken by alli speed of ginny on lake in iceland


This is a photo of my lovely friend, Ginny, walking out onto a frozen lake. We saw a few other tourists doing it as we drove by, and she said she wanted to give it a try. I was terrified to walk out there. I knew that the moment I put my weight down, the ice would shatter and I would fall straight through. But as I watched her brazenly charge out onto the sheet, I realized that the fear I felt was entirely constructed. It was all in my mind. Nobody else had fallen in. I wasn’t going to fall in. So I followed her out, and we giggled like little kids as we slid up and down the ice.

“I don’t think of myself as being a woman and having everything to prove.”


Eileen Collins: Arguably the greatest female astronaut in history

Image taken by Alli Speed, of a glacier in iceland


My interpretation of this quote is that women can be bold and blaze trails, all while maintaining a sense of humility. This made me think of glaciers. They move in such an unassuming way, at such a patient pace – yet they cut a lasting path that shapes everything around them.


“I am a journalist and a ‘new woman’, if that term means that I believe I can do anything that any man can do.”


Annie Londonderry: The first woman to bicycle around the world. She spent 15 months riding her bike, armed with just a pearl-handed revolver and a change of clothes

image of alli speed next to a waterfall in iceland


The first time I traveled by myself, my mom was extremely nervous. My grandma was nervous. I was nervous. But, after many solo trips, that concern has long since shifted to excitement and encouragement. Being alone in unfamiliar places has completely expanded my sense of self. It has taught me to trust in my own abilities. It has given me perspective. Every time I leave my comfort zone, I feel renewed.

“You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown. You travel for the unknown, that reveals you in yourself.”


Ella Maillart: A Swiss adventurer, sportswoman, travel writer, and photographer. Ella is best known for her solo journey through Central Asia in the 1930s

image of a smoking geiser in Iceland


Iceland is a fascinating place unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. I knew a little bit about their culture and history prior to my arrival, but books and articles can’t prepare you for the feeling of a new place. That’s something that comes with experience. Once you get to know your destination, you start to realize how and where you fit in. I always wonder what kind of person I’ll be when I arrive somewhere new.

“I do not know the word quit”


Susan Butcher: An American dog musher who was the second woman to win the Iditarod dogsled race in Alaska, the second person to win the Iditarod four times, and the first person to ever win that race four out of five sequential years

image taken by alli speed of a waterfall in iceland


When I think of persistence, I think of water. Water never stops moving. When it’s faced with an obstacle, it changes either form or direction. It knows no bounds. It exists, in some form or another, eternally.

Alli Speed travelled to Iceland with Contiki, as part of The Travel Project. If you have a story around female travel or the progression of feminism in the country you live in, we’d love to hear it. Entrants could see their content published right here on six-two, and you could also go into the running to earn travel with Contiki. Find out more here