One of the most famous bets in history

Aug 12 · 2 min read

One of the most famous in world literature bet Phileas Fogg (“Around the
World in 80 Days”) has generated a lot of imitators. The first who managed
to beat Fogg’s record in real life was the American journalist Nellie Bly. In
1888, she invited her editor at News of the World to send her on an
unforgettable adventure along the route of the Jules Verne character with a
small suitcase and 200 pounds in her pocket.

During the preparation for the trip, Cosmopolitan magazine also became
interested in the question and sent its correspondent: she was going to
drive around the globe, moving in the opposite direction. As a result, a bet
was made which of the girls would be the first to return to the point of

That exact liner she used

On November 14, 1889, Nellie boarded the Augusta Victoria transatlantic
liner and set off. Unfortunately, in real life, much fewer adventures awaited
her than in the book, but this experience was unforgettable.

Nellie wrote about all this in her journal. Pulitzer opened the sweepstakes
for readers: bets were taken on this event when Nellie gets to the next
destination. On January 21, late for two days because of a storm in the
Pacific Ocean, Nellie arrived back to the USA. However, she still had to
move to another coast.

If the journalist travelled by ordinary railroad, she could not make it in 80
days, but Pulitzer sent her a personal train, so Nellie arrived at the point of
departure eight days ahead of time! Her rival Cosmopolitan was still flying
over the Atlantic at that moment, hopelessly losing a bet.

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