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Inspiring female adventurers Mongolia

Inspiring Female Adventurers Mongolia

Mongolia has been attracting explorers and those with a wanderlust for centuries. As a country it was considered a remote destination  – the shorthand expression for the farthest a person could be from any place was to say that they’ve gone to ‘Outer Mongolia.’ And as International Women’s Day approaches, we’re celebrating inspiring female adventurers and women explorers that have visited Mongolia.

For those of you who have the soul of a nomad, there are a few recommendations for written accounts about Mongolia before air travel, before trains, before Wi-fi and before the country was essentially closed to foreigners by the communist government from 1921. And although the 21st Century reality is that you can get on a plane which makes Mongolia a little less remote but Mongolia continues to provide a genuine challenge that takes travellers through still some of the most stunning regions to be found anywhere on earth.  (Yes! I am biased!).

Be inspired by many strong and amazing role models, women who dared to explore the globe, re-wrote history and pioneered adventure travel.

e thought it would be an excellent time to think about fearless female travellers who inspire others with their feats. Here, we present five fantastic female travellers who prove that, while every explorer must employ common sense and caution, your gender needn’t affect your propensity for adventure.

Mildred Cable

Inspiring women explorers Mongolia - Mildred Cable

Mildred Cable was a missionary who travelled extensively in western and northwestern China in the 1920s. She was a prolific writer, chronicling not just of her missionary work, but her travels as well including those in the Gobi Desert.  A number of her books (co-authored by her colleague Fransesca French) are considered ‘classics’  because of their descriptions of life in the first half of the twentieth century.

‘With the rising of the moon the desert takes on its most captivating appearance, and though the long hours while she travels from one side of the horizon to the other she has her own way with human imagination, softening the austere outlines and investing the barest formations with subtle charm. She is mistress of magic and with one touch can turn the wilderness into a dream world.’

Mildred Cable and Francesca French, The Gobi Desert  

Beatrix Bulstrode

Inspiring women explorers Mongolia - Beatrice Bulstrode

An intrepid British woman, Beatrix Bulstrode, travelled in and through Mongolia twice starting in 1911. The result is considered one of the great travel classics of all time ‘A Tour in Mongolia.’

Helen Thayer

 At the age of 63, Helen Thayer fulfilled her lifelong dream of crossing Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Accompanied by her 74-year-old husband Bill and two camels, Tom and Jerry, Thayer walked 1600 miles. 

Book Cover - Walking The Gobi

But the Gobi expedition was just one of many significant accomplishments achieved by New Zealand born Helen Thayer. She travels without guides or support teams and was named one of the Great Explorers of the Twentieth Century by National Geographic. She uses her experiences to convince young and old that ‘all great triumphs are realized by total commitment to a goal, to planning for success and finally determination to reach the top.’

Louisa Waugh

Louisa Waugh is the author of the travelogue and proper old-fashioned style of travel book – Hearing Birds Fly – which describes the year she spent living in Tsengel, the westernmost village in Mongolia, as an English-teacher. The descriptions of the stark landscapes and local stories make this an honest account of time spent in Mongolia’s westernmost town.


Book Cover - Hearing Birds Fly

Baigalmaa Norjmaa

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I’m Jess Brooks. I am the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia - a registered Mongolian business and social travel enterprise that focuses on providing travellers with a real 21st Century insight into Mongolia. I have been based in Mongolia since 2006 and together with my beloved Mongolian team, we focus on tourism that makes a positive difference. I'm also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society - awarded for my work in Mongolia and a published guidebook author - having worked together with World Adventure Guides to produce a digital interactive guide to Mongolia.
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