Helen Thayer – World Explorer & Solo Female Traveler

Helen Thayer – World Explorer & Solo Female Traveler

“Anybody can be an explorer if they want to be. You can be an astronaut if you want. Figure out what you want to do, and then go do it” – Helen Thayer

National Geographic Explorer, best-selling author, international speaker and global athlete, Helen Thayer, became the first woman to trek solo to the magnetic North Pole on March 30, 1988. “People said that I was a woman and I would get lost,” she says. “I thought that was insulting. I was the kind of person that just went out and did whatever. The fact they didn’t like it was their problem.”

As the first woman to travel alone to this region, Thayer, accompanied only by her beloved husky dog named Charlie, completed their trek through storms, a tent fire, breaking sea ice, and encounters with polar bears. In Helen’s later travels and studies, Charlie helped introduce her to wolf packs, kept her safe from grizzly bears, and remained her ever-present companion.

Helen passed this last August but her love for adventure lives on through Adventure Classroom. A not-for-profit organization founded by Helen to teach and inspire adults and students through the stories of her travels, challenges, and triumphs. Through her work, Heled inspired people of all ages to work towards higher levels of achievement and absolute belief in reaching their goals. She shared her stories through speaking roles helping to inspire people to plan for success, to live life without limits, and to take every step in making their dreams come true. She advised, “To reach your goals it takes just one step at a time. No matter how high the mountain might be, always stay positive, see yourself as successful, be persistent and don’t give up.”

Helen Thayer’s accomplishments:

First woman to walk 4,000 miles across the Sahara from Morocco to the Nile River
At 63, Helen walked 1,600 miles across the Gobi Desert
Represented three countries as a track and field athlete
Kayaked 2,200 miles of the Amazon River
Lived near a wolf den above the Arctic Circle for a year
Recognized by National Geographic and National Public Radio as one of the Great Explorers of the Twentieth Century
Recipient of the prestigious Vancouver Award by the Explorers Club

There’s a community of solo female travelers out there. More and more women are choosing to travel alone. 65% of U.S. women say they have vacationed without a partner. And in a poll of American travel agents, 73% said that more female travelers take solo trips than male travelers.

Choosing your destination and travel dates is a valuable way to step away from your daily routine, recharge, re-energize, and gain new perspectives. As travel writer Freya Stark once said, “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure.”

Traveling solo also gives you the chance to engage with locals and other travelers more deeply than you might if you were traveling with a partner. These interactions can guide you to once-in-a-lifetime experiences or lead to lifelong friendships. The ability to rely on yourself while being immersed in new places and new cultures is a huge confidence boost for many solo travelers.

Exploring the world allows you to explore yourself, and, traveling solo provides a unique opportunity for self-reflection and growth. If there’s a destination you’ve always wanted to visit but you’ve never found a travel partner interested in joining you, go there! The world is full of incredible places and you deserve to see every place on your list.

Arianna Ambrutis

Having spent much of her life as nomadically as possible, Ari found a home with GET. As far as her travels have taken her, she's worked on an archaeological dig in Israel, sailed around Greek isles, experienced a crazy sunburn in Turkey, adores tomatoes in Italy, and thinks Paris and New York are just the bee’s knees. With her degree in Cultural Anthropology, Ari loves exploring a culture’s traditions, colloquialisms, and (most importantly) cuisines.

One thought on “Helen Thayer – World Explorer & Solo Female Traveler

  • February 11, 2019 at 1:41 am

    Excellent and very inspiring! Being a woman traveler I admire her. Traveling solo will really helpful to the woman to improve her abilities and independence!


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