Isabella Bird was born in 1831 and until she was 40 lived a 'normal' life, staying at home to care for family members as expected of a female of that era. She would probably have stayed there and been unknown had not doctors prescribed travel to cure her bad back and insomnia. For the next thirty years she travelled widely across the globe from Tibet to Japan to the American Rocky Mountains. She had many scary moments as a single woman travelling but it didn't seem to put her off. Her diaries and letters offer an insight into her travels. She really was quite extraordinary.