By Isabella L. Bird

Introduction by Evelyn Kaye

“The outstanding explorer-writer of her day…[Bird’s] life of adventure and literature is an inspiration to women everywhere.”
–Evelyn Kaye, author of Amazing Traveler: Isabella Bird

“Nobody has quite matched Isabella Bird – she was a traveler, a writer and a pioneer that the fiercest feminist can be proud of, and the stodgiest male chauvinist admire.”
–Jan Morris, author of Fifty Years of Europe

“[Bird] wrote keenly observed and wickedly funny books about her physically challenging (and highly exhilarating) journeys…[her] spirit and words continue to inspire others to embark on their own adventures.”
Time Magazine

Suffering from chronic back pain and numerous other health-related complaints since childhood, Isabella Bird was directed by her physician to visit Australia to “take in the air.” So, in 1872, when she was 41, this proper Victorian Englishwoman left her homeland for the first time, and spent six months “down under.” And while her chronic ailments improved, she fell victim to a new contagion – the travel bug. Bird spent the next 30 years traveling throughout Asia, Africa and America, writing ten books along the way, and becoming the first woman Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan is Bird’s groundbreaking classic of her solo trip through Japan in 1878, during a time when women did not travel alone, and Japan was still a mystery to most. “I long to get away into the real Japan,” Bird writes–which is exactly what she does. Fueled by a brave lust for real, unfiltered travel, welcoming hardship with a wise eye and gentle heart, Bird covers 1400 miles of unknown territory. She visits aboriginal tribes, and discovers rural 19th century Japanese life. Far from the sentimental cherry blossom world of Madame Butterfly, Bird’s Japan is a vibrant land of real people with hardscrabble lives. Her insightful observations provide a powerful travel narrative that takes today’s readers on a poignant journey into the wondrous world of yesterday.

From the inspirational foremother of women travelers, Unbeaten Tracks in Japan is a classic tale by one of the first women to explore and write about the rugged interior of Japan, illuminating a side of Japan many will never know, and encouraging women travelers for generations to come.

About the Author

Isabella Lucy Bird was born in Yorkshire, England in 1831 and died in Scotland in 1904. Within her lifetime she gained a reputation as one of the most adventurous women travelers of the 19th century. At a time when ladies were expected to stay quietly at home she went off on unconventional journeys through Tibet, Canada, Korea, Turkey, Hawaii, Colorado and Japan. Her final journey was a horseback trek over the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, at the age of 72. In addition to Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, Bird is the author of A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, Six Months in the Sandwich Islands, and other travel classics.

About Travelers’ Tales

Founded in 1993, Travelers’ Tales publishes the best in travel and spiritual writing from world-famous authors as well as new writers. Our goal is to inspire and enlighten readers through true stories by travelers who have explored the depths of their experiences. The series includes: country and regional guides; books which explore the themes of women’s travel, spirituality, food, humor, and adventure; travel advice books; Footsteps: The Soul of Travel, a series that features single-author travel narratives; and Travelers’ Tales Classics, a new series which introduces out-of-print favorites of travel literature to a whole new audience. Unbeaten Tracks in Japan is the second book in this new series.

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Unbeaten Tracks in Japan
By Isabella L. Bird
Introduction by Evelyn Kaye
Travelers’ Tales, November, 2000
$14.95 ($23 Canada), trade paperback, 376 pages, 5 1/8″ x 8″
ISBN: 1-885211-57-0