BECOMING: Amelia Earhart
“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
Gung-ho since childhood, there is a certain tragic irony to the life of Amelia Earhart; in 1904 at the age of 7, a young and vivacious Earhart experienced her first flight, albeit in a wooden box travelling down a ramp attached to the roof of her family toolshed, inspired by a rollercoaster she had seen the week prior. The flight ended with a crash landing. 33 years later, she befell the same fate. Supposedly.
A pioneer in both aviation and equal rights, the list of Amelia Earhart’s accolades is a lengthy one: the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic; first person to fly solo across the Atlantic, twice; Women’s altitude record holder (14,000 ft); first person to fly nonstop, coast-to-coast, across the US…However, these achievements take backseat to the fascination that still surrounds her mysterious disappearance – along with navigator Fred Noonan – during her 1937 attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Whether they crash-landed and sunk in the Pacific, or were Japanese prisoners of War, theories abound as to what happened that fateful morning.
Want to channel your Amelia Earhart? We have handpicked the following places on the app where we imagine a modern Amelia might venture should she make the transatlantic flight across the pond, and land in London!
Every adventure, no matter how sporadic, always begins and ends with a point on the map. Planning a route is often the greatest factor in the success factor of a trip, with many notorious expeditions failing due to mistakes made in navigation; indeed, it was suggested that pilot error in navigation was one of the contributing reasons to Earhart’s disappearance. And let’s face it, everyone loves a good travel book.
Nearest Station: Covent Garden
For over 150 years, Stanfords has remained stalwart in its title of being the most iconic travel book and map shop in London. Founded in 1853 by Edward Stanford, it became pre-eminent in the creation of maps when it commissioned John Bolton as an in-house cartographer at a time when global exploration and colonialism was at its height. In 1941 the shop only survived after being hit by a bomb during the Blitz due to the thousands of Ordnance Survey maps tightly stacked on the top floors, which stopped fire from spreading any further. Now you’ll find globes, sextants, maps, charts, and all manner of adventure-laden paraphernalia. By shopping here you’ll be walking in the footstep of world-famous explorers such as David Livingstone, Ernest Shackleton, Captain Scott, Bill Bryson, and Michael Palin. The shop also provided the charts for Amy Johnson’s solo flight to Australia, as well as to James Bond (apparently). After 100 years on Long Acre in Covent Garden, Stanford’s has moved to a larger location just round the corner, ready to welcome you in planning your next adventure.
Setting off on an adventure and heading into the unknown can be nerve-wracking. Where will you end up? Who will you meet? What mishaps could befall you? Sometimes it takes just a little nudge to get you over the line on paying for that flight and zipping up your suitcase. Better make it a strong one…
FOGG’S SOCIETY OF EXPLORATION
Nearest Station: Charing Cross
Like adventures? Love cocktails? Mix them together and you’ve got the immersive Mr. Fogg’s Society of Exploration. Surround yourself with Victoriana and Steampunk-esque curiosities while sitting in a full size Victorian train carriage, or sink into the large leather Chesterfields to plan your next expedition. Cocktails take inspiration from famous explorers and expedition trails, and are delightfully potent. For something a little special in this atmospheric subterranean drinking den, order a drink from The Star of Bombay Rube Goldberg Machine, a gleaming mechanical mixologist behind the bar.
Fuel, an essential element of any trip, both for machine and human. One theory as to Earhart’s demise centres around her plane – The Electra – running out of fuel on her approach to what should have been the end of her world-record breaking flight, Howard Island. It has also been said that the plane was too laden on take off, damaging essential navigation equipment on the underside of the plane. Correct provisioning is therefore essential to any trip, and in honour of her flight from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland in California (the first person to successfully make this crossing solo), there is no better place than the Cali-inspired Hawaiian sushi place, Ahi Poké.
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road
Bringing the sweet Cali vibe to London via the flavours of Hawaii, Ahi Poké is great for a grab and go healthy lunch choice. Named after the Hawaiian version of sushi (Poké is a traditional raw fish dish), you can either build your own bowl or go for something ready prepared such as the Oahu bowl with a base of Aki tuna. Fish is responsibly sourced and sustainably caught, with all the other ingredients from local suppliers. This is not only clean eating, this is good eating.
The world is constantly changing. From country borders to newly discovered areas of previously unexplored jungle, keeping up-to-date with geographical discoveries is essential if planning a showstopper of an expedition. Obtaining first-hand accounts of previous explorers is also very useful to make the unknown feel a little more familiar.
THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
Nearest Station: Knightsbridge / South Kensington
Founded as a learned society for the advancement of geographical sciences in 1830, the archive of The Royal Geographical Society truly is something to behold. With over 2 million documents, maps, photos, paintings, charts, artefacts, and expedition notes – some dating back 500 years – if you love travel and the thrill of exploration, this is the place to come. What started as a dining club for informal debates over scientific discoveries of the day, the society is now a registered charity to which new discoveries and map/chart alterations are sent nearly every day. Throughout the year the RGS hold many fascinating lectures open to the public, as well as exhibitions from their archives and annual photographic competitions. Past notable explorers supported by the RGS include Darwin, Livingstone, Scott, Shackleton, Hunt, and Hillary. An impressive list to join!
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