Born in 1797 in Vienna, Austria, Ida Laura Pfeiffer dreamed of traveling. In 1842 with a small inheritance from her mother, Ida set off; leaving her husband at home as he was too old to travel (and she may not have wanted him to accompany her). She wrote about her exploits in Journey of a Viennese Lady to the Holy Land which became the first of several bestsellers and launched her travel career that spanned 16 years. She traveled 150,000 miles by sea and 20,000 miles by land. She traveled around the world twice. At the time, no known woman had ever traveled so far alone and lived to write about it.