‘Travelers in the South Seas’, Victorian adventurers lost on their islands

‘Travelers in the South Seas’, Victorian adventurers lost on their islands

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Behind the myth of the Bounty, of the Captain Cook, from Herman melville or the paradisiacal experience of Gauguin in Tahiti, we discovered a handful of women who lived their greatest experiences in the islands spread across the South Pacific more than 100 years ago.

Traveler who were trapped in the galaxy of reefs and archipelagos strewn with stories of hustlers, explorers, adventurers and artists.

Ediciones Casiopea publishes the latest book of Pilar Tejera, author specialized in 19th century female travelers which this time invites us to follow in the wake of some ladies in destinations such as Fiji, Vanuatu or Samoa.

The very white beaches and coral reefs, the dense jungles and the legends of cannibals are part of the DNA of those islands that so many adventure novels inspired and parade through the pages of Viajeras por los Seas del Sur.

Fanny stevenson

Samoa, the eternal abode of Stevenson It was also the home of his wife, Fanny stevenson. She was perhaps the great traveler, because like fish that cannot stop moving to breathe, she fluttered around the world to feel alive and give hope of life to the only man she loved.

Pioneer among gold seekers, painter in the Paris of the impressionists and adventurous to the extreme of going to the Mares de Sur and form a community with the indigenous, Fanny was a mother, wife, lover and painter.

He followed in the wake of the man he loved around the world, in search of the climates most conducive to the writer's poor health, until he landed in Samoa, where they raised Villa Vailima. Perhaps, deep down, Treasure Island was not where we all believed and was the imaginary place where they both preserved their love.

Perhaps he was always on the beloved island, high on the mountain where the natives buried the man who was always his friend and whom Fanny would join years later when his ashes were scattered on his remains, following his wishes.

Beatrice Grimshaw: pioneer in promoting the Cook Islands and Samoa as a tourist destination

Another of the travelers included in the book is Beatrice grimshaw, a writer of Irish origin, who was sent by the Daily Graphic as Pacific Islands reporter, which led him to visit such exotic destinations as the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa.

After his experience of almost two years in the early 1900s, he accepted commissions to write tourist advertising on some of those islands.

In 1907 he traveled to Papua to report to The Times and to Sydney morning herald, but he liked that destination and stayed there for 27 years.

Annie Brassey: pioneer in Fiji

He circled the planet aboard his own sailboat, landed in French Polynesia in 1876. It was a pioneer among pioneers in Fiji. Armed with a bag full of beads, knives, glasses, and photos, she landed on her first island.

He walked through Tahiti and Papeete, fifteen years before Gauguin reached those shores.

Other globetrotting women

The also Victorian globetrotter Constance gordon cumming, who walked through 19th century Fiji, like the painter Agnes Gardner King and Lucy Chessman, are other of the protagonists included in this book.

In the words of the author: «Those women put their endurance to the test on the long and dangerous voyages to the South Pacific, a destination hardly accessible to any traveler of the time and still today.».

The author: Pilar Tejera

Pilar Tejera has written among other books: Legendary Travelers, dedicated to Victorian globetrotters, Married to the Empire, about the English women who lived in British Colonial India, and Queens of the Road, which resurrects the pioneers of bicycle, motorcycle and car travel.

More information: Editorial Casiopea: Travelers through the South Seas.

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