Aloha Wanderwell | The young woman who toured the world in 1920

When we think of the world of the steering wheel , of the automotive industry, we tend to relate it to male figures, but there are many women who have been involved in this field. They achieved overcome the barriers that society imposed on them, demonstrating that the passion for driving, for traveling, for the motor, has little to do with the gender of a person. An example of this is Aloha Wanderwell .

Aloha was just 16 years old when she embarked on the adventure of her life. Passionate about travel and a woman of incredible talent and attractiveness, that journey would mark her destiny forever. When you hear the name of Aloha Wanderwell, remember that it is synonymous with adventure, but also with ambition and willpower. The greatest proof of this is the experiences he accumulated throughout his travels. How would you like to discover a little more about women who were crowned queens of the road and this great conductor and filmmaker, who became the first woman to go around the world driving a car ? Keep reading!

The incombustible Aloha Wanderwell

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Aloha Wanderwell

Portrait of Aloha Wanderwell for publicity, dated approximately 1930

Aloha was Canadian and was born in 1906, not with the name of Aloha, but as: Idris Galcia Welsh . Last name changed by Hall, by his stepfather. It was his own mother, from gypsy ancestry , who predicted to the small Idris a great future and who gave her what would be the nickname by which she would be known worldwide, "Aloha".

How was Aloha Wanderwell? You just need to take a quick look at your photographs to realize that it was a incredibly attractive woman . But it was not just a pretty face, behind those beautiful features hiding a great ambition and intelligence , a burning desire to travel, to know the world and to be known by it. Besides, without a doubt, a stubbornness that is admirable.

She was adored and hated by the press almost in one measure. its oratory was enviable and its ability to achieve the challenges it proposed, almost incomparable. Maybe too much for a society as sexist as it was then.

The trips of Aloha Wanderwell

The journey of Aloha's life begins when she meets Walter Wanderwell, with whom she would marry. The girl was still 16 years old, when she embarked on the business that the newspapers titled as follows: " a 16-year-old girl and a student, will pilot a vehicle, around the world. " So it was.

Walter Wanderwell and Aloha traveled in a Ford Model T by 43 countries, in the 1920s.

Aloha Wanderwell, Ford Model T

Ford Model T

In this adventure, he would acquire fame and I would enjoy the freedom to travel , but I would also feel that part of the trip was boring, in certain countries. Something he could not say about others like India or China where he was about to be lynched , after accidentally running over a horse, or made prisoner by a group of mercenaries. These would be some of the anecdotes that Aloha would experience throughout her travels, crossing extremely dangerous borders in areas of conflict, and falling in love with the most diverse cultures.

In addition, I would also learn not only to be in front of the cameras, but behind them. Becoming a filmmaker who I documented their impressive expeditions .

Part of these experiences were collected in a book he wrote with 33 years, entitled "Call to Adventure" ("Call to Adventure"). In it, he described especially his incursions into remote areas. Surely it was this publication that finished giving her the fame of "Amelia Earhart of the automobile".

Aloha traveled through Africa , being in the most difficult situations and threatened by predators and elephants, He visited Cuba and Brazil , where he lived for a while with the Bororo people, and accumulated a lot of experiences that demonstrate his passion for that feeling of freedom that driving and moving around the planet brought him.

The Aloha Wanderwell's story explained in depth and those of many other pioneers of the handlebar and the steering wheel are collected in the fantastic book "The Queens of the Road":

The Queens of the Road. Pioneers of the Handlebar and Steering Wheel
  • Pilar Tejera
  • Cassiopeia
  • Kindle version

The amazing personal life of Aloha Wanderwell

Walter Wanderwell, Aloha Wanderwell

Walter Wanderwell

Aloha was very young when she married her road mate, Walter Wanderwell. At age 18 he realized that their relationship was more complex, since they were no longer those friends who shared a vehicle. There was love arose . From his marriage were born two children: Valri and Neil, something that did not stop the couple from continuing to drive around the world.

All eyes were on Aloha when in 1932, just a day before starting a trip through the southern seas that they planned to record together, Walter was killed in the harbor where his yacht was, near Longbeach, California.

Of course, Aloha became a eternal suspect , since it was never possible to clarify who ended Walter's life. It did not help that, a little over a year later, she married an attractive cameraman almost ten years younger than her, with whom she shared a passion for travel and cinema.

It should be said that he was his second and last couple, next to whom he died at age 89, in the home where they settled in Newport Beach, California.

Did you know the figure of Aloha Wanderwell? Undoubtedly, she is one of those women who proved that finding a place in such a traditionally masculine world is possible and that, despite the circumstances, it is always possible to get the most out of life, although even your gender play against. An example of stubbornness, courage and desire to discover, which is worth having always in mind.


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