Alma Karlin was the epitome of a traveler’s spirit. She was and is revered for her travel writing. Karlin, a Slovenian, traveled the world alone for nearly a decade, learning more than 13 languages in the process. However, the travel writer gave up her career to resist the Nazi regime when National Socialism began to gain popularity in the country.
Alma Karlin, a Slovenian woman who traveled the world alone
During her 8 year journey, as a woman traveling the world alone, Karlin had seen worse than worse. She had survived an attempted rape in Peru, an attempted poisoning in Panama, humiliation in the United States, a police interrogation in Taiwan, unrequited love in Japan, and poverty on the Pacific Islands.
Karlin returned home when his etiquette-obsessed mother begged him to return in a letter. Her mother was on her deathbed, and even though she didn’t want her, she decided to come home. Yet though his journey ended on an abrupt note, his return was that of a martyr. By this time, Karlin had become a best-selling author and had even started what we know today as fan clubs.
She was loved by her readers, critics, and the media. The New York Times had described her as the first woman to circumnavigate the world alone and without foreign financial help. But this fame began to fade with the rise of National Socialism in Germany. Karlin was fiercely against Hitler’s cruel regime and she did not hesitate to mobilize in accordance with her beliefs.
Karlin’s life had never been easy
His life had never been easy. Karlin was born with his left eye drooping and later discovered that his shoulder was slightly raised. His father was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and raised Alma under military disciplinary rules.
When her parents discovered she had a raised shoulder at the age of 13, they fitted her with braces, equipment designed to straighten her “defect.” She called them “torture devices.” Alma’s release came when she turned 18 in 1908 and she traveled to London to study foreign languages, despite the opposition of her mother.
While there, he learned English, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, Danish, Finnish, and Swedish. Alma worked on his own dictionary that had information about the 10 languages he was learning. She later learned three more languages and improved his arsenal. Alma’s knowledge of languages helped her travel the world with relative ease.
Alma Karlin was the model of an eternal traveler. She once said: “If I were to be born again, I want to be a bird so that I can travel.”
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