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Born in 1868 to a respectable French family, Alexandra David-Neel became an occultist, anarchist and the most remarkable female travel writer of the Twentieth century.
David-Neel studied at the Sorbonne at a time when women were not allowed to formally matriculate and converted to Buddhism after viewing a statue of the Buddha in the Guimet Museum. In 1911 she set off, alone, to travel around India for the second time and in 1914 she secluded herself in a cave in the Himalayas for two years, intensively studying the mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as the mystic legends that surrounded Buddhist monks. From 1918 she spent three years in a Buddhist monastery translating texts into French and English. By 1924 she had travelled to the forbidden city of Lhasa and returning to France in 1927 began to write, recording her extraordinary experiences. She died in 1969, 101 years old, still travelling, and an inspiration for a generation that included Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
This is a story of a remarkable woman who travelled to places women had never been at the time, meeting extraordinary people and influencing writers who are well respected today. She lived through periods of tremendous change and embraced the old and the new. For a truly inspiring and fascinating read treat yourself to a copy of this.