Reading the World – Canada

Lillian Alling  by Susan Smith-Josephy

Lillian Alling


“She was a loner and an independent thinker who didn’t like crowds much, but preferred the wide-open spaces where she could be free and be herself.”

This is the remarkable true story about Polish immigrant Lillian Alling, who decided to WALK all the way from New York to Siberia (through Canada) with only $20 dollars on her person. This trip took her three years. Let that sink in for a minute…

I had never heard of Lillian Alling before but reading her story truly inspired me. This walk of hers took place in the 1920s and she did it alone!She had to brave Canada’s severe weather (both Summer and Winter) in order to get to her destination. Her determination was remarkable.

Lillian Alling

Lillian was a woman of legend. I guess there are still many things that haven’t been confirmed about her but, despite that, it’s clear her journey was truly an adventure. Some parts of the story were very heartwarming.

This is a historical account so of course there are great historical tidbits, including newspaper cuttings, photographs, archive records and interviews. As a resident of British Columbia province, I was very interested to learn more about what my province was like back then. I got an added appreciation for the people who built up the province in such an inhospitable environment.

I have so much respect and admiration for this lady I had never even heard of. Definitely a great read, one I would recommend to anyone.

Here is a link to the author’s interesting blog:


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