Amelia went to college and liked English and languages but most of all she liked science. She didn't make many friends in school and under her picture in her 1916 yearbook, a message said,"The girl in brown who walks alone." This hurt her, a lot!
She returned to Los Angeles to visit her parents, who had recently gotten back together after being separated. They were living in a large house that had extra rooms in which they rented out to people. Sam Chapman, a young chemical engineer, liked Amelia a lot and proposed to her many times. Amelia liked Sam but not enough to marry him. One day her father took her to an air circus where they learned that it took most people about ten hours to learn how to fly. She signed up for a trial flight and when it was over she knew that she wanted to fly.
She decided to take lessons, but they cost five hundred dollars and her father couldn't afford to pay. To pay for the lessons, she got her first job working in the mail room of a telephone office. During the flying lessons she learned how to do take-offs, landings, slips, stalks, spins, and loops. She did not learn how to do stunts. Most of the time she hung around watching and listening. She dressed like most of the other flyers and wore khaki pants, a scarf, knee-length flying jacket, and a helmet. By the next summer she had her own plane, a Kinner Canary.
In 1924, after her parents got a divorce, she sold her plane and bought a car to take her mother to Boston. In Boston, Amelia became a social worker at the Denison House, the oldest house there. She worked mostly with Syrian and Chinese foreigners. She spent most of her time at the Denison House and had little time to fly.
In 1928, she was chosen to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic ocean by air. She was accompanied by Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon. They started in Trepassey, Newfoundland, and ended their trip in Wales. Overall the trip took twenty hours and forty minutes. When she got back she was the center of attention and was automatically famous, even though she was only a passenger.
After she flew over the Atlantic, she bought an Avro Moth and went to California. On August 18,1929, she flew in the first Women's Air Derby from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio. She sold her Avro Moth and bought a Lockhead Vega for the Derby. Twenty women were entered in it and the whole race took eight days. Amelia placed third. On February 7, 1931, she married George Palmer Putnam. They were married at his mother's house in Connecticut. In 1932, she decided she wanted to fly across the Atlantic again, and this time alone. She took off on May 20, from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland. She didn't drink coffee or tea so she used smelling salts to keep her awake. She landed in Londonderry, Ireland, fourteen hours and fifty-six minutes later. Her dream now was to fly around the world.