- Cassie De Pecol has traveled to all 193 sovereign nations along with Taiwan, Kosovo, and Palestine.
- She accomplished her journey all over the world in barely over 18 months, breaking the file on the time.
- These are a few of her high journey suggestions — from her favourite airways to tips on how to keep protected as a solo traveler.
This as-told-to essay relies on conversations with 33-year-old Cassie De Pecol, a journey influencer who beforehand held the Guinness World Report for touring to each nation on the planet within the quickest time in 2017 (her file has since been damaged). She is the creator of “Expedition 196” and the founding father of Her Worldwide, a non-profit group that funds female-driven companies addressing the United Nations Sustainable Growth Targets. The next has been edited for size and readability.
Rising up, I did not really journey in any respect apart from to Canada, the place my mother is from.
It wasn’t until the age of 18 that I booked a one-way ticket to Costa Rica for college. From there, I by no means regarded again.
After I completed my research, I went to Nicaragua, traveled all through Latin America, and went backpacking throughout Europe. Then I ran out of cash. I had traveled round backpacking in about 25 nations, working odd jobs right here and there.
I labored in resorts and hostels cleansing bathrooms, making beds — no matter wanted to be carried out — and they’d give me a free room and board in alternate. I additionally had a weblog and would attain out to attempt to write for different folks’s blogs to assist me make small quantities of money to maintain me going. Typically they’d pay me $100 bucks for the month and I would use that to purchase my subsequent flight. In order that’s how I used to be in a position to maintain a really small revenue on the time.
I want I had identified about bank cards and bank card factors sooner. However again then I could not even qualify for a card if I wished to, so I used platforms like Workaway.information to seek out jobs in alternate totally free housing.
After I got here residence, I used to be approaching my mid-twenties and did not know what I wished to do in life, however knew I cherished to journey.
I am one to have very outlandish concepts and I very a lot comply with the “you solely reside as soon as” form of mindset. So I made a decision to go after the Guinness World Report for touring to each nation within the quickest period of time.
How I traveled to 193 nations in simply over 18 months
The journey began after I was 25 and ended after I was 27. It took round a yr and a half of attempting to determine all of the logistics. There have been the flights and the political conditions, climate patterns — I regarded into all of it.
I strategically began with the costliest locations, since I had sufficient cash to start out out, after which discovered the remaining in a while. I had saved roughly $10,000 from working two babysitting jobs 80 hours every week. I additionally relied on a few bank cards with nice journey rewards incentives.
It is a bit difficult to calculate the overall price of the journey as I acquired free resorts, experiences, flights, and many others., however the journey landed someplace across the $110,000 mark. AIG was an vital sponsor and actually regarded out for my security, providing me kidnap and ransom insurance coverage as effectively.
The Asia-Pacific and Oceanic areas had been the costliest, in order that’s the place I began out. Then I went to Europe. At this level, I used to be working out of cash and knew Europe was a lot simpler to journey on a finances.
I used to be additionally assembly with college college students and Ministers of Tourism, getting talking engagements and planting bushes and such. In order that additionally required planning round.
For nations like North Korea and Yemen, I needed to be extra strategic in my planning. To get into North Korea as an American vacationer you want to pay $1,000 only for the minimal three-day visa, and it’s a must to fly in on their airline.
I used to be the one Westerner in my tour group. I stayed on the identical resort that Otto Warmbier, the American scholar who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months, stayed in. This was simply six months after that entire ordeal occurred, so I used to be strolling on eggshells the entire time. I imply, the folks had been good and the tour information was good. It was positively an expertise — however one I would not do once more.
None of my talking engagements throughout the expedition had been paid. I poured myself into my work pro-bono and wasn’t making an revenue. I knew it will repay ultimately, however it was an enormous battle financially to offer out free work.
I wasn’t allowed to spend greater than 14 days in a rustic. So after I ran out of cash, I’d fly residence to Connecticut to my dad and mom’ home and go to New York for conferences and networking occasions to attempt to safe funding from manufacturers and buyers. It was actually a pedal-to-the-metal state of affairs so I may safe funding and take off inside two weeks.
That half was actually difficult and put a damper on the expertise — It was form of miserable to complete this journey all over the world so rapidly. Nevertheless it was additionally so invigorating to see the entire world and wish to spend extra time in these locations.
10 classes I discovered whereas touring all over the world
1. Be a traveler, not a vacationer
I all the time attempt to help the native economic system by staying in native resorts as an alternative of massive company chains. Additionally, going off the overwhelmed path and visiting native communities and supporting them versus simply mainstream vacationer actions.
2. Do not rule out complete nations simply due to one unhealthy expertise
I do not suppose there are any nations that I would not return to apart from North Korea. Even when I had a form of unfavourable expertise in a rustic, I’d all the time give it a second or third likelihood as a result of quite a lot of the time, it simply depends upon the circumstance, or the day, or who you are with.
My high nations are all the time altering and it is all the time so arduous to select after I’ve traveled to so many and had such nice experiences. Probably the most underrated nation in my view is Pakistan. It is a pure and culturally lovely nation with actually form folks.
3. Reap the benefits of bank cards and factors
If folks have the chance to get a few bank cards which have good journey factors applications, I’d actually advocate that. Particularly, the American Specific Platinum, Chase Reserve, and Chase Most well-liked playing cards. I used Chase Reserve for my complete journey all over the world and would use IHG Rewards Traveler Credit score Card for resorts.
4. Know tips on how to defend your self in an emergency
As a solo feminine traveler, it was vital to me to know tips on how to defend myself. In case you’re a extremely small girl and there is a actually massive man, it is good to know what it’s a must to do to avoid wasting your personal life.
I am an enormous advocate for ladies understanding Krav Maga, an Israeli martial artwork. Apart from that, simply observe little issues like not roaming the streets with headphones in, all the time being conscious, not wanting misplaced, and understanding the place you are going. At all times let at the very least one pal or member of the family know the place you’re, do not feel that you want to be form and reply to everybody – your security and sense of environment come first.
5. Pack door stoppers, mace, and a satellite tv for pc GPS monitoring gadget
There was a person who broke into my resort room in Burkina Faso at three within the morning and it was actually scary. I want that I had introduced a kind of doorstoppers with me to forestall it. I additionally advocate bringing mace — you may pack it in your checked bag. One different factor I used was a satellite tv for pc GPS monitoring gadget with an SOS button. So if my cellphone cannot observe me, at the very least this gadget can.
6. I discovered resorts are often safer than Airbnbs for solo vacationers
I used Airbnb possibly 10 instances or so. I attempted to remain in resorts extra simply because it tends to be safer for solo journey. They’re going to have a shuttle from the airport, you’d have somebody you may name right down to on the entrance desk. There’s extra safety. So I felt safer and I additionally discovered higher offers with resorts. It was really extra budget-friendly to remain in resorts than Airbnbs more often than not. However I did have some nice experiences within the Airbnbs I did keep in.
7. Being humble and empathetic may help with tradition shock
After I traveled exterior North America for the primary time after I was 18, it was an enormous tradition shock. The best way I adjusted over time was simply recognizing that these individuals are identical to me – a human – attempting to outlive and make the perfect out of this life we’re given. As soon as I used to be in a position to humble myself, I used to be in a position to really feel “at residence” in even essentially the most precarious of locations, and that tradition shock by no means got here again.
All each human needs is a sizzling meal, a roof over their head, clear ingesting water, and somebody who loves them. Typically talking, most individuals wish to present you the great thing about the nations they reside in, and get excited to point out you. Connecting with communities from a grassroots stage, supporting their endeavors and economies, and recognizing the humility in others and your self can open up a world of contentment and inspiration. I did discover most nations welcoming, if not the federal government, the folks.
8. Do analysis to see how one can offset your carbon footprint
Sustainable journey is one thing I am tremendous keen about. I feel it is vital for folks to see if they’ll offset their carbon footprint. Some Airways have carbon footprint fashions that you could buy, and sure organizations you may donate to within the nation that you simply land in. I planted bushes in nations that I landed in to offset the emissions, and stayed in sustainable and regenerative resorts.
9. In case you can, pack gentle
For my journey all over the world, I traveled with only a backpack. I had one outfit in there, possibly two pairs of leggings, two sports activities bras, plus dietary supplements, and my digital camera gear.
I favor touring lighter however it’s more durable for me to journey lighter lately. So I positively are inclined to examine a bag most of the time. However after I was racing all over the world, I would not have been in a position to wait on the baggage declare after each flight so it positively labored out for me to journey that approach.
10. Rack up these airline factors:
My favourite US airline is Delta and my favourite worldwide airline might be Qatar, they’re each actually nice.
Get factors, turn out to be members of all of the resort teams and airways, and use your bank card for every little thing so you need to use all of the factors you accumulate in the direction of your journey. I’ve discovered it really would not need to be that costly to journey — you are able to do it on a finances.