• Cassie De Pecol has traveled to all 193 sovereign nations along with Taiwan, Kosovo, and Palestine.
  • She accomplished her journey world wide in barely over 18 months, breaking the document on the time.
  • These are a few of her high journey ideas — from her favourite airways to the right way 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 Record for touring to each nation on this planet within the quickest time in 2017  (her document 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 in addition to 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 varsity. 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 motels and hostels cleansing bathrooms, making beds — no matter wanted to be completed — and they might give me a free room and board in change. I additionally had a weblog and would attain out to attempt to write for different individuals’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 might use that to purchase my subsequent flight. In order that’s how I used to be in a position to maintain a really small earnings on the time.

I want I had recognized about bank cards and bank card factors sooner. However again then I could not even qualify for a card if I needed to, so I used platforms like Workaway.info to seek out jobs in change without spending a dime housing. 

Once I got here dwelling, I used to be approaching my mid-twenties and did not know what I needed to do in life, however knew I liked to journey. 

I am one to have very outlandish concepts and I very a lot comply with the “you solely stay as soon as” form of mindset. So I made a decision to go after the Guinness World File for touring to each nation within the quickest period of time.

How I traveled to 193 nations in simply over 18 months 

Cassie De Pecol in North Korea.

Cassie De Pecol in North Korea.

Courtesy of Cassie De Pecol

The journey began after I was 25 and ended after I was 27. It took round a 12 months 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 most costly locations, since I had sufficient cash to begin out, after which found out the remainder afterward. 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 full value of the journey as I acquired free motels, experiences, flights, and many others., however the journey landed someplace across the $110,000 mark. AIG was an essential sponsor and actually regarded out for my security, providing me kidnap and ransom insurance coverage as nicely. 

The Asia-Pacific and Oceanic areas had been the most costly, in order that’s the place I began out. Then I went to Europe. At this level, I used to be operating out of cash and knew Europe was a lot simpler to journey on a price range.

I used to be additionally assembly with college college students and Ministers of Tourism, getting talking engagements and planting timber 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 it is advisable to pay $1,000 only for the minimal three-day visa, and you must fly in on their airline. 

I used to be the one Westerner in my tour group. I stayed on the similar 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 individuals had been good and the tour information was good. It was undoubtedly an expertise — however one I would not do once more.

Cassie De Pecol at a speaking engagement.

Cassie De Pecol at a talking engagement.

Courtesy of Cassie De Pecol

None of my talking engagements through the expedition had been paid. I poured myself into my work pro-bono and wasn’t making an earnings. I knew it will repay ultimately, however it was a giant wrestle financially to provide out free work.

I wasn’t allowed to spend greater than 14 days in a rustic. So after I ran out of cash, I might fly dwelling 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 traders. 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 world wide so shortly. But it surely was additionally so invigorating to see the entire world and need to spend extra time in these locations. 

10 classes I discovered whereas touring world wide

Cassie De Pecol in Yemen.

Cassie De Pecol in Yemen.

Courtesy of Cassie De Pecol

1. Be a traveler, not a vacationer

I all the time attempt to assist the native financial system by staying in native motels as an alternative of massive company chains. Additionally, going off the crushed path and visiting native communities and supporting them versus simply mainstream vacationer actions. 

2. Do not rule out whole nations simply due to one dangerous expertise

I do not suppose there are any nations that I would not return to in addition to North Korea. Even when I had a form of unfavourable expertise in a rustic, I might all the time give it a second or third likelihood as a result of a number of the time, it simply will depend on 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 laborious 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 stunning nation with actually form individuals.

3.  Benefit from bank cards and factors

If individuals have the chance to get a few bank cards which have good journey factors packages, I might actually suggest that. Particularly, the American Categorical Platinum, Chase Reserve, and Chase Most popular playing cards. I used Chase Reserve for my whole journey world wide and would use IHG Rewards Traveler Credit score Card for motels.

4. Know the right way to defend your self in an emergency

Cassie De Pecol in Mongolia.

Cassie De Pecol in Mongolia.

Courtesy of Cassie De Pecol

As a solo feminine traveler, it was essential to me to know the right way to defend myself. When you’re a very small lady and there is a actually large man, it is good to know what you must do to avoid wasting your individual life.

I am an enormous advocate for girls figuring out Krav Maga, an Israeli martial artwork. Apart from that, simply follow little issues like not roaming the streets with headphones in, all the time being conscious, not wanting misplaced, and figuring out the place you are going. At all times let at the least one pal or member of the family know the place you’re, do not feel that it is advisable 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 stop it. I additionally suggest bringing mace — you possibly can 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 telephone cannot observe me, at the least this gadget can.

6. I discovered motels are often safer than Airbnbs for solo vacationers

I used Airbnb possibly 10 instances or so. I attempted to remain in motels 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 possibly can name all the way down to on the entrance desk. There’s extra safety. So I felt safer and I additionally discovered higher offers with motels. It was really extra budget-friendly to remain in motels 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 also help with tradition shock

Once 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 similar to me – a human – attempting to outlive and make one of the best 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 dwelling” in even essentially the most precarious of locations, and that tradition shock by no means got here again.

All each human desires is a sizzling meal, a roof over their head, clear ingesting water, and somebody who loves them. Typically talking, most individuals need to present you the fantastic thing about the nations they stay in, and get excited to indicate you. Connecting with communities from a grassroots degree, 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 individuals.

8. Do analysis to see how one can offset your carbon footprint

Cassie De Pecol tree planting in Bhutan.

Cassie De Pecol tree planting in Bhutan.

Courtesy of Cassie De Pecol

Sustainable journey is one thing I am tremendous obsessed with. I believe it is essential for individuals to see if they’ll offset their carbon footprint. Some Airways have carbon footprint fashions that you may buy, and sure organizations you possibly can donate to within the nation that you just land in. I planted timber in nations that I landed in to offset the emissions, and stayed in sustainable and regenerative motels. 

9. When you can, pack gentle

For my journey world wide, 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 digicam gear. 

I favor touring lighter however it’s more durable for me to journey lighter today. So I undoubtedly are inclined to test a bag most of the time. However after I was racing world wide, I would not have been in a position to wait on the baggage declare after each flight so it undoubtedly labored out for me to journey that manner.

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, develop into members of all of the resort teams and airways, and use your bank card for every part 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 price range. 

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