Cassie De Pecol, pictured planting a tree because that peace, is the fastest woman to visit every country on... <+> earth.

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picture courtesy the Cassie De Pecol)

In July 2015,Cassie De Pecol flew to the sovereign nation of Palau. But this wasn"t just any vacation.The27-year-old native Connecticut was embarking on the journeyof a lifetime:to it is in the fastest human to travel to every solitary one ofthe world"s 196 sovereign countries andbreak a Guinness human being Record.

In February 2017, this brave adventurerachieved she goal, making the around-the-world voyagein 18 months and 26 days. (Note the this document was later broken by Taylor Demonbreun, that completed the trip in one year and 189 days.) In addition, De Pecolsays the she is the first documented mrs to visit every country, though thisclaimhas to be disputed."Thereis no various other female on record to date who has actually traveled come every country, do me the "first woman on document (or documented) to take trip every nation in the world,"" explainsDe Pecol. "Since I execute not have proof of any kind of woman before who can have travel every country, I execute not claim to be "the very first woman to take trip every nation in the world," because I can not prove that there to be not an additional woman the end there that did for this reason under the radar. Several women case that title, but you can’t be for this reason sure. However, I deserve to confirm and also prove that ns am "the first woman on document to travel every country in the world," due to the fact that there is no various other woman on record of having done so."

Besides break records, De Pecol had actually a noblegoal:to promote tranquility through sustainable tourism. She anointedherself the "chief explorer" ofExpedition 196, as shecalledher record-breaking journey roughly the world. Shealso served as an ambassador because that theInternational institute of peace Through Tourismand accumulated water samples forAdventurers and Scientists because that Conservationalong the way. And also she"s do a documentary about her trip, too."I personally love detect new, motivating things, places, culture, atmospheres in countries approximately the human being that room in need of tourism," saysDe Pecol.

So how has actually she pulled it off?The expedition has cost her nearly $200,000(including airfare), i beg your pardon waspartly funded withdonations from sponsors likeClif BarandEagle Creek, also aseco-hotels likeSix Senses Zighy Bayin Oman. Follow me the way, she visited institutions andmet through tourism leaders.Here,De Pecolshares her inspiring story.

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Laura Begley Bloom: What madeyou desire to execute this?

Cassie De Pecol:In high school, Ihad this emotion that I’d do something significant in life, change the world, boost the world, something prefer that. I constantly had this yearning to accomplish something way bigger than myself and also to do a longstanding, positive impact on the world. It wasn’t till the age of 25 as soon as reality struggle me the this vision was never ever going to involved fruition uneven I make some significant moves as shortly as possible. Ns wasn’t happy with where my life to be headed, functioning odd jobs and not complying with my passion so, that, muddled with the anxiety of never ever knowing just how much time I’ll have actually left, do me take that leap that faith. I knew the it was eithernow or never and also at the point, I determined that nobody was walking to command me far from this worldly vision and also extravagant personal goal.

Begley Bloom: to be you a big traveler growing up?

De Pecol:Not for this reason much. My mother is from Canada, therefore we’d always take trips back and forth to visit family, and I think the just other country I’d been prior to the age of 18 was St. John in the Caribbean top top a family vacation, i m sorry is, the course, U.S. Territory. For part reason, the assumed of leave my house state was constantly so thrilling to me.

Begley Bloom:What did you perform before?

De Pecol:I worked odd tasks in sales, website development, marketing and also childcare. While ns developed great relationships with the households that I operated with and really delighted in caring for children, there wasn’t a future there, in regards to my career. Despite all of my strange jobs, I was able to barely pay the bills, i beg your pardon is additionally what sustained my desire come take turn off on this quest as soon as i could.

Begley Bloom: Werepeople surprisedwhen you claimed you to be going to carry out this?

De Pecol:Initially, I just told mine parents and a couple of my friends. The wasn’t till I was about six months the end from taking off that i told everyone else. I didn’t desire anyone"s personal opinion to hold me back, for this reason I retained it largely to myself in its early stage stages till I to be 100% committed. My parents were an extremely supportive and also my friends were supportive too but of course unsure regarding how it would certainly all pat out. I’m really thankful for the support of my parents for offering me the space and an inspiration to monitor my dreams even if that was and also still is, scary for them to wrap your heads around.

Begley Bloom: What was the many amazing place you visited?

De Pecol:The most intriguing region would have to be the center East. For part reason, I’ve always had this yearning to go over there. I knew I’d love it, even though many world would shot to tell me the it’s the worst place in the world and that ns crazy for reasoning that. Transforms out, as soon as I went, it came to be my favorite an ar after all. All of this an adverse stuff us hear in the news and from politicians around Muslims and also the Middle east couldn’t be more from the fact in regards to exactly how kind, helpful and happy the civilization are, generally speaking. Also, the culture is very unique, the landscapes are beautiful, the food is delicious (dates v coffee… YES!) and the music is some of my favourite in the world. From Afghanistan come Oman come Jordan and also Iran, i’ve been invited wholeheartedly through the people and also have totally enjoyed myself, immersing myself in their method of life.

Begley Bloom: any kind of hurdles along the way?

De Pecol:Mental hurdles werethe many challenging. Ns was alone in this thing, and also I hadto kind through the good times and the bad on mine own. Occasionally I messed up, oftentimes ns was sleep deprived, and the remainder of the moment I to be juggling all the other responsibilities that camewith managing an entire 196-country exploration while trying come absorb together much about a nation as humanly possible in together a short duration of time.

Begley Bloom:Was there anything — good or negative — that you encountered since of gift a woman?

De Pecol:Generally speaking, I experienced so much hospitality from human being all end the world,but ns don’t think that has anything to execute with being a woman. Ns did, however, have several destructive experiences where I was faced withdiscrimination and unfairness. When an adverse experiences happen to me, i don’t immediately think the it happened since I’m a female. It’s really once I share these stories with others the they automatically assume the it happened because of my gender. One of two people way, the positives outweigh the negative on this expedition, and also overall I’ve had wonderful experiences.

Begley Bloom: What did you do as soon as you were in these locations?

De Pecol:There wereseveral elements to exploration 196. Spreading tranquility through tourism and also economics wasone the them, promoting sustainability wasanother and also advocating women’s legal rights and accomplishment wasanother. Then there’s the YouTube vlogs— i m sorry showcase the beauty, beauty of plenty of of these nations that I"ve went to — and also the educational documentary that I’m filming come be supplied in part with a tool-kit and book written with the college student I’ve spoken to all over the world. I also advocated my sponsors.

Begley Bloom:How go you give back?

De Pecol:People frequently say the there’s no means I couldpreach sustainability when I was flying therefore much, and they’re right. I’m no saying the I’m a sustainable traveler, yet I"ve been working towards being one v each tree that i planted with the college student on the expedition, collecting water samples come test because that the visibility of microplastics to send come Adventurers and also Scientists because that Conservation, remaining in and also promoting sustainable/regenerative hotels and also most importantly, educating university students who room studying travel on the importance of responsible travel and also incorporating or keeping in mental the elements of sustainable/regenerative hospitality and also tourism. Countless students I’ve spoken to have no idea what sustainability even means, therefore it was my job to educate them ~ above this and also encourage lock to support responsible tourism ideal practices once pursuing internships and also throughout your careers.

Begley Bloom: just how did you spread out peace?

De Pecol:Peace v tourism deserve to really be ideal understood by educating the students on how we have the right to quantify tranquility through a collection of criteria collection forth by the Institute because that Economics and also Peace. When we recognize this criteria, we can then work toward developing a more peaceful and united world. In regards come the tourism aspect of it, this is wherein I involved the ministry and mayors, where they likewise attended these keynote sessions and I presented to them the "IIPT Credo the the calm Traveler," collection forth by the global Institute of tranquility Through travel of which ns endorsed. Together, we questioned how tourism deserve to be a mediator between peace and conflict, and a way to additional friendship amongst nations as well as providing humanitarian assistance. Because that instance, a sustainable hotel partnering with pack for a Purpose allows guests tobring educational supplies to then distribute to neighborhood schools in need in the area wherein they’re vacationing.

Begley Bloom:Do girlfriend think you"ve had actually an impact on other women?

De Pecol:As a young woman myself, I favor to think that i can collection the typical for young women global to seek a search or dream the is the end of the share or that everyone speak them they shouldn’t do. it’s my project to leaving a legacy behind the positively influences future generations the innovators, entrepreneurs and trendsetters, specifically when it pertains to women.

Begley Bloom: What"s next? What perform you plan to carry out after you satisfy your goal?

De Pecol:A major part that me wants to just devote myself in the direction of humanitarian aid and placing all the I have into addressing number 13 (climate action)and number 16 (peace, justice and solid institutions)of the UN Sustainable breakthrough Goals,while incorporating sustainable development. This is why I’m occurring a global student internship regime to deal with these needs. Money is of food a variable to ensure that I’m maybe to improve our civilization through these humanitarian goals. And the initial setup is to proceed to work-related with brands in their proclaiming campaign as well as have a present (a girl has acquired to dream, right!?). Anthony Bourdain has been an idol the mine because high school, and it’s constantly been a dream to monitor in his footsteps v his TV career, yet instead of concentrating on food and travel, other else and also travel. I’m also lining up speak engagements, TEDx talks and the like, which will certainly take me both stateside and on global trips end the course of (hopefully) the lengthy term.

De Pecol"s advice: "If you have a dream, pursuit or score to not let anyone deter friend from pursuing... <+> that." (Photo courtesy that Cassie De Pecol)

Begley Bloom: any type of advice for someone else who desires to execute this?

De Pecol: The finest advice i can provide is: If you have a dream, pursuit or score to not let anyone deter friend from follow that. Have actually an enormous amount of an inspiration and dedicate yourself to your vision one hundred percent. Know that if you desire something that bad, you’ll do whatever in your strength to do it happen. Use Google — it’s to be the best resource for me to learn how to write a service plan, achieve sponsors, setup my route and so on. Use social media, listen to podcasts and network through as countless influential human being as possible. Action now. Have that sense of urgency. Nothing wait. Tell you yourself every day — either in the winter or every night prior to you autumn asleep — wherein you envisionyourself a year indigenous now, since the much more you tell you yourself what friend want, the goal you desire to achieve, the greater of a opportunity you’ll without even realizing it. Job-related day in and also day the end to achieve that goal. Fail. Find out from constructive criticism. Don’t be stubborn, but be stern and confident in her beliefs and vision. Inspire others to inspire yourself along the way. Find out to depend on only yourself to get the task done, so the both her successes and failures are up to you. Over all, constantly believe the there will be a light at the finish of the tunnel, no matter how difficult it gets.

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To learn an ext about Cassie De Pecol"s epic travel odyssey, you have the right to follow her onExpedition 196andInstagram.


I’m a travel and lifestyle authority and also a content strategist that works with brands to create powerful storytelling. In this column, "Transformative Travel," i look at just how travel can adjust women"s lives. I profile the doers and the disrupters and also cover the trends and also the destinations the appeal to women today. I have been writing about travel due to the fact that the early days of my career, when I started off as a honeymoon editor, even though — ironically — i was single at the time. Since then, I have actually written because that a number of publications, including Food & Wine, Wallpaper and also The brand-new York Times. I have been the editor-in-chief that Yahoo Travel, which was named the peak online travel magazine under mine leadership. Prior to that, ns was deputy editor of take trip & Leisure. Throughout my career, ns have showed up regularly top top television, including an excellent Morning America and also NBC Today. Journalism is component of mine heritage: My good great grand was a Civil war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Follow me on Twitter (