Traveller becomes first woman to visit every country on Earth

18 months, 26 days, 196 countries

Food & Travel Desk February 13, 2017
PHOTO: @expedition_196

It took 18 months and 26 days for American traveler Cassie De Pecol to visit every country in the world; less than half the time it took the previous Guinness World Record holder.

However, De Pecol, the first woman to visit every country on Earth, set out with a different agenda to promote peace in each of the 196 sovereign nations she visited and imparting knowledge on how to offset your carbon footprint when travelling.

The 27-year-old, who studied environmental studies, said she felt she couldn't travel the world without having a larger purpose and so promoted sustainable tourism wherever she went as an ambassador for the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism.

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"If you say, fly from Bangalore, India, to Colombo, Sri Lanka, you end up killing one tree during that flight, the goal is to plant two trees, for regenerative tourism, not just sustainable tourism," De Pecol said.

De Pecol's expedition, however, was met with scathing criticism and termed hypocritical for boasting a sustainable mission having flown over 255 times. But she aims to fully offset the heavy carbon footprint of her trip by planting trees in over 50 countries.

"It's tough to figure out to get permission to plant a tree in a lot of countries, but I've been trying to do that as much as possible. I've planted close to 50 trees now but there's about 500 more, so that's just a goal."

Critics further said her brief stay in each country was too short to have a meaningful experience, while others accuse her of only being in for the money and to break the record. "It all comes down to two words: time management," De Pecol said in her defense. "One could spend Saturday and Sunday chilling at home watching Netflix -- totally OK, I am guilty of that at times -- or traveling to five places within one country, five countries within those two days," she added.

De Pecol was only 23 when she began planning her journey which was budgeted at around $198,000. Initially she had no funding and saved $10,000 by babysitting after which she went about acquiring sponsors. She managed to attract a variety of sponsors from big companies and spent a year and a half planning the journey.

Browse through De Pecol's Instagram to satisfy your wanderlust.
This article originally appeared on CNN.


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