September 27, 2023
  • Cassie De Pecol has traveled to all 193 sovereign nations along with Taiwan, Kosovo, and Palestine.
  • She accomplished her journey around the globe 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 the way to keep protected as a solo traveler.

This as-told-to essay is predicated on conversations with 33-year-old Cassie De Pecol, a journey influencer who beforehand held the Guinness World File for touring to each nation on the earth within the quickest time in 2017  (her file has since been damaged). She is the writer 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 truly 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 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 accommodations and hostels cleansing bogs, 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 capable of 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 free of charge 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 beloved to journey. 

I am one to have very outlandish concepts and I very a lot observe the “you solely dwell as soon as” kind 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 once I was 25 and ended once 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 most costly locations, since I had sufficient cash to start out out, after which discovered the remainder 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’s kind of difficult to calculate the whole price of the journey as I obtained free accommodations, experiences, flights, and so forth., 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 properly. 

The Asia-Pacific and Oceanic areas have 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 funds.

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 it’s good to pay $1,000 only for the minimal three-day visa, and you need to 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 pupil who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months, stayed in. This was simply six months after that complete ordeal occurred, so I used to be strolling on eggshells the entire time. I imply, the folks have been good and the tour information was good. It was positively 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 have been paid. I poured myself into my work pro-bono and wasn’t making an revenue. I knew it could repay finally, however it was an enormous wrestle financially to present out free work.

I wasn’t allowed to spend greater than 14 days in a rustic. So once I ran out of cash, I might 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 sort of miserable to complete this journey around the globe so rapidly. 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 around the globe

Cassie De Pecol in Yemen.

Cassie De Pecol in Yemen.

Courtesy of Cassie De Pecol

1. Be a traveler, not a vacationer

I at all times attempt to help the native economic system by staying in native accommodations 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 whole nations simply due to one dangerous expertise

I do not suppose there are any nations that I would not return to apart from North Korea. Even when I had a sort of destructive expertise in a rustic, I might at all times 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 at all times altering and it is at all times so arduous to choose once I’ve traveled to so many and had such nice experiences. Probably the most underrated nation for my part 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 might actually suggest that. Particularly, the American Specific Platinum, Chase Reserve, and Chase Most well-liked playing cards. I used Chase Reserve for my whole journey around the globe and would use IHG Rewards Traveler Credit score Card for accommodations.

4. Know the 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 way to defend myself. For those who’re a extremely small lady and there is a actually large man, it is good to know what you need to do to save lots of your individual life.

I am an enormous advocate for ladies realizing Krav Maga, an Israeli martial artwork. Except for that, simply follow little issues like not roaming the streets with headphones in, at all times being conscious, not wanting misplaced, and realizing the place you are going. All the time let a minimum of one good friend or member of the family know the place you might be, do not feel that it’s good 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 system

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 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 system with an SOS button. So if my telephone cannot observe me, a minimum of this system can.

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

I used Airbnb perhaps 10 instances or so. I attempted to remain in accommodations extra simply because it tends to be safer for solo journey. They will have a shuttle from the airport, you’d have somebody you possibly can name right down to on the entrance desk. There’s extra safety. So I felt safer and I additionally discovered higher offers with accommodations. It was truly extra budget-friendly to remain in accommodations 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 once 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 the very best out of this life we’re given. As soon as I used to be capable of humble myself, I used to be capable of really feel “at residence” in even probably 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. Usually talking, most individuals need to present you the fantastic thing about the nations they dwell in, and get excited to indicate 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

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 keen about. I believe it is essential for folks to see if they will offset their carbon footprint. Some Airways have carbon footprint fashions which you can buy, and sure organizations you possibly can donate to within the nation that you just land in. I planted bushes in nations that I landed in to offset the emissions, and stayed in sustainable and regenerative accommodations. 

9. For those who can, pack mild

For my journey around the globe, I traveled with only a backpack. I had one outfit in there, perhaps two pairs of leggings, two sports activities bras, plus dietary supplements, and my digicam gear. 

I choose touring lighter however it’s tougher for me to journey lighter nowadays. So I positively are inclined to verify a bag most of the time. However once I was racing around the globe, I would not have been capable of wait on the baggage declare after each flight so it positively 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 all the pieces so you should use all of the factors you accumulate in the direction of your journey. I’ve discovered it truly does not must be that costly to journey — you are able to do it on a funds.