I travel the world, reporting on inspiring people and places.
In July 2015, Cassie De Pecol flew to the sovereign nation of Palau. But this wasn’t just any vacation. The 27-year-old from Connecticut was embarking on the journey of a lifetime: to be the fastest person and first documented woman to travel to every single one of the world’s 196 sovereign nations and break a Guinness World Record. In February 2017, this brave adventurer achieved her goal, making the voyage in 18 months and 26 days. She broke the previous record and also became the first woman to visit every country on earth.
In addition, De Pecol had a noble goal: to promote peace through sustainable tourism. She anointed herself the “chief explorer” of Expedition 196, as she called her record-breaking journey around the world. She also served as an ambassador for the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism and collected water samples for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation along the way. And she’s making a documentary about her trip, too. “I personally love finding new, inspiring things, places, culture, environments in countries around the world that are in need of tourism,” says De Pecol.
So how has she pulled it off? The expedition has cost her almost $200,000 (including airfare), which was partly funded with donations from sponsors like Clif Bar and Eagle Creek, as well as eco-hotels like Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman. She spent two to five days in each country, visiting schools and meeting with tourism leaders. Here, De Pecol shares her inspiring story.