An intrepid traveller has broken a world record by becoming the fastest person to travel to all 196 countries in the world in the space of just 18 months and 26 days.
Globetrotter Cassie De Pecol, 27, from Washington, Connecticut, embarked on her journey in July 2015 and has just reached the end of her epic mission to visit all 193 sovereign nations plus Taiwan, Kosovo and Palestine.
She quit her ‘unfulfilling’ corporate job in 2012 and has been travelling since July 2015, funded by a mixture of ‘planning, saving money, obtaining sponsors and endorsements’.
In total Cassie budgeted $198,000 (£160,000) for her adventures including $10,000 (£8,000) from babysitting alone.
By the end of 2016, Cassie had already ticked off 180 countries and taken over 254 flights in just over 15 months, with an estimated 45 days left to complete her whirlwind adventure.
Having a passion for adventure, the former Global Studies student started to plan for the trip of a lifetime -Expedition 196 – on her 25th birthday.
Explaining her thirst for exploration, she said: ‘Since school, I’ve had this desire to visit every country in the world, intrigued to learn more about every culture, natural habitat, and religion.
‘In America we are lucky to have such a vast melting pot of cultures and people from all over the world who make the country what it is today.
‘I wanted to learn about where these people came from, more specifically, where I came from, with my ancestors originating from Europe.
‘I wondered what existed outside of North America and what it was like. Is the Middle East really like how they say it is on the news? What about the Amazon?
‘Going to every country was for me a personal quest to learn as much as I could about our world, stepping outside my comfort zone and becoming comfortable in the unknown, while also aiming to leave a legacy behind.’
She concluded: ‘Though I haven’t yet become the first documented woman to travel to every country in the world, I imagine that the feeling of accomplishment and awe will be overwhelming.
‘I just hope that I’m able to inspire young women (and men) around the world to go after goals and feats that so far, people think can only be done by man.’