This feature originally appeared on travelandleisure.com.
Cassie De Pecol, a 27-year-old traveler from Connecticut, just became the fastest person to visit every country in the world. She is also the first woman to visit every sovereign nation.
She left for her world tour in July 2015, and on February 2 she visited Yemen, the 196th and final country on her list. Her entire journey around the world took 18 months and 26 days, smashing the previous record of three years and three months.
De Pecol is now completing the paperwork to be officially recognized by Guinness World Records.
Turkmenistan, country number 195 of my 196 country Expedition. But more than that, can you believe the beauty of this city? I'm incredibly grateful that my visa was finally approved and not only that, but I've been able to speak to so many classes of students who are some of the most inquisitive and curious I've ever had the privilege to address! It's such an honor to be here. Took this photo on my 5 mile walk this morning 😍 🇹🇲 #TheMountainsWinAgain
De Pecol completed her whirlwind world tour as an ambassador for the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism. Throughout her trip, De Pecol met with mayors and ministers of tourism, presenting them with the organization’s “Declaration of Peace.”
Throughout her journey, De Pecol boarded over 255 flights, planted trees in over 50 countries and went through five passports. She spent between two and five days in each country.
Passion Project/ Entrepreneurialism 🔑 • • • Up until 3 years ago, I was starting to lose hope in the word "passion" (in relation to a career). Those "follow your passion" phrases were becoming more and more faded in my understanding. I knew I loved travel, I knew I loved nature and I knew I loved fitness, but I had no idea how to cultivate these forms of sporadic happiness into an advancing career. I hated working for people – having a "boss", was not much of a team player, and scholastically, was not the "sharpest tool in the shed", so they say and so I was told. I know many of you are in the same place of unknowingness, which is why I'd like to offer these 10 tips of mine on how to find that so called, "passion", and make that dream a reality. These exercises might help you, they might not, but if anything else… just use them as something to think about, if you'd like. • • • 1) Accept your flaws, be true to yourself and never 'beat around the bush' to what you know and are confident about discussing with others. Own your flaws, and accept them. 2) Find 3 things that excite you; food, cars, animals… whatever it is… know, feel, breathe, and live those three things that provide you excitement, those three things that make your heart race. 3) Learn from your motivators and idols – reach out to them, learn from them, research everything about them, how they got to where they are, and befriend them, if possible (for me that was impossible since mine was Amelia Earhart). But try to learn everything about how they got to where they were/are. 4) Craft a crazy idea and do not care about what others have to say about it (as long as it's a positive idea, of course). They don't own your life, they don't know the outcome OF life. Do your own thing and keep it to yourself in the start. 5) Commit yourself… 110% 6) Utilize your resources – I.e. GOOGLE, one of the best forms of education. It's how I learned how to craft a deck, approach sponsors, plan my Mission around the world, etc. 7) Network – LinkedIn, networking events, etc. 8) Devote yourself… 110% 9) Take a major risk and accept the consequences 10) Own your failures… own your successes
De Pecol told CNN that some of the hardest moments in her journey came when trying to secure visas. “There have been cases when I post on my Facebook, ‘Hi I need help getting into Libya’ or ‘I need help getting into Syria,’ and at that point it’s kind of trusting in the unknown, trusting in people,” she said.
In order to fund her journey, De Pecol saved $10,000 in babysitting money. She acquired the rest of her $198,000 budget through sponsors. De Pecol also exchanged promotional coverage for stays at eco-hotels around the world.
Exulansis. 🕷 The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it – whether through envy or pity or simple forgiveness – which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land. @thedictionaryofobscuresorrows #expedition196 My travel partner (A.K.A. Backpack): @sovrnrepublic
She also filmed the entire journey and hopes to release her travels as a documentary.
Next up, De Pecol plans to visit Antarctica. But before that, she will race in an Olympic Triathlon in San Diego next month, and in June she will teach a course in how to secure funding to travel the world.