This 27-Year-Old Woman’s Around-The-World Adventures Are About To See Her Make History

Like most people, Cassie De Pecol yearned for a life of adventure and wanted to experience every treasure that the world has to offer. So when the plucky 27-year-old was tasked with visiting every country in the world, she jumped to the challenge. As a result, she not only changed her own life, but she may have made history as well.

It’s perhaps safe to say that De Pecol had a somewhat unorthodox upbringing. Born and raised in Connecticut, the traveler moved from school to school and even received home tuition. But – while many children would find this lifestyle daunting – De Pecol loved the experience and came away with an unquenchable wanderlust.

De Pecol’s first taste of travel came during her freshman year at college, when she explored the rainforests of Costa Rica. Shortly afterwards, she began traveling and finding work in hotels around the globe. And by the time of her 24th birthday, De Pecol had already visited one country for every year she’d been alive.

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However, this wasn’t enough to satisfy the intrepid explorer’s thirst for experience and adventure. On her 25th birthday, De Pecol – driven by her interests in sustainable tourism and exploration – began planning a trip like no other. And, after a month of planning, she’d devised a trans-global trip that would become known as Expedition 196.

Though seeing every country in the world would be any person’s dream, this wasn’t De Pecol’s sole motivation. Indeed, the traveler hoped to spread a message of peace and empowerment through her voyage. To this end, the International Institute of Peace through Tourism (IIPT) – through which she acts an Ambassador for Peace – partially funded her expedition.

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Moreover, De Pecol wanted to make her place in history and saw the voyage as her true calling. Speaking to fans via her YouTube channel, De Pecol said, “This is my legacy that I want to leave behind.” But perhaps she didn’t realize quite how big a legacy she’d make…

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Following months of careful planning and preparation, De Pecol embarked on her voyage on July 24, 2015. Setting off from Portland, Oregon, the explorer arrived in the tiny Pacific island state of Palau – her first destination on the map. From there, she hitched a flight to Samoa before beginning a complete exploration of Oceania.

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And it was during this second leg of the journey that De Pecol experienced one of the tougher facets of international travel. All in all, the 3,700-mile trip took her four days, four airlines and four layovers to complete. But, with all the incredible sights on offer, we doubt she was complaining too much.

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After sampling the delights of Australasia, De Pecol set off for Europe. But before that, however, there was a quick layover in the United Arab Emirates. And while the Middle East’s reputation as a patriarchal region may give some female travelers cause for concern, De Pecol remained undeterred. In fact, she hoped that the experience would influence others to think differently about foreign lands.

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“The media naturally has the ability to steer us away from international travel,” she told exploration enthusiast website The Mountain Folk. “It’s important to be aware of our world matters, but not to be intimidated by them. The world is kind, people are kind, and you are safe. You have one life and what is meant to happen will.”

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Though that’s not to say that De Pecol isn’t ready for hostile encounters. Indeed, prior to jetting off, she learned the self-defense technique Krav Maga. “It’s just so that I can feel a little more comfortable traveling to these countries where women are not accepted as much,” she explained to PanAm Post. “I felt it would be important to protect myself, just in case.”

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However, while De Pecol’s trip seems like a a dream come true, it isn’t all relaxing walks on the beach. In fact, the traveller has dedicated many hours to promoting her cause through meetings with university students and figures involved in tourism group Skal International. Meanwhile, she has been filming her travels for a documentary intended to spread the word about the benefits of sustainable travel.

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In addition, De Pecol has been working to offset the environmental damage created by her travel in various ways. For instance, she has been gathering water samples in order to gauge the level of micro-plastics released into the sea. Furthermore, she has planted trees in a number of countries in order to balance her carbon footprint.

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Of course, traveling the world isn’t cheap. Since beginning her journey, the wanderer has spent just over $200,000 on fees for the likes of accommodation, plane tickets and visas. Indeed, the latter can often be tricky to acquire: her entry to North Korea alone cost a cool $800.

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However, De Pecol isn’t alone and she has legions of sponsors to aid her quest. Besides Skal and the IIPT, De Pecol receives help from companies such as Air New Zealand and high-profile supporters such as Ranulph Fiennes. And – when times get rough – she sometimes receives free accommodation from hotels in exchange for social media shout-outs.

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Visiting every country in the world is a feat in itself, but De Pecol is hoping to make her accomplishment even more groundbreaking. From the get-go, the adventurer has been seeking to become the first ever woman to visit all 196 internationally recognized nations on the planet. Inadvertently, however, it seems that she’s about to break more records than one.

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Though she gave herself just over three years to complete the expedition, De Pecol has been traveling at a blistering pace. In fact, she’s already seen a whopping 181 nations in 15 months. As a result, she’s on course to become not only the first female to visit every country, but the fastest person and youngest American to do so as well.

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Certainly, it seems likely that De Pecol will break a new record. Currently, the award for fastest man to visit every country belongs to Englishman Graham Hughes, who traversed the globe in just over four years. And – having seen most of the world’s nations in less than half of that time – De Pecol is on course to break that particular record.

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However, it isn’t all smooth sailing yet, as De Pecol still has 15 countries and 40 targeted days left to go. Though she’s been everywhere in Oceania, Europe and the Americas, she still has parts of Asia and much of Africa to cover. This includes war torn regions such as Syria – a dangerous place for anyone, regardless of their background.

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Currently in Mongolia, De Pecol is still out there putting her mark on mankind. However, she can rest assured in the significance of her task. “I imagine the feeling of accomplishment and awe will be overwhelming,” she confessed to The Daily Mail. “I just hope that I’m able to inspire young women… to go after goals and feats that so far, people think can only be done by man.”

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