Around the world in 18 months

 |Feb 22, 2017
James Asquith, youngest person in the world to travel to all 196 sovereign countries … photo by Caters News Agency.
James Asquith, youngest person in the world to travel to all 196 sovereign countries … photo by Caters News Agency.

Travellers seem to be getting younger by the hour if you go by the latest Guinness Book of Records.

Going around the big blue marble and standing on the soil of each of the 196 countries may be mind boggling.

The first was a London banker, James Asquith, 28 who was the youngest person in the world to travel to all sovereign countries.

Asquith visited all 196 countries by the age of 24, covering most countries within five years.

The son of a pilot, Asquith, who was born in Sussex, started hoarding cash from the time he was 12.

He even asked for money instead of presents at birthdays and Christmas so he could save more!

When he turned 18, Asquith took a gap year to travel to Southeast Asia with friends.

That three month trip sparked a voyage that lasted five years.

The most memorable was his visit Afghanistan during a war!

Cassie De Pecol at Dubai Dessert.
Cassie De Pecol at Dubai Dessert.

For American Cassie De Pecol, 27, speed was the game.

This triathlete went on a high flying spree and visited 196/196 countries in a mind boggling 18 months.

Roughly that works out to 2.79 days a country.

The epic voyage took in all 196 sovereign nations including Taiwan, Kosovo and Palestine since she set off in July 2015.

The lass from Washington, Connecticut, USA, planed her adventure on the 25th birthday.

De Pecol has documented and posted 2,686 posts on her on Instagram.

Her moniker expedition – 196 has garnered 319,000 followers who keep a constant tab on her voyages.

Most are young like De Pecol and are fired up looking at her photos.

Her trips are funded through sponsors by obtaining free accommodation in exchange for social media posts.

The cost was a whopping RM888,000 includes 254 flight tickets!

Gunnar Garfors has been to every country in the world … photo by Gunnar Garfors.
Gunnar Garfors has been to every country in the world … photo by Gunnar Garfors.

International Institute of Peace Through Tourism’s and Skal International ambassador, De Pecol also films her travels for a documentary.

Her work involved dialogue with university tourism students to discuss economics and responsible tourism.

Spending just under two to five days in each place, she managed to collect water samples around the world for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation to test for the presence of micro plastics.

After completing three and a half years of college, she booked a one-way ticket and travelled across four continents and 26 countries.

De Pecol is a whizz at organising visas and transport from her home base in Connecticut.

That was the initial voyage that sparked De Pecol’s vision to use her adventure to inspire good will around the world.

“It bothered me initially that I could not figure out how to ignite this inner fire and make it happen,” she said.

The incredible trip was made possible through sponsors as De Pecol promotes sustainable, luxury hotels on her Instagram in exchange for accommodation.

After 15 months on the road, De Pecol has had both highs and lows as a woman travelling solo.

De Pecol believes that her knowledge of the self-defence combative system, Krav Maga enables her to stay safe in her travels around the world.

“If I feel that I’m being harassed or taken advantage of, I say how I feel, and then I’m out.”

In her Instagram posts, De Pecol shows connectivity to the people she meets and tells of her humbling experiences as she is inspired.

“I’d love to continue inspiring people and travelling,” she said.

She not only broke the previous record in over half the time, but became the first woman on record to travel every country in the world.

Cassie De Pecol set out to be the first documented woman and fastest person to travel to all sovereign nations and has achieved it.

She will be listed as a Guinness World Record-holder.

 Graham Hughes completed the same challenge without ever flying in just less than four years … photo Daily Mirror.
Graham Hughes completed the same challenge without ever flying in just less than four years … photo Daily Mirror.

In 2014, Graham Hughes, 33 completed the same challenge without ever flying in just under four years.

Norwegian media professional and author Gunnar Garfors has visited every country in the world.

Garfors’ website – Globetrotting Galore, even chronicles breaking a travel world record on a Sunday!

This is when he visited 22 states in 24 hours in the United States.

His journey was obviously a race against the clock just something to do before anyone else does!

For those with itchy feet but without the time to tick off every country on the planet, there are travel site and tips to follow for that extended road trip around the world.

French writer Jules Verne’s novel ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’, which was published in 1873 might see surprised that it was possible in the future.

In Verne’s story, the £20,000 wager or equal to about £2 million today was a bet to do the impossible.

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Doris Lim is a Malaysia Outlook contributor with a keen eye for details developed form her background in architecture and design. Her affable personality and passion to celebrate life is captured in her stories of the community. Doris’ love for all things beautiful and quirky is tempered by her love for writing, photography, food, art and travel.