Cassanda De Pecol claims she has just broken the Guinness World Record to become:
- The first documented woman to travel to every sovereign nation
- The first American woman to travel to every sovereign nation
- The youngest American to travel to every sovereign nation (at 27)
- The fastest person to travel to every sovereign nation
In case you were wondering, there are 196 sovereign nations on the planet to date.
Beginning when Cassie was 23 on the Pacific island of Palau in July 2015, the trip lasted 18 months and 26 days - half the time of the previous Guinness World Record.
Her journey, Expedition196, was almost entirely funded by sponsorship, has been an installation in sustainability and ethical eco-friendly tourism.
Now I know we've all had enough of experts, but if you were going to take travel tips from anyone...
These are, according to De Pecol, the top ten best countries in the entire world to visit, and why:
Fall in New England is something everyone should experience.
They say home is where the heart is, and the more I travel, the more that's becoming more real to me.
Home is where family is, it's where my safety net is, it's where everything that I'm familiar with is, and my country is rich in nature, which is important to me.
9. Costa Rica, Central America
Monkeys, fresh fruit, good music and volcanoes...need I say more?
8. Peru, South America
The Amazon rainforest and Aguas Calientes [gateway to Machu Picchu].
De Pecol also spent some time living in Peru.
7. Tunisia, North Africa
To experience northern African culture with a Middle Eastern feel and an immense amount of archaeological history.
According to De Pecol, the town of Sidi Bou Said (20km from Tunis, the capital) "blew me away".
6. Oman, Arabian Peninsula
To immerse yourself in the desert and mountains, while learning from locals who live in the mountains, it's a whole different lifestyle.
To get a true sense of raw, authentic Asian culture, and for the food.
De Pecol especially appreciated Pakistan, because she had to wait four months for her visa approval.
4. Vanuatu, South Pacific
To experience the process of how Kava is made and to meet some of the kindest people.
To see some of the bluest water, whitest sand and most stunning sand banks in the world.
To learn the ethics of peaceful living.
The pilgrimage [to Paro Taktsang] was something out of Avatar, a dream to trek through low-hanging clouds with a harrowing drop at any given moment on either side.
Prayer flags swayed through the pines, prayer wheels spinning in the breeze, and tsa-tsas (ashes of the dead) wedged between crevices of stone.
To be immersed in the remote wilderness and to ride the wild horses.