Can you imagine going to all 196 countries in the world? Better yet, can you imagine doing it in the fastest time ever documented? How about being the youngest American to ever do it? AND one who is…wait for it…female? Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the wonder that is Cassandra De Pecol.
On July 24, 2015, De Pecol (she goes by Cassie), then age 26, set out to be the first documented woman and fastest person to travel to all sovereign nations. She completed what she and her team called Expedition 196, on February 2, 2017 – visiting all 196 countries in 18 months and 26 days.
She not only broke the previous Guinness World Record in less than half the time of the previous record holder, but also became the first woman on record (to say nothing of being the youngest American documented) to travel to every country in the world.
Cassie traveled as a “Global Citizen” and International Institute of Peace through Tourist (IIPT) Peace Ambassador while advocating World Peace. Throughout her travels, she met with the Mayors, Skal Presidents (Skål is a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world that promotes global tourism and friendship. It’s the only international
group that unites all branches of the travel and tourism industry. More info at skal.org) and Ministers of Tourism of Nations throughout her expedition. She presented each of them the “Creo of the Peaceful Traveler” in a ‘Declaration of Peace,” usually delivering it to each leader in front of students of local schools. She also interacted with the students and discussed what their meaning of what peace was, and how they believed we can enhance our world through responsible tourism efforts.
The trip, which was, not surprisingly, documented by media publications from all around the world, cost over $200,00 but the costs were covered by over a dozen sponsors who supported her and her efforts.
Following the completion of Expedition 196, Cassie has been a guest speaker and even has her own TED Talk:
Besides her ability for the rest of her life to look back at what she did during those 18 months, Cassie presents as a lovely, intelligent person who has a really bright future ahead of her. We can learn a lot from Cassie, don’t you think?
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*Photos via https://www.facebook.com/Expedition196/