16 Noviembre 2016 14:54
196 cultures to discover. 196 borders to cross. And 196 countries to visit. Cassandra De Pecol, a 27-year-old from the USA, is the first woman to have set foot on the soil of every nation on Earth.
With the help of a Kickstarter campaign and a wrinkled map, she left her home in Connecticut in July 2015 and set off on her adventure. And she hasn’t stopped. The first port of call in Expedition 196 – the name she gave to her amazing journey – was Palau, an island located in the Philippine Sea. 18 months later, she had been to 196 countries.
Her adventure will be over in 40 days and it will win her a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
18 months on the road and countless miles travelled don’t come cheap. Support from sponsors has been crucial. Cassandra also used her Instagram account to promote hostels in exchange for free accommodation.
But her expedition was about more than simply expanding horizons or satisfying her curiosity for other cultures. She also had an important commitment to keep. Cassandra was representing the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) as an Ambassador for Peace and has, in this capacity, spoken to students all over the world about sustainable practices and environmental action.
At just 27 years of age, she’s seen more than most people will in a lifetime. She’s walked over the Mostar Bridge: location of a significant battle in the Bosnian War.
She’s been skiing in the Colorado mountains.
She’s got lost among the ancient temples of Angkor, Cambodia.
She’s cuddled a lion cub.
She’s savoured the silence of a beach in the Kiribati archipelago.
She’s strolled through Petra, the vast city which traces its origins back to the 8th century BC.
She’s taken photos of hundreds of places which, as well as being immortalized by her camera, will linger in her memory for the rest of her life.