Cassie De Pecol is just 27 years old, and yet, she's just made a remarkable world record. This month, the Connecticut native became the first woman to travel to all 196 countries — and she even did it alone.
De Pecol made the journey, which she calls "Expedition 196," in just 18 months and 26 days, breaking the world record for the fastest person to travel to all 196 countries. Her goal during this journey was to promote peace through sustainable tourism.
"My goal was to prove to you how kind and hospitable people all over the world are, but specifically in regions that many people consider to be dangerous," De Pecol wrote on her website. "It is my hope that, through traveling alone as a blonde, American woman, I've been able to respectfully introduce you to a completely different perspective of the world and it's people; the safety, kindness, and the similarities of 99 percent of people around the world. In portraying this, I've had to let go of all of my fears and trust in people, trust in strangers, and trust in the unknown, and it's proved to be an powerfully rewarding experience."
Interested in doing some exploring of your own? Take some advice from the woman who's seen it all. In an interview with The Telegraph, De Pecol shared some of the countries she thinks everyone should visit, based on her own person experiences. From countries in North Africa, to South Asia, to Central America, we have a feeling your bucket list is about to get a bit longer.
You can see 7 of the countries she says are a must-visit and the reasons why below:
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"To experience northern African culture with a Middle Eastern feel and an immense amount of archaeological history," De Pecol said.
2. The Maldives
"To see some of the bluest water, whitest sand, and most stunning sand banks in the world."
De Pecol thinks you have to visit Peru to experience the Amazon rainforest and Aguas Calientes, the closest access point to the historical site of Machu Picchu.
"To get the true sense of raw, authentic Asian culture, and for the food," De Pecol said. She described her time in Pakistan as one of the "many wonderfully education and culturally enriching experiences" she's had during her world travels.
"To be immersed in the remote wilderness and to ride the wild horses," she said.
6. Costa Rica
"Monkeys, fresh fruit, good music, and volcanoes,"De Pecol said. "Need I say more?"
"To learn the ethics of peaceful living," she said. "The pilgrimage [to Paro Taktsang] was something out of Avatar, a dream to trek through low-hanging clouds and 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 (asked of the dead) wedged between crevices of stone."
(H/T: The Telegraph)