Lessons from a Woman Who Trotted the Entire Globe in Record Time

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Cassandra de Pecol started planning for her trip 18 months prior travelling to all 193 sovereign nations. Her mind was bent on breaking the Guinness World Record of the fastest globe trotter which had been 3 years; a challenge even for avid travellers. With $10,000 (Ksh. 1,038,793) worth of saving, a map, camera, and light baggage, she set off to visit 196 countries in 1 year and 193 days.

She now holds the Guinness World Record as:

  • Fastest Time to Travel to All Sovereign Countries
  • Fastest Time to Travel to All Sovereign Countries (female)
  • Youngest Woman to Travel to All Sovereign Countries
  • Fastest American to Travel to All Sovereign Countries
  • Youngest Woman to Travel to All Sovereign Countries

Beyond the pristine beaches, spectacular views, and turquoise waters, one can’t help but wonder how Cassandra pulled the trip off. After digging into her inspiring story, mind-boggling vlogs and incredible pictures, we picked three wisdom nuggets that Kenyans can glean.

Different does not equal Enemy

During her trip in North Korea, a soldier gave her one of the hardest handshakes she’d ever felt. “We’re going to destroy you, America,” he said.

Her response, “even if our governments can’t be friends, the two of us don’t have to be enemies.”

Last Trip in Yemen

Last Trip in Yemen

As an ambassador of peace, her globe-trotting was more than just breaking Guinness Record. Cassandra wanted to achieve peace through tourism. Since Travel & Tourism is the world’s largest industry, what better way to show that achieving peace in an increasingly diverse and complex world is not a far-fetched dream?

In her voyages, Pakistan and Cuba topped as her favourite countries. Not surprising for a young lady who has adopted the motto #peacethroughtourism.

Travel for a Purpose

Since a flight of 8 hours kills one tree, Cassandra considered sustainable tourism as planting two trees to offset her carbon footprint.

Cassandra's Travel Essentials

Cassandra’s Travel Essentials

After 255 flights, though she could only plant 50 trees, she managed to educate 16,000 students on the various ways tourists can reduce their carbon footprint. Her goal is to eventually plant 500 more trees through the Expedition 196 Green Project.

Sustainable tourism is jargon to many of us. To simplify the concept, it means touring without harming the environment. If you visit any of our national parks, all you’re asked to leave is your footprint. Yet how many obey? Do you ever lose your mind when other passengers throw yoghurt cartons out the car window on the highway? Or are you the one who makes the rest of the motorists pull their hair?

Off the Instagram Posts

Barely 9 months into the trip, Cassandra almost aboted the mission due to lack of funds. Her savings and sponsor funding had been depleted but not her will to finish. Sleep deprived and empty stomach, she could only go back home and find other sponsors. After several business plans, and cold emails to CEOs she was back on the airplane. Her biggest lesson was in using excel sheets and creative ways of not overspending the $100,000 (Ksh. 10,386,330).

The Planning Stage

The Planning Stage

Being denied higher education or a job opportunity are the many citations of sexism that women tend to encounter. However, Cassandra was denied the entry into an entire country without a male companion. After Guinness World Records split the ‘fastest person to travel to all sovereign countries’ category into gender, she saw this as another challenge to women’s equality.

You’d be amazed to learn that she faced segregation in obtaining a visa to countries where geopolitical tensions are high. In such cases, Social Media was her greatest ally.

Cassandra’s story is inspirational. One that many people desire to live under the slogan ‘I quit my job to travel’.  Notwithstanding, you can travel while working. In our previous blog post we explored jobs that facilitate your wanderlust.



  1. Alisha

    August 22, 2017 at 6:48 am

    very well written piece

    • Kiburu

      August 22, 2017 at 8:09 am

      Thank-you! Highly appreciate.

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