Lexie Alford has recently broken a record by being the youngest person to have visited all the sovereign nations on the planet in an epic trip. What began as a dream turned into an amazing reality as she overcame obstacles and gained entry into even the least accessible countries in the world to complete her task. Traveling to 196 countries is by no means a simple task, but this gal did it and broke the Guinness World Record too. Funnily enough, she never set out to break any records. It was only after her journey ended that she realized the true scope of what she’d accomplished.She traveled to every sovereign nation. That’s 196 countries and through it all, she documented her amazing journey across the world. But not all of it was on her blog. She also shared her journey with her 223,000 Instagram followers too.
Actually, she was visiting the Darvaza Gas Crater in Turkmenistan, which is an oil field that’s been burning since 1971. But what drove her to such a remote place on the planet was possibly her family who are all travel agents.
By her 18th birthday, she had already traveled to 72 nations. But by October 2016, she knew that she could visit the other 124 nations in time to break a world record, so she got started. This took her to beautiful locations like Petra, the City of Mysteries located in Jordan’s southwestern desert.
At first, she intended to push herself beyond the limits of what she thought was possible. But when things got challenging, she realized her journey would motivate other young people, particularly women, to travel. But first she had to show her followers the world wasn’t so scary.
It was only after she graduated from high school two years earlier and getting her associate’s degree in her home state of California that she aimed to break the record. So, starting in 2016, she traveled on her own but found some challenges along the way.
Lexie admitted to spending years in the US and abroad trying to reapply in the hopes of getting some visas approved. She had to apply for the necessary paperwork in areas like the United Arab Emirates, London, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast. But as you can see, persistence paid off.
Her site displayed the number of countries she traveled too which is 196. The tab also shows the number in the tab of remaining countries, which is zero. This told her followers that she had done what she set out to do.
Her journey spanned from Europe to Asia, Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific Islands. But if you ask us, it seems like she had a wicked time in Cambodia. But on occasion, she needed wheels to travel.
This was just a pit stop. After a 3-hour drive across the treacherous terrain courtesy of a local driver, Lexie set out to hike to Fairy Meadows, a deeply secluded wilderness in Northern Pakistan. But everyone in the group she traveled had their own pace, which at times made her feel more isolated.
So, she set off on a new journey with the sole mission of snapping photos, trying new food, and making friends with the locals. But although her trip was self-funded, she had to accept some brand deals blogging, and photography work to earn some extra cash.
This explains how she managed to get to country # 127, aka Yemen and still had enough of a budget to smile. As far as her favorite places, she likes places that are often misunderstood like Pakistan or Venezuela.
The first was when she passed all her exams and skipped two years of high school. Her second defining moment was when she bungee jumped in Switzerland after graduating college. And the third was obviously when she considered becoming the youngest person to travel to all the nations on the planet.
She claims the stigma to travel to this massive continent is completely unfounded. But if you give into your fears, you could miss out on meeting some interesting characters, like this mountain gorilla.
Fortunately, all she found in the countries she visited was love and acceptance. Meeting friendly locals along the way was one of the major highlights of her traveling experience. So, she suggests that you don’t let the media’s portrayal of certain countries scare you into not exploring the world.
Her biggest concern wasn’t getting into trouble. It was figuring out how to take a selfie all by her lonesome. This was the first time she had been alone on her birthday. But this experience helped her to feel empowered by seeing that she could be alone without feeling lonely.
In this photo, she celebrated World Oceans Day by diving into the Coral Triangle with a dive team at the Meridian Adventure Dive Resort in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. And from the looks of it, she had a magnificent time.
Her 75-year-old guide shared his insights on North and South Korea. But this was a huge milestone for Lexie when she arrived on May 31. Now she had to document her journey and submit about 10,000 pieces of evidence to the Guinness World Records in chronological order.
These photos were proof of her journey. Now the Guinness World Records accreditation process will take time, but once it’s approved, Lexie will beat James Asquith, who was named the youngest person to travel to all the sovereign countries in 2013.
This was taken in Northern California. But her plans are to visit even more exotic and beautiful places like Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo so she can explore the largest lava lake on the planet.
She’s working on a book about the things she’s learned in each country she’s visited. She’s also scheduled to host a TEDx talk on June 15. Oh, and she’s co-hosting a travel show in November. And if this awesome gal doesn’t inspire you to travel more, we don’t know what will.