Meet the 22-year-old woman who is the youngest person to travel to all 197 countries in the world

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Lexie Alford. Image via Instagram
Lexie Alford. Image via Instagram
  • By a show of hands, how many of us are waiting for the pandemic to be over so we can travel?
  • If you didn’t have anything interesting on your travelling list, this might just be the inspiration you need.
  • Meet Lexie Alford, from North California who was 21 by the time she had reached every corner of the globe and became a natural global citizen.

Most people don’t participate in social media challenges, but for once, there’s a challenge we would all like to be a part of, and that is to beat the record of a 22-year-old who has reached every country in the world. 

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Lexie started travelling when she was young; her mom, a woman who began a travelling agency at the age of 19, would pull her out of school to join her exploring.

“This lifestyle meant that by the time I was 18, I had travelled to around 70 countries already. I had graduated early from high school and got my associates degree by 18,” says Lexie.

When she was 12-years-old, she dreamt of experiencing what it would be like to live for one year with no school and no work. “So I saved up a crazy amount, so I could take this gap year and travel the world.”

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Although travelling for Lexie has been a natural evolution with her mom owning a travel agency, she intentionally broke the record.

“I wanted to see as much as I could and learn as much as I could. It was during that gap year that it dawned on me: how many countries are there? I was only 18, and I knew I had some time to do it," she says.

"So I Googled the youngest person to travel to every country, and James Asquith’s Guinness World Record came up. When I saw that, I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t at least try.”

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Her entire travelling experience was self-funded; she also worked for her mom, saved up, and while travelling, she learned about blogging and making money off social media.

The North California traveller lists five out of the 197 countries she’s been to as her favourites for different reasons.

“I love Indonesia because of the diving. I’m a diver, and the underwater world there is fascinating. Venezuela, because of its natural beauty and the kindness of the people. Pakistan was the most hospitable place and the people I visited. It has an incredible mountain landscape as well. Egypt for the history - its preservation is incredible. You can still see the paint and smoke on the walls inside the Great Pyramids. And Iceland. It’s just such a unique island, the most unique place in the worlds,” she adds.

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Lexie is well aware of the dangers of travelling alone as a young woman; however, the 22-year-old has been to fifty countries alone in eight months.

“Taking the first step into solo travel doesn’t have to be huge. You don’t have to go to a completely different culture, with a completely different language, and try to figure it out. A neighbouring city, a closer country," she says.

"Just somewhere you can be with yourself and your thoughts, you can slowly ease into these things and start learning how to navigate the world. But it teaches us how to be grateful: for the people, we have in our lives, the experiences we have in our lives,” she concludes.

She now uses her Instagram, YouTube, and website to inspire others to challenge and see the world.

Sources: Euro News, BBC UK, Forbes

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