A young California woman has recently finalized her mission by making it to country number 196 – North Korea. If the Guinness World Record approves her evidence, she will dethrone UK man who prviously set the record in 2013.
Lexie Alford, 21, a US woman from Nevada City, California, has become the youngest person in the world to visit 196 nations, a Fox News report says. She is currently challenging the Guinness World Record for being the youngest person in the world to see all countries of the world.
Currently, there are 206 nations that claim sovereignty, 193 are United Nations member states, with the US State Department recognizing 195 nations as sovereign states.
On 31 May, Alford entered North Korean territory, which finalized her years-long way to accomplishing a dream she had since childhood.
As she entered the hermit nation, she immediately felt “relief”.
“I’ve been working through extreme anxiety for the past six-plus months overcoming the obstacles that go along with getting into some of the least accessible places in the world. It wasn’t until that moment in that obscure conference room, of all places, which it really sunk in how far I’ve come,” Alford said.
“Not many times in life does everything that you’ve worked towards for years culminate into a single moment,” she added.
Her travelling aspiration stems from being born in a family of travel agents who granted their child with a unique opportunity to visit some exotic places, such as Cambodia, Dubai and Egypt.
By her 18th birthday, she had already visited 72 nations. It was then that Alford realized that she could break the world record, and she put all her efforts into achieving that new goal.
Speaking about her personal fight to break the world record, Alford said the worst obstacle was bureaucracy.
“Obtaining all the visas required for American citizens was one of the most difficult aspects of breaking this record. I spent years applying and reapplying for visas in both the US and abroad,” she added, having been forced to apply for the proper paperwork in London, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and the United Arab Emirates, among others.
According to the traveller, her mission was completely self-funded; she made several deals with brands throughout her journey which allowed her to make ends meet. As she visited nations around the world, she filmed a travel show, which is scheduled to hit the airwaves in November.
Speaking about her favourite destinations, Alford said she loves places that are the least popular among tourists, places which she describes as “misunderstood” by many — like Venezuela and Pakistan.
“I loved visiting Northern Pakistan, the natural beauty of the mountains and kindness of the locals was astonishing but again there’s barely any tourism in the country because of negative stereotypes about the country in the media,” she said in an interview.
Now, Alford has submitted some 10,000 pieces of evidence to Guinness World Records to challenge the current record. The process of verification is expected to be lengthy, but, if approved, she will break the record of James Asquith of the UK who became the youngest person to visit all countries in 2013 at the age of 24.