Today I’d like to introduce you to a young woman who has really captured my attention. Cassie De Pecol recently became the fastest person—and first documented female—to travel to every single one of the world’s 196 sovereign nations. She completed her voyage in February of this year, after 18 months and 26 days of travel. Cassie’s big adventure was nicknamed “Expedition 196.”
Sadly, I am no longer able to hop on a plane and hopscotch the globe the way I used to be. But that hasn’t stopped me from dealing with a terminal case of both wanderlust and cabin fever. I don’t like to use the word envy, but—in my case—Cassie’s story certainly qualifies as the next best thing. She was interviewed for Forbes magazine by Laura Begley Bloom, and I could hardly wait to share this story with you.
Like so many Self-Empowered Women, Cassie knew from an early age that she wanted to do something important—in her words, “In high school (Chapter Two: An Early Sense of Direction), I had this feeling that I’d do something major in life…. I always had this yearning to accomplish something way bigger than myself, and to make a longstanding (Chapter Seven: Magnificent Obsession), positive impact on the world.”
When she hit the age of 25 she realized that she needed to do something “proactively” to reach her goal. As she put it, “I wasn’t happy with where my life was headed (Chapter Ten: The Critic Within), working odd jobs and not following my passion…Muddled with the anxiety of never knowing how much time I’ll have left, made me take that leap of faith (Chapter Eleven: Risk Addiction). I knew that it was either now or never and at that point, I decided that no one was going to steer me away from this worldly vision and extravagant personal goal.”
Some of Cassie’s goals included advocating women’s rights and achievement, spreading peace through tourism and economics, as well as promoting sustainability. Cassie received help from organizations like the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism, and she collected water samples for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, and received donations from sponsors like Clif Bar, Eagle Creek, Pack for a Purpose, and eco-hotels like Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman.
The criteria for her trip was to spend two to five days in each country, visit schools so she could speak with students, and meet with tourism leaders. I can’t think of a better closing than Cassie’s own words regarding advice to others: “If you have a dream, quest or goal to not let anyone deter you from pursuing that…dedicate yourself to your vision one hundred percent….Don’t wait. Tell yourself everyday—either in the mirror or every night before you fall asleep—where you envision yourself a year from now because the more you tell yourself what you want, that goal you want to achieve, the higher of a chance you’ll have without even realizing it. Work day in and day out to achieve that goal….Learn to depend on only yourself to get the job done, so that both your successes and failures are up to you.”
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