A 21-year-old American woman is claiming to have become the youngest person ever to visit every country in the world, seeing all 196 sovereign nations.
On 31 May, daughter of travel agents Lexie Alford set foot in North Korea, her final stop on a lifelong dream to visit every country in the world.
Alford said once it was all over, she immediately felt “relief”:
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OFFICIALLY TRAVELED TO EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD?? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ it’s crazy to have years of hard work culminate into one single moment. I’m so grateful to everyone that’s helped me get here. The greatest chapter of my life is coming to a close. Cheers to a new beginning ?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photos by @thomasbrag
“[I]t’s crazy to have years of hard work culminate into one single moment,” Alford wrote in an Instagram post, adding: “I’m so grateful to everyone that’s helped me get here. The greatest chapter of my life is coming to a close.
“Cheers to a new beginning.”
Speaking to Fox News about finally entering North Korea after a long ordeal of gaining access to the country as an American citizen, Alford said: “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 the moment in that obscure conference room, of all places, that it really sunk in how far I’ve come.
“Not many times in life does everything that you’ve worked towards for years culminate into a single moment.”
The journey began when Alford was 12 years old, when she started saving up to fund the goal of visiting all 196 sovereign nations on the planet – in a journey that has been predominantly self-funded, give or take a “few branded deals” throughout her journey and other work.
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Nothing but LOVE from every country in the world!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When I started traveling, I never imagined that so many wonderful people would come along on my journey. Now it feels like YOU all are right here with me. I’m so humbled and grateful for that. There’s so many parts of the world that are completely off the radar for most tourists. Because of the media, people assume that places like these are off limits due to conflict and security threats. I hope by sharing my experiences that I can help encourage people to think twice about misunderstood countries. There really is so much KINDNESS everywhere! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Countries included in this post: #Madagascar, #Turkmenistan, #SaudiArabia, #Guinea, #Pakistan, #Jordan, #Uganda, #Ethiopia, #IraqiKurdistan & #Uzbekistan.
Along the way, her Instagram account lexielimitless has accrued 122,000 followers with a whole host of support.
“Congrats! Setting a goal and kicking its butt. Reading about you to my little girls,” one Instagram user wrote in response to Alford completing her journey.
That’s what I call an achievement. Really happy for you!,” another commented.
Alford’s record-breaking claim is still yet to be approved by Guinness World Records, who currently recognises James Asquith as the youngest person to ever travel to all 196 countries at 24 years of age.