Lexie Alford, 22-year-old, youngest woman to travel around the world

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Most people are passionate about travelling and different people travel for different reasons.

It could be for recreation, tourism or vacationing, research travel, the gathering of information, visiting people, volunteer travel for charity, migration to begin life somewhere else, religious pilgrimages and mission trips, business travel, trade, commuting, and other reasons, such as to obtain health care or waging or fleeing war or just for the enjoyment of travelling.

Alexis Alford popularly known as Lexie who finds pleasure in travelling was born in a small town called Nevada City, California.

She started travelling when she was really young because her mum has a travel agency.

Lexie has travelled to all 196 countries by 21 years old, breaking the Guinness World Record for the Youngest Person to Travel to Every Country by over three years.

The following list is the official member States according to the United Nations and divided into the global region:

Africa: 43/54 countries

  1. Algeria
  2. Angola
  3. Benin
  4. Botswana
  5. Burkina Faso
  6. Burundi
  7. Cabo Verde
  8. Cameroon
  9. Central African Republic
  10. Chad
  11. Comoros
  12. Congo
  13. Côte d’Ivoire
  14. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  15. Djibouti
  16. Egypt
  17. Equatorial Guinea
  18. Eritrea
  19. Ethiopia
  20. Gabon
  21. Gambia
  22. Ghana
  23. Guinea
  24. Guinea-Bissau
  25. Kenya
  26. Lesotho
  27. Liberia
  28. Libya
  29. Madagascar
  30. Malawi
  31. Mali
  32. Mauritania
  33. Mauritius
  34. Morocco
  35. Mozambique
  36. Namibia
  37. Niger
  38. Nigeria
  39. Rwanda
  40.  São Tomé and Príncipe
  41. Senegal
  42. Seychelles
  43. Sierra Leone
  44. Somalia
  45. South Africa
  46. South Sudan
  47. Sudan
  48. Swaziland
  49. Togo
  50. Tunisia
  51. Uganda
  52. United Republic of Tanzania
  53. Zambia
  54. Zimbabwe

Asia-Pacific: 44/53 countries

55. Afghanistan

56. Bahrain

57. Bangladesh 

58. Bhutan

59. Brunei Darussalam

60. Cambodia

61. China

62. Cyprus

63. Fiji

64. India

65. Indonesia

66. Iran (Islamic Republic of)

67. Iraq

68. Japan

69. Jordan

70. Kazakhstan

71. Kuwait

72. Kyrgyzstan

73. Lao People’s Democratic Republic

74. Lebanon

75. Malaysia

76. Maldives

77. Marshall Islands

78. Micronesia

79. Mongolia

80. Myanmar

81. Nauru

82. Nepal

83. North Korea

Yemen.

84. Oman

85. Pakistan

86. Palau

87. Papua New Guinea

88. Philippines

89. Qatar

90. Samoa

91. Saudi Arabia

92. Singapore

93. Solomon Islands

94. South Korea

95. Sri Lanka

96. Syrian Arab Republic

97. Tajikistan

98. Thailand

99. Timor-Leste

100. Tonga

101. Turkmenistan

102. Tuvalu

103. United Arab Emirates

104. Uzbekistan

105. Vanuatu

106. Viet Nam

107. Yemen

Latin America and Caribbean: 32/33 countries

131. Antigua and Barbuda

132. Argentina

133. Bahamas

134. Barbados

135. Belize

136. Bolivia (Plurinational State)

137. Brazil

138. Chile

139. Colombia

140. Costa Rica

141. Cuba

142. Dominica

143. Dominican Republic

144. Ecuador

145. El Salvador

146. Grenada

147. Guatemala

148. Guyana

149. Haiti

150. Honduras

151. Jamaica

152. Mexico

153. Nicaragua

154. Panama

155. Paraguay

156. Peru

157. Saint Kitts and Nevis

158. Saint Lucia

159. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

160. Suriname

161. Trinidad and Tobago

162. Uruguay

163. Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic)

Western Europe and others: 29/29 countries

164. Andorra

165. Australia

166. Austria

167. Belgium

168. Canada

169. Denmark

170. Finland

171. France

172. Germany

173. Greece

174. Iceland

175. Ireland

176. Israel

177. Italy

178. Liechtenstein

179. Luxembourg

180. Malta

181. Monaco

182. Netherlands

183. New Zealand

184. Norway

185. Portugal

186. San Marino

187. Spain

188. Sweden

189. Switzerland

190. Turkey

191. United Kingdom

192. United States (observer)

Eastern European: 23/23 countries

108. Albania

109. Armenia

110. Azerbaijan

111. Belarus

112. Bosnia and Herzegovina

113. Bulgaria

114. Croatia

115. Czech Republic

116. Estonia

117. Georgia

118. Hungary

119. Latvia

120. Lithuania

121. Republic of Macedonia

122. Moldova

123. Montenegro

124. Poland

125. Romania

126. Russia

127. Serbia

128. Slovakia

129. Slovenia

130. Ukraine

Observers

193. State of Palestine

194. Vatican City (Holy See)

195. Kiribati

196. Taiwan

Now at just 22-yearold, she uses her online platforms and brand name, “Lexie Limitless” to inspire budding travellers via Instagram, YouTube and her website.

Euronews caught up with Lexie during International Women’s Day on 8 March, to celebrate her title as the youngest person to reach every country in the world.

In the interview, Lexie described northern California as “the most diverse of the American States, there’s nowhere I’d rather be”.

Lexie currently resides full time in Sunny Los Angeles.

EN: Hey Lexie! Thank you for joining us. Firstly have you managed to travel much in the past year or so?

Lexie: It’s pretty crazy, I was at Carnival in Brazil the day before the first registered case there (in early March). So I came back to the US and we were straight into full lockdown.

But yes, during lockdown I did manage to travel for work. I went to Turkey to do a two-week road trip for my YouTube, and another two-week road trip in Iraqi-Kurdistan.

EN: Did you set out with the intention of becoming the youngest person to reach every country in the world?

Lexie: It was more of natural evolution. I started travelling when I was really young because my mum has a travel agency, a business she started when she was just 19. Growing up she would always pull me out of school and take me exploring with her, which was really cool.

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.

But one of my biggest dreams, from being 12 years old, was that I wanted to experience what it was like to live for one year of my life with no school and no work. So I saved up, a crazy amount, so I could take this gap year and travel the world.

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, I knew I had some time to do it. 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.

EN: A lot of people want nothing more than to travel, but financial and time restraints can get in the way. You’ve already said you had set that one year aside but how did you pay for it?

Lexie: My project was entirely self-funded. I was working from a really young age and for my mum’s travel agency. I was really lucky because I was not only earning money, but I was learning so much about travel specifically how I could do it on a shoestring budget.

I managed to stretch out those savings for a year and a half.

And during that time I picked up my camera, started doing blogs, and learnt about social media.

I was starting to meet people from the industry and built up a network. I slowly started getting more of a client-base that I was writing content for, and that’s really what launched my business that I run today.

It’s important to bear in mind that when you’re climbing a really big mountain if you look right to the top you’re going to be discouraged and overwhelmed. But if you just take one step at a time, it’s a lot easier to get to the top.

EN: Do you have a favourite place that you visited? And why?

Lexie: I have a list, I have a top five. But this is like having to choose a favourite child.

The places are my 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 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 world.

EN: Is there anywhere you wouldn’t go back to?

Lexie: I’m always wary when I talk about favourite places and least favourite places because it’s so subjective. I don’t think there’s anywhere I wouldn’t go back to never say never.

But my travel experience now is very different from three years ago. It’s less about counting countries, and more about seeking out these unique experiences, so it really depends on whether the opportunity is there.

One thing I know is that any travel experience is all about people. They make or break the journey. It’s the people who make experiences last in your mind forever.

EN: There’s still a lot of stigma around women travelling alone, especially from a safety perspective. But you did much of this journey alone, and so young. Was it ever something that worried you?

Lexie: I travelled to around 50 or so countries by myself. So that was maybe seven or eight months on my own.

Just as a side note, I truly think it’s something every person, man and woman, should experience at some point in their life: solo travel.

It teaches you how to be independent and navigate this crazy world alone.

But it also makes you truly appreciate the time you get to spend with people when you’re back home, or with your family and friends.

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. Just somewhere that you can be with yourself and your thoughts.

You can ease into these things slowly 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.

That’s the main thing I’ve learnt on my travels I think. Gratitude.

EN: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Lexie: I love that we celebrate women (the day, women’s history month), and take the time to reflect on how far women have come in society, and also how women are being empowered to do things they’ve never been able to do before. It’s about how we are excelling. We feel empowered to pursue our dreams, and there’s no one holding us back.

It’s easy to point out all the ways that we need to continue to improve. But we have to celebrate the progress we’ve made too, and that’s what this day is for me.

EN: What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to pursue their dreams?

Lexie: A piece of advice I’ve been given and carried with me for years is to never take no for an answer. Anyone who doubts your ideas, who doesn’t want something to work out in your favour, being rejected. It’s up to you to persevere.

EN: Your social media name is Lexie Limitless, emphasis on the Limitless. Are there any travellers you would recommend people should follow?

Lexie: Bree from @eyeofshe, she’s an amazing adventure travel creator. Andi from @destinationchaser is another inspiring traveller who has a very unique outlook on the world, and Ciara from @hey_ciara is a solo female traveller, so if that’s something you’re interested in make sure you’re following her.

On her website, she gave some advice on what it takes to travel around the world, she wrote:

“In a word: compromise. Beyond taking the occasional vacation, it takes sacrifice to live a life abroad for an extended period of time. Saving money at a young age is extremely difficult, especially when you are living on your own; paying all the bills that go along with being independent.

“If your goal in life is to travel, one of my biggest pieces of advice to you would be to move back in with your parents! It isn’t always that easy and for some people doing this is impossible, but if you have the opportunity to live at home (free of rent) you should take it. This is the reason why so many young people can afford a travel lifestyle.

“Money is a lot easier to save at home, and saving is the name of the game. You are capable of doing whatever you put your mind to.

Work harder than anyone you know, do anything and everything you can to save the money you make because it will take you so much farther than you could ever imagine.

“You may not have expensive material things or a fancy degree, you may even have to sacrifice relationships with people in your life and the daily comforts you’ve grown accustomed to. These are the challenges that one must overcome in order to experience what other places in the world have to offer.”

She also gave some travelling tips on her blog especially to the ladies who love to travel.

She advised them to always do their homework by researching the country they intend to travel to before they even start packing, to know the religion of the people, how to dress, so that you don’t appear disrespectful.

“For example, in the capital of Maldives, Mali, you are not permitted to wear a bikini on the beach because of the strict Islamic culture. Or you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that abayas are mandatory in Saudi Arabia, but hijab is not,” She wrote.

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