Woman, 27, Who Quit Her Job To Travel The World Becomes The Fastest Person To Visit All 196 Countries In Just 18 Months

Ever since her schooldays, Cassie De Pecol, 27, from Washington, wanted to travel the world. She always wanted to learn about different cultures, religion and natural habitats, so she quit her unfulfilling job and took to the roads.

The organisation for her trip began when she turned 25 years old, when the former office worker started to make her plans. She wanted to learn more about people outside her home country, and find out more about where her ancestors came from.

Curiosity made her wonder what things were really like outside the states. What was the Amazon really like? Was the Middle East as the news informed her?

“Since school, I’ve had this desire to visit every country in the world, intrigued to learn more about every culture, natural habitat, and religion.”

“In America we are lucky to have such a vast melting pot of cultures and people from all over the world who make the country what it is today.”

Cassie De Pecol, 27, from Washington, Connecticut embarked on her journey in July of 2015 and has now reached the end of her epic mission to visit all 193 sovereign nations plus Taiwan, Kosovo and Palestine (pictured above in Bhutan)
Bhutan

“I wanted to learn about where these people came from, more specifically, where I came from, with my ancestors originating from Europe.”

“I wondered what existed outside of North America and what it was like. Is the Middle East really like how they say it is on the news? What about the Amazon?”

“Going to every country was for me a personal quest to learn as much as I could about our world, stepping outside my comfort zone and becoming comfortable in the unknown, while also aiming to leave a legacy behind.”

“All sponsors and funding is obtained by me while I’m on the road, which is not an easy task.”

Having developed a passion for travelling, the former office worker began to plan for the trip of a lifetime - Expedition 196 - on her 25th birthday (pictured above in El Nido Palawan, Philippines)
El Nido Palawan, Philippines
So far the intrepid traveller has ticked off 196 countries, taken hundreds of flights and now plans to explore Antarctica - the only place she hasn't been - for her next journey. Cassie, from Connecticut, is pictured above in Kazakhstan
Cassie, from Connecticut, is pictured above in Kazakhstan
Speaking out: Investors have also contributed to the making of the educational documentary which Cassie has filmed along the way, to promote sustainable travel

Cassie admits that travelling forced her to step outside her comfort zone and also taught her to be more comfortable in situations she had never thought of before.

Cassie budgeted $198,000, of which $10,000 came from babysitting, and set off to explore a total of 196 countries, thus making her a world record holder.

By the end of 2016, Cassie had already ticked off 180 countries and taken over 254 flights in just over 15 months, with an estimated 45 days left to complete her whirlwind adventure.

Cassie admits that she did have sponsors who helped fund her trip, and also investors who contributed to a documentary she made along the way.

Balancing act: It's estimated Cassie has burned through more than $198,000 (£161,880) in a bid to break the world record. A range of sponsors have also helped lighten the financial burden. She is pictured above in Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia

Eco friendly hotels are also noted on her social media platform, which has upwards of 295,000 followers. Along the way, Cassie worked with a conservation company collecting water samples to test for micro plastics. Often she will meet with members of ministries and university students.

“If I’m not meeting with the ministry, giving keynote sessions to university students, collecting samples, obtaining visas, or doing promotion, I travel around the country on my own, but not for long.”

“I try to spend the most time in countries where I’m able to promote my mission to make a difference,” she noted.

Cassie admitted that sometimes it was difficult travelling alone as a woman. Occasionally people would try to take advantage of her because of this, but she learned not to tolerate inequality and how to defend herself against unwanted advances.

Low times for Cassie are waiting in airports and finding herself in unsafe situations, where she is unable to go out for a run on her own. The high times are when she gets to see other countries and get off the beaten track. Cassie – while she enjoys talking to dignitaries – prefers to be on her own. She loves long bus rides where she can relax and absorb nature. She spends between 2 – 5 days in each country.

Different perspective: After 18 months on the road, Cassie has experienced both highs and lows and believes that travelling as a solo woman has shaped some of her experiences. Pictured above on the beach at Christmas Island, Republic of Kiribati
On the beach at Christmas Island, Republic of Kiribati

“On average, I spend two to five days in each country,” she said.

“It’s been amazing meeting with the students and dignitaries, also travelling to off the beaten path locations on my own, places that no one else I know has experienced. I also love long bus rides.”

“Lows are flying, being in airports, and not being in a safe enough environment to go for a run.”

“I’ve been harassed and in sticky situations, whereas a man in the same situation likely wouldn’t have experienced the same,” she revealed.

“Some like to be believe that they can take advantage of me because I’m a woman, thinking I’m more gullible to cough up more money or talk to them more because they want me to, but I don’t tolerate any inequality anymore.”

“If I feel that I’m being harassed or taken advantage of, I say how I feel, then I’m out.”

Paperwork: Along the way, Cassie has had to return to America to get new passports and apply for travel visas
Mapped out: Cassie's epic route across the globe is seen planned out above
Mapped out: Cassie’s epic route across the globe is seen planned out above

Cassie likes to describe herself as a world traveller and explorer. She also considers herself to be an environmental activist, women’s rights activist, educator and entrepreneur.

The only country Cassie has not been to is Antarctica, which she is already making plans to visit.

Soaking it all in: Cassie says although she isn't the first documented woman to travel to every country in the world, she imagines that the 'feeling of accomplishment and awe will be overwhelming'. Pictured above at Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Although Cassie is not the first woman to complete a travel venue of every country, she admits that when she finally has visited them all, the feeling will be one of overwhelming awe at the accomplishment.

“Though I haven’t yet become the first documented woman to travel to every country in the world, I imagine that the feeling of accomplishment and awe will be overwhelming.”

“I just hope that I’m able to inspire young women (and men) around the world to go after goals and feats that so far, people think can only be done by man.”

Read More: Woman, 27, who quit her job to travel the world becomes the fastest person to visit EVERY country after hitting 196 destinations in just 18 months

Destinations Around The World That Have Been Taken Over By Animals Revealed

For animal lovers, there are some places that are dreams come true! And yes, they do really exist! While some of the islands are full of warm, cuddly animals, others are inhabited by creatures not normally thought of as pets. From foxes that you can feed, to stingless jellyfish that will do swimmers no harm, these islands are crammed with wildlife.

You may wonder how they arrived at the destinations, and while there are legends about this, there are no absolutely certain reasons. In some places the animals are treated with great respect by locals, while in others they live entirely on their own. The animals are there, and seem very happy to have humans as their tourists! Some of them are friendly, while others you would do well to admire from a distance.

Have a look at some places where the animals have literally, taken over, and the humans are their visitors.

Fox Village, Japan

Fox Village, located in Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, is home to a leash of more than 100 foxes, composed of six different species, all allowed to wander free in a large forested area
Fox Village, located in Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, is home to a leash of more than 100 foxes, composed of six different species, all allowed to wander free in a large forested area
Visitors to the village can pay around £4 (700 Japanese Yen) to enter and feed the animals. Foxes are heralded in Japan, with many believing they have mystical powers and bring good luck
Visitors to the village can pay around £4 (700 Japanese Yen) to enter and feed the animals. Foxes are heralded in Japan, with many believing they have mystical powers and bring good luck

Rabbit Island

Rabbit Island, officially known as Okunoshima, is a small island off the coast of Hiroshima Prefecture, and is home to hundreds of wild but friendly bunnies who approach tourists in large groups to scavenge for food
Rabbit Island, officially known as Okunoshima, is a small island off the coast of Hiroshima Prefecture, and is home to hundreds of wild but friendly bunnies who approach tourists in large groups to scavenge for food
It’s not known how the island came to be overrun by rabbits, but from 1930 to 1945 it was used as a testing ground for poison and it is thought during that time that the test subjects included rabbits
It’s not known how the island came to be overrun by rabbits, but from 1930 to 1945 it was used as a testing ground for poison and it is thought during that time that the test subjects included rabbits
Things got very hairy for this tourist when she visited the island. After offering them some food, she was chased down a road by a stampede of them
Things got very hairy for this tourist when she visited the island. After offering them some food, she was chased down a road by a stampede of them

Crab Island

It is estimated that more than 43million crabs inhabit tiny Christmas island, their presence more obvious during breeding season when they head to the water’s edge to reproduce
It is estimated that more than 43million crabs inhabit tiny Christmas island, their presence more obvious during breeding season when they head to the water’s edge to reproduce
During the migration period the state government closes the roads on the island to ensure the crabs have a safe journey, but many are still killed on train tracks
During the migration period the state government closes the roads on the island to ensure the crabs have a safe journey, but many are still killed on train tracks

Jellyfish Lake

Located on Eil Malik island in Palau, Jellyfish Lake is home to over a million stingless golden jellyfish. Hundreds of years ago the lake had an outlet to the ocean but when the sea level dropped the jellyfish population were isolated and began to thrive
Located on Eil Malik island in Palau, Jellyfish Lake is home to over a million stingless golden jellyfish. Hundreds of years ago the lake had an outlet to the ocean but when the sea level dropped the jellyfish population were isolated and began to thrive
They had no predators so over time their stings disappeared and now divers can now swim alongside them with no fear of being stung
They had no predators so over time their stings disappeared and now divers can now swim alongside them with no fear of being stung

Cat Island

On the Japanese island of Tashirojima - population 100 - there are more cats than residents, and they are valued by locals who feed them in the belief that they bring good luck
On the Japanese island of Tashirojima – population 100 – there are more cats than residents, and they are valued by locals who feed them in the belief that they bring good luck
They are particularly useful for the local farm-raised silkworms industry because they chase away mice, which eat them
They are particularly useful for the local farm-raised silkworms industry because they chase away mice, which eat them

Pony Island

The rural island of Assateague on the coast of America is home to more than 300 feral ponies thought to have made their way there after surviving a shipwreck
The rural island of Assateague on the coast of America is home to more than 300 feral ponies thought to have made their way there after surviving a shipwreck
The best way to see the ponies, on the 37 mile-long island off Maryland and Virginia, is by kayak along the island's waterways
The best way to see the ponies, on the 37 mile-long island off Maryland and Virginia, is by kayak along the island’s waterways

Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest, located in Ubud, Bali, is home to more than 600 monkeys. Tourists the world over flock to come and interact with them, but being bitten is common
Monkey Forest, located in Ubud, Bali, is home to more than 600 monkeys. Tourists the world over flock to come and interact with them, but being bitten is common
The forest hosts a variety of ancient Hindu temples that date back to 1350, and which the monkeys have made their home
The forest hosts a variety of ancient Hindu temples that date back to 1350, and which the monkeys have made their home

Pig Island

On a small uninhabited island in the Exuma region of the Bahamas, wild pigs paddle freely. Tourists can reach the site by boat to feed and play with them
On a small uninhabited island in the Exuma region of the Bahamas, wild pigs paddle freely. Tourists can reach the site by boat to feed and play with them
According to legend they were left there by sailors who had plans to return for a pork roast, but never did, leaving the pigs to turn feral
According to legend they were left there by sailors who had plans to return for a pork roast, but never did, leaving the pigs to turn feral

Deer Island

Situated in the west central section of Honshu, the largest island of Japan, Nara is home to more than 1,200 deer - believed to be sacred among the locals 
Situated in the west central section of Honshu, the largest island of Japan, Nara is home to more than 1,200 deer – believed to be sacred among the locals
Tourists can purchase crackers to feed to the tame deer, which roam the streets freely in large groups all year round
Tourists can purchase crackers to feed to the tame deer, which roam the streets freely in large groups all year round

Polar Bear Bay

Canada is home to two-thirds of the world's polar bears, many of which amass each year at Hudson bay in Churchill, Manitoba, to hunt on the ice. Tourists can get up-close with them in specially-made Tundra Buggy vehicles like this one
Canada is home to two-thirds of the world’s polar bears, many of which amass each year at Hudson bay in Churchill, Manitoba, to hunt on the ice. Tourists can get up-close with them in specially-made Tundra Buggy vehicles like this one
Churchill  has been nicknamed the Polar Bear Capital of the World, but environmental experts say climate change could make the population extinct within a few decades
Churchill  has been nicknamed the Polar Bear Capital of the World, but environmental experts say climate change could make the population extinct within a few decades

Chicken Cove

The Hawaiian island of Kauai is overrun with thousands of feral chickens who have no natural predators. Their origin remains a mystery
The Hawaiian island of Kauai is overrun with thousands of feral chickens who have no natural predators. Their origin remains a mystery
The ever-multiplying birds are popular with locals because they eat the venomous centipedes native to the remote island
The ever-multiplying birds are popular with locals because they eat the venomous centipedes native to the remote island

Source: Daily Mail

Woman Shocked To Find Picture Of Her Dying Dad Used As Warning On Cigarette Packages

Mother-of-two Jodi Charles was shocked when she saw a picture of a man on a cigarette package. The 42 year old was horrified, to say the least, because she thought it was a picture of her father. Jodi says that she is 110{a30e0c09ff70771d4c2559ca452283db427b609927687ae1d17157c286cad949} sure that the picture is of her father David who died in 2015.

“My friend who smokes tobacco came round on Tuesday and my 14-year-old daughter picked up the wrapper,” she said. “She ran into the room and said, ‘Look, it’s granddad!’”

“When I saw that photo, I just said, ‘Oh my God.’ I just knew without any doubt that it was dad. I was horrified.”

David was in intensive care at Basildon University Hospital where he passed away from bone marrow problems and septicaemia. While he was a smoker, this was not the reason for his death. Jodi believed that during the ten months he spent at the hospital, the picture was taken of her dad being hooked up to a life support machine.

“I cut my dad’s hair for 20 years, I know exactly how his hairline was, exactly where it sticks up a little,” she said. “I also cut his eyebrows and know all the tiny details of his face.”

swns-health-warning-13.jpg
Jodi Charles is convinced that a photo shown on cigarette packets is of her father David Ross who died in 2015 following 10 months in a hospital in Essex

“The whole picture looks exactly like him. His eyes were puffed up when he was in intensive care and they are in the photo too.”

“I am 110 per cent sure it is him and that there is no way he gave permission for such a terrible picture to be used. It’s terribly upsetting.”

“This has been a horrendous time for us. Dad being ill took up my whole life and I am still grieving now – I will be forevermore.”

“As time goes on you learn to deal with it, but this has brought it all back. I’m distraught again.”

Both the EU commission and Basildon Hospital deny the picture is David Ross but Jodi says that even her daughter recognised the picture as her granddad. It is unthinkable that the picture should appear on the packet without permission, which Jodi says she never would have given.

“Any similarity is purely coincidental,” the Commission have said.

smoking2.jpg
Jodi says she is ‘110 per cent’ sure the photo is of her father David Ross, who passed away in 2015 aged 66 and would ‘no way’ have given his consent. The pair are pictured together above

The EU has said that it is not allowed to give out information about pictures as it has to protect the rights of the individuals it shows. It stated that any pictures they use, are only and ever used with the consent of the person. They would never use a picture without permission.

“We are very sorry for the distress caused to this young lady who believes that her father is depicted in this health warning,” a spokesperson said.

“However, having checked the details of her father against the identity of the person depicted, we can categorically state that the person in this picture is not David Ross.”

“May we take this opportunity to emphasise that all individuals depicted in the library of picture warnings were informed and gave their consent. Any similarity with other individuals is purely coincidental.”

“There are only two departments which take photos – communications, for charity events and that sort of thing, and medical photography,” a hospital spokeswoman added.

“Neither of those departments have forwarded any photos to the photo library.”

smoking1.jpg
Jodi remains convinced the photo is of her dad despite the denials and is demanding that the EU stops using the image – while threatening to ‘sue them’

Jodi feels that until she has proof that the picture is not her father, she will assume that someone took the shot and used it. She will then go ahead and start legal proceeding against the hospital and the cigarette company.

“If it isn’t him, I want proof of that, and of the fact that he signed to say that they could do this.,” she said.

“If they don’t give me that, I’m going to sue them. It is horrific to see my dad who has just passed away on a fag packet. It is morally wrong and extremely distressing for the whole family.”

Man Who Advertised For A New Fishing Buddy After His Friend Died Has The Trip Of A Lifetime With A Young Angler

After losing the friend who always went fishing with him, Ray Johnstone, aged 75, posted an advert for a fishing buddy. Ray had always gone fishing with a friend, and felt very lonely going on his own. He wanted to go with someone who felt similarly to fishing as he did, but he got an adventure he never expected!

Mati Batsinilas, 22, from Brisbane replied to the advert and took Ray out on a trip. He offered to take Ray on a fishing trip in Queensland, and flew him there for an all expenses paid trip.

Mati says that the weather was perfect, but the most rewarding part was to see Ray smiling and happy. Ray was beaming as they boarded Mati’s boat and set sail. The pair took numerous pictures of themselves, including one of Mati’s entire family with Ray. They managed to land a large amount of massive whiting on their trip.

A lonely widower has had his dream fulfilled by a young man after he posted an ad to Gumtree in search of a fishing buddy
A lonely widower has had his dream fulfilled by a young man after he posted an ad to Gumtree in search of a fishing buddy
Mati Batsinilas, from Brisbane, saw Ray Johnstone's heartbreaking viral ad shared on Facebook and quickly got in touch, offering to take the 75-year-old fishing at Stradbroke Island (pictured)
Mati Batsinilas, from Brisbane, saw Ray Johnstone’s heartbreaking viral ad shared on Facebook and quickly got in touch, offering to take the 75-year-old fishing at Stradbroke Island (pictured)

“When I read it I thought it was a heartbreaking story so I commented on it, but I never thought it would ever get to Ray,” Mati said. “When I woke in the morning after posting the comment it had 1,600 likes and more than 500 messages in my mailbox on Facebook.”

“Everyone was trying to get Ray and I hooked up together to do this trip.”

“I offered him a holiday away — and not just for fishing, but to get away and relax,” he continued. “I said from the beginning to Ray that we would get there and that I would commit to it and do it.”

Ray, who was a toolmaker and quality control officer, offered to pay all the costs for ramp fees if they needed a boat. He also was prepared to split petrol costs with his new mate. The great grandfather left all his contact details for people to reply to his advert.

“What I want is a fishing mate in a similar position to myself who also wants someone to go fishing with,” Ray wrote.

Elderly widower Ray Johnstone found a fishing buddy to replace a deceased friend after his heartbreaking Gumtree ad went viral
Elderly widower Ray Johnstone found a fishing buddy to replace a deceased friend after his heartbreaking Gumtree ad went viral
He posted on the online classifieds site last week seeking a fellow lonely angler to enjoy regular days out in waters around Adelaide
He posted on the online classifieds site last week seeking a fellow lonely angler to enjoy regular days out in waters around Adelaide

Ray posted a reply to his advert, thanking the public for their kind words and thoughts on his advert.

“I just want to thank everyone for their kind words and remind you all that this was a family effort, not just mine,” he wrote.

On Tuesday, the 22-year-old angler posted a photo of himself, Mr Johnstone and his entire family and thanked the public for the 'kind words'
On Tuesday, the 22-year-old angler posted a photo of himself, Mr Johnstone and his entire family and thanked the public for the ‘kind words’
The great-grandfather left his contact details so potential buddies could organise to meet up and 'see if we could get along with each other'
The great-grandfather left his contact details so potential buddies could organise to meet up and ‘see if we could get along with each other’

The fishing buddies had such a good time that they have already organised a second outing, and Mati is hoping to take Ray four wheel driving to catch beachworms!

“It’s so good to see him smile.”

“The feedback has been unreal and the support from everyone has been phenomenal.”

Read More: Lonely man who advertised for a new fishing buddy after his friend died has the trip of a lifetime with a kind young angler (and they caught plenty!)

How Much? Tax Rises And Compensation Awards Set To Drive Car Insurance Above The £1000 Mark

The cost of car insurance is likely to rise steeply next year thanks to disruptive reforms and a sneaky new tax. Honest motorists are already suffering, having seen the average annual policy rise 16{a30e0c09ff70771d4c2559ca452283db427b609927687ae1d17157c286cad949} this year alone. The increase is largely down to a spate of fake whiplash claims and ever pricier repair costs.

But analysts warn upcoming increases to Insurance Premium Tax, combined with new rules on injury pay-outs are set to make prices soar.

Confused.com experts have warned 2011’s record of £858 is set to be smashed, and could easily hit four figures for some renewal quotes. Worst affected will be young male drivers, who already pay a whopping £2,363 on average. In June the Government will increase Insurance Premium Tax to 12{a30e0c09ff70771d4c2559ca452283db427b609927687ae1d17157c286cad949} from its current rate of 10{a30e0c09ff70771d4c2559ca452283db427b609927687ae1d17157c286cad949}. This under-reported measure has been accused of being a stealth tax on hard working households, affecting around 36 million policies, from vehicles, to houses and private healthcare.

Car insurance bills could soar above £1,000 next year due to stealth taxes and controversial compensation reforms, according to a report

However insurers are warning that changes to the way serious personal injury compensation is calculated will force premiums up even more. Compensation is worked out by courts using complex sums around loss of earnings, the cost of care and are even offset based on the amount of interest victims would earn from a lump sum. This last factor is called the Discount Rate, and was set at 2.5{a30e0c09ff70771d4c2559ca452283db427b609927687ae1d17157c286cad949} – however last month it was adjusted down to -0.75{a30e0c09ff70771d4c2559ca452283db427b609927687ae1d17157c286cad949} based on poor interest rates.

An outcry by insurers lead to a promise of an urgent review by Justice Secretary Liz Truss.

The Office for Budget Responsibility warned drivers would have to deal with a rise of £2 billion overall, with the worst affected areas including Manchester and Merseyside, which have already seen the largest increases in recent times.

Rob Cummings, from the Association of British Insurers, said: ‘Motorists are being hit by a cocktail of rising costs … recent changes to the Discount Rate, that will massively increase injury claims costs, are now being felt too. It is therefore vital the Government legislate for a new way of setting the Discount Rate.’

However Guy Anker, of MoneySavingExpert, said: ‘Given insurance companies almost always overcharge existing customers by hiking premiums at renewal, you wonder whether some may use the new discount rate as an excuse to increase the price of policies.’