We’re backing ourselves and we’ve decided to go all in! That’s right, we’re prepared to spend our life savings on the biggest trip ever. Not long now until we depart on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world.
Rach and Marty – The Very Hungry Nomads
The day began like any other Saturday morning in Melbourne. We were sat in our favourite café, sipping espressos, enjoying poached eggs and smashed avocado on sourdough.
The conversation progressed to chatting about travel, as it so often does. We spoke about where we’d like to travel next. If we had to choose, should we go to East Timor or Papua New Guinea? We agreed that we wanted to see both, but we just didn’t have enough time.
Do you want to visit every country in the world?
Casually, I look up at Marty and ask: “How many countries are there?” She thinks for a moment and replies: “About 195, give or take”. Almost instantaneously, she looked me straight in the eyes and added, “Hey, do you want to go and visit every country in the world ?” I replied immediately, “Yes!”
That was it. I knew she was serious. She knew I was serious too. Together we would find a way to do it, we always do. And that’s how it started.
It’s funny how a spontaneous moment can totally flip your current life plan upside down in an instant. We left the apartment that morning in the neighbourhood that we adore, in the most liveable city in the world, with the intention of just eating breakfast and reading the travel section of the newspaper.
It would seem that we were content with our lives up until that point. We each had a stable nine-to-five job, we receive a monthly salary that allows us to live quite comfortably and we had weekends free to catch up with friends or explore the area.
Turns out that all this stability, comfort and routine aren’t what we really want at all.
We left the cafe that day with a sudden spring in our step, a hundred ideas filling our heads. Our creativity had kicked into overload; already we were throwing ideas back and forth. Where we’d begin the adventure and how long would it take. What was the most logical route and how much money do we need? Also, how hard is it to visit every country in the world?
Most importantly, was this something that we could actually do?
We arrived home that morning and pulled down the big scratch-off world map from the wall (of course we have one). Studying it, you can see that we’ve seen a massive chunk of the world already, more than the average person you could say.
Marty was right (she’s rarely ever wrong), there are 195 countries in the world (countries that are recognised by UN). To date, we’ve visited about 107 countries each. From our calculations, this leaves us 88 countries left to go. Could we really go and visit every country in the world?
How many people have visited every country in the world?
We decided to research a little more to find out who had already completed this epic adventure. Only a very short list of people has ever done it. I was also a little disheartened to find that it was totally dominated by males.
At the time, not one female had been documented or listed as having completed the goal to visit to every country in the world. Why was this, I wondered?
I’d like to see this list full of women’s names equally sharing the space, and I’m determined to be one of them. And right next to my name will be Marty’s name.
We’d like to be the first Australian and Slovakian woman to visit every country in the world. We want to show that everyday women can achieve extraordinary things!
We accepted a lunch invitation with these local women in Tajikistan. Best Day Ever.
I’ve always considered myself as someone who is equally capable of achieving anything that someone of the opposite sex can achieve. If I’m being honest, it’s crazy for me to think otherwise.
My mum always taught me to work hard for what you want in life and she has always encouraged me to achieve my dreams, whatever they may be. I bet she doesn’t fully realise how much her support and encouragement in the early days of my solo adventures around the world meant to me.
Aside from mum, I’m the only female in our family of six. I grew up with three older brothers, so it was natural for me to just assume that I could do anything they could do. When they rode their motorbike through the sand pits, I’d follow them on my motorbike (yes I had one and I loved it). If the boys built a tree house, I’d go and build one too.
I was never afraid to have a go, to be challenged and get my hands dirty. I’ve always had the same attitude to everything in life, which I consider to be a positive trait.
In Turkmenistan at the Darvaza Gas Crater, otherwise known as the ‘Gates of Hell’.
Travel is addictive
Marty and I have travelled to some interesting and obscure destinations, we really enjoy off the beaten path type of travel. Countries when you don’t see tourists anywhere and you seem to get by with a big smile, some hand gestures and bits of broken language, and a good dose of trust.
People will literally go out of their way to ensure you feel welcomed in their country, most of all that you’re safe, and it’s funny but true, they care that you are well fed. I think it’s just common nature for them to care about complete strangers.
As I am writing this, two countries that come to mind are Colombia and Iran. These countries, among others, consistently raise eyebrows at the mere mention of travelling there. We were told it was not safe to travel there, however, after reading and learning more about both countries, we decided to visit. These are two of our favourite countries ever.
I’m not saying that we don’t closely follow current government warnings or unrest in countries around the world. We do and we always make sure we learn and educate ourselves about the country before we visit. It is essential to know before you go.
Often when people learn of our past travels or hear about out stories from the road, we’re frequently asked the same single question.
This is part of the message that we want to show everyone but particularly directed at all women who read about our trip and hopefully feel inspired and empowered by our story.
You’ve got to believe that you can achieve extraordinary things!
Apply this to anything in life, it doesn’t have to be about travel at all. It’s more about backing yourself to succeed in whatever challenges you may encounter.
One of the things that we also hope to show everyone on our adventure to visit every country in the world is how much good there is.
People, in general, are good
No matter what country you were born, it’s important to remember that most people just want the same things in life.
To be happy, to love, to feel loved, to feel proud, to smile, to receive smiles, to share happiness, to give and most of all I believe, we all just want to be treated as equal human beings.
We’ve experienced such overwhelming kindness, care and genuine hospitality from all over the world, however, our previous trip spent travelling through the ‘Stans’ and Iran was exceptional. No words to even describe how welcomed we felt in these countries.
Sleeping in a traditional yurt in Mongolia
We’re expecting our next trip will provide many wonderful experiences, but we’re aware that we’ll encounter just as many obstacles and challenges too. Rather than view this as a negative, we’re looking at the tough stuff as a way of growing and learning, and we’re intrigued.
We’ll be documenting our journey, sharing stories, videos, food experiences and personal connections.
Yes, we have a thing for food
Did we mention that we’re also passionate food-lovers? Therefore, we’ll be paying close attention to finding all the best food experiences and local delicacies during the trip.
Originally our website ‘Very Hungry Nomads’ started as a marketplace to book best food tours and cooking classes around the world, you can still find our favourite food experiences here.
We believe food brings people together, and we want to test this theory all over the world! We want to get up close and personal with some home-cooked meals, traditional feasts and meet the cooks who prepare them!
We’re hoping to taste the most important ingredient, my favourite one of all. Can you guess it yet? Yes, we want to taste the love. We’ll be sharing all of our favourite food adventures from all corners of the globe.
How can you afford to visit every country in the world?
Ok, if you’ve reached this point, I’m sure you’re wondering how two 30-something women can afford such a trip?
Planning how we’re going to visit every country in the world
We want to make it clear that we’re not wealthy people. We’re just everyday women with big ambitions. We’ve never had highly paid jobs, however, we’ve worked hard and saved as much money as we could to make this dream a reality.
We’re prepared to spend our life savings on this trip. We believe it’s going to be the best investment of our lives.
We might run out of money before we reach the end, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Given we’ve got about 88 countries to go, we’re hoping to spend around one week in each. We guess we’ll need roughly two years to complete the trip.
Naturally, we’ve set a budget and we plan to keep our daily spend at USD 50 each per day. This includes flights, accommodation, transport, visas, food and fun. We also have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
We’re planning this trip the same way we’ve planned the others, with a positive attitude and a logical approach. This adventure to visit every country in the world is more involved than any trip we’ve ever taken.
We need to carefully plan some very tricky visas to allow us to set foot in some countries. Especially relevant are elements such as the weather and season.
So that’s it. We’ve sold most of our possessions and booked a flight to Beijing with Skyscanner, the first stop on our epic trip to visit every country in the world.
We’re ready to visit every country!
The plan is to start in Beijing and head first to North Korea, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. Then it’s further on to visit India and Pakistan to make our way towards Europe via the Middle East. After the summer in Europe (eating our way around) we will head to West Africa to travel the length of this huge continent. Then it’s on to everywhere else, see our map where we have been so far.
Our travel dream to visit every country in the world is officially on!
We’re leaving Melbourne, Australia on 8th of April 2018
Want to see us make it the whole way around? We hope so, and we’d really appreciate your support.
Please share our story with every fearless female you know and let’s show the world that women rock! While you’re there, please spread the word to all the awesome guys that may want to cheer us on too.
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Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 186+ countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.