Last Wednesday Taylor Demonbreun, 24, completed the final step of the journey to become the youngest and fastest person to visit every country on earth.

Having arrived in Canada - her 196th country – she had finally finished the remarkable journey she had set off on as fresh university graduate, 1 year and 189 days before.

Though perhaps the last, most arduous step had been waiting an additional 188 days for Guinness World Records to confirm her achievement.

"I had about 5,000 pieces of evidence which includes things like witnesses from every country, photos, receipts, tickets, etc. Basically any and everything that verifies my travels," said Demonbreun, who had been toiling for two months to scrape together every to prove to Guinness that she had made the record trek.

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Taylor broke not one, but four world records on her 1-year-189-day adventure. Photo / Supplied
Taylor broke not one, but four world records on her 1-year-189-day adventure. Photo / Supplied

"It was an amazing and incredible feeling to walk into Canada at the end of my trip, but getting the email that I had set the records just made everything finally feel complete."
Having kept a live journal and record of her globetrotting adventures the young hiker from Alabama has become quite the travel expert.

Ms Demonbreun broke several records in the process. But the one she had her eyes on was the fastest overall.

There were several setbacks to her journey. Along with cancelled flights and visas, she had a number of family emergencies. "Finding out that my dad had a heart attack while I was stuck in the middle of Africa was not ideal," said Taylor with typical practical resolve.

The health of her parents meant that she returned home a number of times, telling the Guinness Book of Records that she could have cut two months off of her goal.

Taylor in Egypt. Photo / Supplied
Taylor in Egypt. Photo / Supplied

In the end she beat the previous fastest record that stood at 559 days by less than a week. However she was never in any doubt that she would make her final goal, at becoming the fastest and youngest traveller to hold this achievement.

Now the official holder of four records – the youngest female and youngest overall as well as the fastest female and fastest overall – Ms Demonbreun tells us how she did it, what it takes to fund your way around the world and her own thoughts on whether there should still be separate records for female travellers.

When you set off in June 2017 did you have all of these records in your sights?

Yes! From the beginning of my travels I had setting a Guinness World Record as a goal. I knew that I was very young and would have a good chance at setting the record for youngest. I also knew that, given my budget, I would not be able to spend very long in each place and that I wanted to do it in a few years after finishing school, so I knew that fastest would be a good possibility as well.

Lybia. Supplied
Lybia. Supplied

Where did you inspiration come from?

I had recently finished a semester studying abroad in London where I was able to travel to twenty countries. I have always loved travel and wanted to visit as many places as I possibly could. And, one day, it all just sort of clicked - I want to work in travel, someday I want to visit every country, and I want to inspire others to travel as well.

I wanted to show not only that solo female travel around the globe was possible, but that it is feasible even in countries one might not have previously thought to visit. Young women can, and should, see as much of the world as they can.

It didn't take long to discover that there were records for it and that I might be able to break them given my age and the fact that I wanted to try and do it in the few years after graduating.

Petra, Jordan. Photo / Supplied
Petra, Jordan. Photo / Supplied

Your travel blog (trekwithtaylor.com) is an inspiration - but it looks like you didn't have long to spend anywhere. Where would you go back to, given the chance?

I'm hoping to be able to travel back to many of the places that I didn't get to see in depth at some point in my life. There are tons of countries, especially in Asia and South America, that I am already trying to figure out how to get back to.

I would absolutely love to live abroad someday.

Machu Picchu. Photo / Supplied
Machu Picchu. Photo / Supplied

Were there any major set-backs that you could have avoided? or countries you wished you could have avoided?

I had very few bad experiences throughout my entire trip so I don't really like singling out a country on what might have just been a bad day for me personally. There were countries where yes, I might've grown tired of differing cultural norms or of standing out from the crowd, but there was not one country where I had an overall negative experience.

I had a few cancelled flights but only one that caused a bad chain reaction.

Feeding Llamas in Te Anau, New Zealand. Photo / Supplied
Feeding Llamas in Te Anau, New Zealand. Photo / Supplied

When did you visit New Zealand on your travels?

New Zealand actually earned itself the distinction of being the country, of all 196, that I spent the most time in. For my dad New Zealand had always been his dream to visit. So he came with me and we had the most incredible time.

Milford Sound was, of course, breath taking, and we wrapped up our trip with a few days in Queenstown where I did the Nevis Swing. It was such a fun trip and both of us are already hoping to come back very soon and bring the rest of my family.


How did you support yourself while travelling? How much does it cost to travel to all 196 countries?

I worked a few small jobs during my trip but those did not last very long as I realised that I needed to dedicate all of my time and energy to make my goal a reality. The biggest funding aspect of my trip would probably be all of my wonderful hotel sponsors. I received hotel sponsorships in a majority of the countries that I visited and that helped to lower my costs substantially.

Taylor Google-translated her way through Iran. Photo / Supplied
Taylor Google-translated her way through Iran. Photo / Supplied

You had almost 140 sponsor hotels that put you up. Was there a favourite?

I loved staying at Mara House in Egypt and Sorinet Hotels in Iran because they helped to show me their incredible cities and really gave me some once in a lifetime experiences.

"It was a night filled with laughter, singing, dancing, and the constant use of translators and Google translate to talk with everyone there. In that one evening, every preconceived notion that I might have held about the people of Iran was shattered"

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It must be nice to have four awards - instead of two - but do you think there should be a separate award for fastest woman or youngest woman? Are there any experiences where you felt at a disadvantage being a solo female traveller going for the record?

Shanghai, China. Photo / Supplied
Shanghai, China. Photo / Supplied

I wanted to show not only that solo female travel around the globe was possible, but that it is feasible even in countries one might not have previously thought to visit. Young women can, and should, see as much of the world as they can.

I will say that there are definitely places where I was treated differently because I was a woman, but I don't think that anything related to setting the record was impacted by gender. I might have had more requirements when it came to what I wore in certain places, or I might have received more unwanted attention than male travelers . . . but I don't believe that gender plays any role in setting the records themselves.

Monte Negro. Photo / Supplied
Monte Negro. Photo / Supplied

What have you been up to since crossing the finish line in December 7? Any plans as to what's next?

Since December 7 it has been a lot of getting caught up on sleep, getting back to full health, and so much organising.

I'm really excited for the next chapter and am actively trying to figure out what, and where, it is going to be. I was able to finance my trip almost entirely by myself so it is definitely a goal of mine to start working to pay off my few remaining debts.

I think writing a book or working to bring something to television to help show everyone more about the world we live in might be a really cool next step, but I haven't started working on anything as of yet. I'm open to all possible opportunities!