After many years of touring, each individually and collectively, Rachel Davey and Martina Sebova had every visited over 100 of the 195 UN-recognized international locations and territories on the globe.
The pair, who met throughout an overland tour of Europe again in 2008, have been having espresso collectively in Melbourne, Australia, after they first mentioned the prospect of visiting the 88 or so remaining international locations on their lists.
They rapidly determined to spend the following two years doing simply that collectively.
Whereas the considered touring to so many new locations in a comparatively brief area of time was considerably daunting, Sebova notes that having over half of the international locations on this planet already ticked off made issues lots simpler.
“I feel it could terrify me if I needed to begin visiting each nation and I’d been to love 10,” the journey blogger tells CNN Journey. “I don’t actually suppose that that’s even viable. It’s good to be properly traveled [before doing something like this].”
The excited pair then started planning for his or her massive journey, saving as a lot cash as they may so as to fund the journey, with the purpose of spending round 5 to seven days in every nation.
Earlier than setting off in 2018, Davey and Sebova, who had been collectively for round a decade by this level, determined that they’d not reveal that they have been a pair, and easily journey as buddies.
“It was very pure,” says Sebova, explaining that they have been making use of for visas in some conservative international locations didn’t need to danger being denied entry.
“We have been visiting plenty of international locations the place even the idea of a same-sex couple doesn’t exist,” she provides. “And we didn’t actually need to put our private security in danger at any stage.”
In response to the Worldwide Lesbian, Homosexual, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Affiliation (ILGA,) there are round 70 international locations on this planet the place same-sex relations are criminalized.
Davey and Sebova say that appearing as if they have been merely greatest buddies “wasn’t actually a lot of a change” and folks typically assumed that they have been sisters.
“It was by no means a giant subject,” provides Davey. “We by no means tried to cowl it. We simply didn’t [tell anyone].”
The pair, who doc their travels on their web site, Very Hungry Nomads, tried to go to the remaining international locations in geographical order the place doable and opted to journey overland as a lot as they may.
The primary new nation they visited was North Korea and the pair went on to journey to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bhutan and Pakistan.
In 2019, they spent six months touring throughout Central Africa and say that the grueling bus journeys took a toll on them after some time.
“We did like 38 hours on buses, generally simply altering automobiles, making an attempt to get from A to B,” explains Sebova.
The pair say that a few of their greatest experiences have been in locations that they have been extra cautious of previous to visiting.
“The individuals in Sudan and Iran have been among the friendliest those who now we have encountered,” provides Sebova. “And most of the people would assume these international locations are actually harmful primarily based on the picture [we see].”
Eritrea, a small nation primarily based in East Africa, and the Caribbean island of Dominica have been among the many different stand out international locations they visited.
In response to Sebova, the truth that they have been girls of their late 30s who weren’t married with kids proved to be considerably controversial in among the international locations they visited.
“There are cultural variations with simply being a girl and touring with out a man,” she explains. “We have been denied a few visas simply primarily based on that.”
Though lots of their buddies had chosen to place their financial savings into mortgages and/or companies over time, Davey and Sebova, who describe themselves as nomads, say they’re “completely satisfied to spend it on journey and fear about that later.”
Davey holds an Australian passport, whereas Sebova has a Slovakian passport, which sometimes brought about points when it got here to making use of for visas.
“Generally it was like, ‘you will get one right here, [but I can’t] which threw a spanner in there,” explains Davey. “However it labored out.”
After years of touring collectively, the pair are properly conscious of their strengths and weaknesses, and every take accountability for various duties throughout the journey.
They clarify that Sebova is extra naturally organized and focuses on ensuring their day runs as easily as doable, whereas Davey is “extra flippant,” and fewer expert in relation to navigation.
“Rach will get misplaced within the resort,” jokes Sebova, who additionally works as a tour information. “I at all times say it’s a miracle that she made it by each nation. We make a fantastic staff.”
That they had been on the highway for round two years, and have been simply 10 international locations away from attaining their objective when the pandemic hit.
The pair, who have been in London on the time, selected to fly to Australia, and have been inevitably compelled to place the rest of the journey on maintain because of the border restrictions in place on the time.
Nonetheless, they continued to journey, opting to purchase a camper van and drive across the nation collectively “with the borders of Australia closing behind us.”
“We ended up doing the massive lap of Australia in 18 months and spent plenty of time in Queensland and Western Australia, which was superb, as a result of we couldn’t depart the nation,” says Davey. “We lived in our camper van and it was heaps of enjoyable.”
When journey restrictions have been lifted for Australians in 2022, they have been compelled to attend till the borders reopened within the remaining locations on the checklist, which included among the Pacific Islands.
This proved to be notably irritating, notably as lots of their friends have been touring extensively now that the world had reopened, whereas they have been patiently ready for a couple of international locations to elevate restrictions.
“We began this journey pondering that we might end this large quest in our 30s,” explains Sebova.
“Then we tipped into our 40s throughout the pandemic and we have been sitting in a van, not proudly owning something, nonetheless ready.”
They have been in a position to journey to the North African nation of Libya the place border restrictions had additionally lifted, however needed to wait for much longer for his or her ultimate locations, Kiribati and Samoa, each positioned within the Pacific Islands, to reopen.
Kiribati lastly lifted restrictions for worldwide vacationers in August 2022, and the pair flew in a couple of weeks later.
They reached Samoa, the ultimate nation on their checklist, on November 19, 2022 and say it took some time for it to sink in that they’d lastly achieved their objective.
“It [Samoa] was simply the right vacation spot to complete,” says Sebova. “I had this second after I was standing in entrance of a map of the world and pondering oh my god, now we have been to each nation on this map.”
The pair celebrated the large milestone with a pal, who’d flown out to the tiny island nation, located midway between Hawaii and New Zealand, to fulfill them.
After they returned to Australia in late 2022 having visited each nation on this planet, they started receiving better media curiosity and folks beginning to ask questions on their relationship.
“They checked out our feed and naturally noticed a pair, one thing that different individuals simply don’t see,” provides Sebova, explaining that they have been completely satisfied to substantiate that they have been in a relationship as soon as they’d reached their goal.
“We had followers on social media who have been like, ‘oh my god, I at all times thought that you just have been a pair, however you by no means stated something.’”
Davey and Sebova stress that, apart from the difficulty of security, they wished to maintain the dialogue round their journey targeted on the truth that they have been two girls taking up such a large problem, noting that they after they initially seemed into the few hundred vacationers who’d been to each nation on this planet, the checklist was comparatively male-dominated.
“You see so few girls on this a part of journey, which is extra adventurous,” provides Sebova. “So we have been making an attempt to vary that, in addition to encourage different girls by displaying that it [the world] is just not such a scary place.”
Now that they’ve lastly achieved their objective, Davey and Sebova say they don’t have any plans to cool down and can proceed to stay a nomadic life-style for so long as doable.
They’re presently planning a visit to Thailand and hope to go to Indonesia later within the yr.
“We’ve at all times lived within the second,” says Davey. “That [being on the move] makes us each completely satisfied now. In order that’s what we’ll do. I don’t plan too far forward. We by no means have.”