23-year-old Taylor Demonbreun recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with degrees in economics and public policy. After studying abroad for one of those semesters, Demonbreun realized that becoming an investment banker wasn’t her life goal any more. As a result, she spent her last semester at school planning an epic world tour which would start right after graduation. She said planning the whole trip, “was like a full-time job.”
On June 1 of last year, she set out to fulfill her dreams of traveling around the world and breaking the Guinness World Records to become the fastest and youngest person to visit every country in the world. In the nine months since her journey began in the Dominican Republic, Demonbreun has visited over 100 different countries.
“I’m sure looking back on how I planned in the beginning would make me cringe,” Demonbreun said. “I’ve learned so much about traveling since then: how to plan and my own personal limits, like how much I can travel at a time.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to keep an experience like this to yourself, which is why she blogs about her travels on her website, Trek With Taylor, as well as regularly updating her followers on Twitter and Instagram.
Demonbreun suffered from severe social anxiety when she was young and shares that her travels have helped her to overcome it. She highly encourages people who refuse to take solo trips because of the same fears to just take a leap of faith and, “trust that people are generally kind.”
Demonbreun talked about the time she went to Afghanistan as a prime example of this. “I was so worried before going there, about safety issues and the language barrier,” she said. “I had painted it as this very scary place but I went and everything went perfectly.”
To make sure all is fair, Demonbreun has a specific set of rules she must adhere to in order to prove she’s visited each country. Her goal is to complete her world travels by September. However, she could spread it out until December and still break both world records.