21-Year-Old Becomes Recordholder for the Youngest Person to Visit All Countries

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sovereign / ˈsɒv rɪn / (adj) – independent

    That is a sovereign country with its own government.

  2. impressive / ɪmˈprɛs ɪv / (adj) – worthy of praise

    Her talent for dancing is really impressive!

  3. tick (something) off / tɪk ɒf / (phrasal) – to finish or complete items on a list

    I can finally tick skydiving off my bucket list!

  4. make ends meet / meɪk ɛndz mit / (idiom) – to earn enough money to survive

    When we were younger, my father had to work two jobs to make ends meet.

  5. underway / ˈʌn dərˈweɪ / (adv) – in progress

    Plans are underway to build a new mall in the city.


Read the text below.

Lexie Alford, a 21-year-old from the United States, has been trying to claim the record for the youngest person to visit every country in the world.

On May 31, Alford concluded her journey to 196 sovereign countries around the globe. In doing so, she beat Taylor Demonbreun, who currently holds the Guinness World Record for achieving the same feat at age 24. The Guinness World Records lists the most impressive human achievements.

To make the record official, Alford sent 10,000 pieces of proof of her travels to the management of the Guinness World Records. Her application is currently being reviewed and may take time to be verified.

Alford started traveling at a young age. Her parents own a travel agency, giving her the opportunity to tick some countries off her list early on. At 12 years old, she started saving up to fund her own travels. She began to travel full-time after earning an associate’s degree in college. By that time, she had already visited 72 countries.

To make ends meet while traveling, Alford spent a lot of time researching the best flight deals and booking the most affordable accommodations. She also got involved in a few brand deals and campaigns and did some photography and blogging on the side.

Now that she has finished her journey, Alford plans to take a break from traveling for her physical and mental health. However, she has plans underway, including writing a book about her adventures.

In an interview, Alford advised young travelers like herself to save up as much money as they can and to make sacrifices to be able to see the world.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you had the opportunity to travel the world like Alford, what sacrifices would you be willing to make? Explain.
• If you were part of the Guinness World Records management, what other requirements would you ask from aspiring recordholders? Discuss.

Discussion B

• How do you know if a goal is worth pursuing? Explain.
• What impressive human achievement would you like to pursue? Why?