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Ticking them all off.

Meet Rachel Davey, a Gippslandian who, alongside partner Martina Sebova, has journeyed through every country on the globe - a stunning world record in wanderlust!

Feb 23, 2023

Words: Gippslandia

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Hailing from Traralgon, Rachel Davey has become the first Australian woman to visit every country in the world. It’s cool that Rach’s partner, Martina Sebova, also became the first Slovakian woman to achieve the feat. All 195 countries ticked off!

Returning from Samoa last week, Rach was kind enough to chat with Gippslandia on achieving a tremendous feat – something only about 200–300 people have completed, with only about 10 per cent of those being women.

Gippslandia: How does it feel to be home with your goal accomplished?

Rachel Davey: Quite surreal. I've been on this journey for so many years now that exploring a different country, culture and cuisine each week or month is something that started to feel so familiar. Honestly, it’s taking some time for the feeling of accomplishment to settle in.

When did you and Martina decide, 'Yes, let's go visit all 195 countries!'?

Back in 2016. We’d tried to ‘settle down’ in Melbourne after completing some amazing independent travels throughout Central Asia and Iran in late 2014. We had also reached a major travel mile-stone of visiting 100 countries each on that trip.

While enjoying an espresso, the topic of how many countries there are in the world came up, and the question about whether anyone had actually been to all of them. Researching, we found that fewer than 200 people had done so and we struggled to find many females on the list. We wanted to change this – we wanted to diversify the list.

We decided then and there to give it a go. Then came a few years of saving as much money as possible and adding it to our life savings, which wasn't a huge amount of cash, but it was enough. We sold everything we owned, planned the journey and left in April 2018 with just a carry-on backpack loaded with the essentials and the determination to reach our goal.

Photography by Very Hungry Nomads
Photography by Very Hungry Nomads

Do you have an estimate as to how long you were in each country? Was there a particularly brutal section of your schedule?

When we set off, we had 88 coun-tries left to visit. We planned on the trip taking two years or so, which meant around five to seven days in each country. We knew that some of the smaller nations and islands wouldn’t need as much time, so we could then spend more time in some of the larger, and perhaps more affordable, countries too.

To give you an idea of our move-ments, we spent two to three days in Madagascar, Argentina, Morocco and Ethiopia. The micro-nations such as Vatican City, San Marino and Liechtenstein are where we'd spend the shortest amount of time.

Furthermore, we also had to consider spending limited time in unstable countries too.

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What advice do you have for people who are heading over-seas for the first time?

Do some research before you arrive so you know what to expect. Learn about the customs and traditions (‘the do's and don'ts’), and get familiar with the currency. The app is useful to download on your phone. Download an eSIM for the country you're visiting so you can get connected the moment you land, and learn a little about the cuisine and perhaps a few words of the local language. It helps to enhance your experience in a new country.

What experience from this incredible adventure has had the biggest impact on you?

This experience has taught me that the people with the least are willing to give the most. And truthfully, people have the same hopes and aspirations, no matter what country they're born in. We all wish to be happy, to provide shelter and food for our families, and we all want to love and be loved. Finally, the world is far safer than most of us believe.

Photography by Very Hungry Nomads
Photography by Very Hungry Nomads

Travelling could be the best way to see if you and a partner are really compatible. How have these travels impacted your relationship?

Agree with you. Spending so much time with another person will eventually reveal their true colours. Your travel partner will undoubtedly see how you handle some of the most challenging situations, such as extreme tiredness, stress, frustration, hunger and sickness. If they're still happy to spend 24/7 with you after this, you're in luck.

We've been travelling the world together for over 10 years now, so we know each other's habits, likes, dislikes and limitations. Good communication is essential.

After visiting every country on the planet, where's your next trip to?

Somewhere nearby. Possibly Bali, Thailand or Vietnam. I'm craving a foodie adventure in a warm, affordable country.

You can get lost in wanderlust scrolling through Rach and Marty’s Instagram
(@veryhungrynomads), and the travel resources page on their website – – is a great place to check out before your next (first) trip.

Gippslandia - Issue No. 25

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