Travel tips from two women who have ticked off every country in the world

It’s been four years since Rachel Davey and Martina Sebova set out to travel the world.

Now, 1,685 days later, they have achieved that goal.

The Australian-Slovak couple believe they are the first women of their nationality to do so – thousands are following their journey on social media.

The “Very Hungry Nomads” have officially visited 195 countries, 193 of them recognized by the United Nations.

The couple sold everything they owned and had saved for the trip for years.

“By 2016, we both had already traveled to 200 countries, we worked in travel, loved travel, it was our passion,” said Ms. Sebova.

“We returned to Melbourne after a trip and were wondering if there was anyone who had traveled to all countries so we looked it up.

“They were all men, we struggled to find women on the list.

“We have decided to embark on this journey. That meant we had to travel to 88 more countries.”

They visited countries like North Korea, indulged in sweets in Iran and even visited holy sites in Afghanistan before the Taliban took over.

The couple set a budget of $50 (US$73) a day each — which had to cover everything — including flights, lodging, visas, transportation, food and sightseeing.

In order to make this possible, her motto was “simply live”.

Rachel and Martina have traveled to 195 countries.(delivered )

“Food brings people together”

Sharing the local cuisine has been a huge motivation in their travels.

“That’s why we’re known as ‘very hungry nomads,'” Ms. Sebova said.

“Food became a real focus, it’s something that connects everyone around the world.”

They were often invited to eat with the locals and got to know different cuisines.

A lady eating a clam noodle with a smile and a hat
Rachel eats a pasta in Burano, Italy.(delivered )

“One of the most memorable experiences was when we were walking in Tajikistan and saw a group of women working in a field,” Ms Davey said.

“They stopped for lunch and invited us to their place. They had pots of rice, stewed meat, and fruit from their trees.

“We conversed in broken English, snippets of German and broken Russian.”

But this would be one of many experiences where the pair were invited to dine with locals.

A blonde woman in a white shirt is sitting at a table with a tray of Ethiopian food in front of her
Rachel Davey enjoyed a lot of Ethiopian food during her trip.(delivered)

“Another would be in Afghanistan, we were invited to a local home with Afghan women,” Ms Davey said.

“It’s something only we women can experience.

“If you were a man, you wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity.

“Ethiopia is a truly great country for food…phenomenal food.”

The couple shared a hot tip for getting an authentic dining experience while traveling.

“We always try to visit the local markets or the night markets, you can find great food there,” Ms Davey said.

“Best Friends or Sisters”

The pair set out in search of diamonds in the rough wherever they were, but it wasn’t without challenges.

They made the decision not to disclose their relationships to many and to let others assume they were best friends or sisters.

“If you were an outsider looking in, we just looked like best friends and that’s how we introduced ourselves,” Ms Davey said.

“It was the easiest and safest thing to move through the world.”

Two travelers sit in front of the Syrian flag mural
Rachel and Martina traveled to Syria as part of their adventures.(delivered)

Africa a challenging journey

Logistics was a difficult part of their adventures.

“The journey through West Africa and Central Africa was the most difficult part of the trip,” Ms. Sebova said.

It was a combination of factors that made these particular destinations difficult.

“We had to arrange visas, some of which were quite difficult to obtain and for some we even had to return to Australia,” Ms Sebova said.

“Many days were spent getting from A to B and planning the next step.

“In some places the infrastructure wasn’t there, so a simple hotel could cost as much as in Sydney.”

Ms Davey said navigating the Pacific islands also caused problems.

“We’ve been stranded in the Pacific twice,” Ms Davey said.

“The Pacific islands are very spread out and it’s very, very expensive to get back and forth between them.

“Logistically, planning these flights is challenging, there is only one flight per week and a connection needs to be established.”

favorite destinations

A common question for the couple is what their favorite destinations are.

Ms Davey said it was difficult to pin down, with many items on the list.

Rachel and Martina visit Antarctica
Rachel and Martina visited Antarctica.(ABC: Delivered)

“Destinations like Thailand, Mexico, Italy… we love those destinations, it’s always a blast,” she said.

“There were other destinations in Africa that we really loved, especially Madagascar.

“We enjoyed Ethiopia and Eretria in the Horn of Africa.”

Inspire other women

The couple wanted to add more women to the list of those who have traveled all over the world.

“We embarked on this journey to inspire other women and add more women to the list,” Ms. Sebova said.

“Our message is more general, to encourage women to travel and not be afraid.

Martina and Rachel take a selfie in front of monkeys in Ethiopia
Martina and Rachel spent time spotting wildlife in Ethiopia.(delivered)

“Probably one of our most common questions from solo female travelers is whether certain countries are safe to visit.

“Women are free to travel in various forms or guises, but they should not be held back by the fact that they are women.”

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