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Spotlights

Meet Melissa Roy The First South Asian Woman to Visit Every Country in the World

Naina Grewal Darpan, 26 Mar, 2024 01:09 PM
  • Meet Melissa Roy The First South Asian Woman to Visit Every Country in the World

Embarking on a journey to visit every country in the world is a dream for many, but for Melissa Roy, it became a reality. As the first South Asian woman to accomplish this feat by visiting all 193 countries by the age of 34, Roy's story is one of determination, passion, and a deep-rooted desire to explore the unknown.

Growing up in a small Midwestern town, Roy's childhood was marked by challenges, including domestic turmoil and financial constraints. Despite these obstacles, she harboured an insatiable curiosity about the world beyond her immediate surroundings. This curiosity laid the foundation for her future adventures.

Roy's love for travel was ignited during her college years when she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Subsequent experiences, such as participating in Semester at Sea and working various jobs to finance her travels, only fueled her wanderlust further.

By the time Roy reached her late twenties, she had already visited 66 countries. Inspired by her own journey and driven by a desire to inspire others, she set a bold goal: to visit 100 countries and all seven continents before her 30th birthday. With unwavering determination, she achieved this milestone, celebrating her thirtieth birthday in Antarctica, surrounded by majestic icebergs and curious penguins.

Roy's preferred mode of travel was always unconventional yet enriching - she opted to stay with local hosts through platforms like Couchsurfing, immersing herself in the culture and traditions of each destination. This choice allowed her to forge meaningful connections with locals, offering insights and experiences that go beyond typical tourist attractions.

Financing her travels entirely from her own pocket, Roy took on various jobs, including acting gigs and investments, to fund her adventures. Her commitment to self-sufficiency sets her apart in an age dominated by sponsored influencers and branded content.

In December 2019, Roy achieved her ultimate goal by visiting her 193rd country. For Roy, Bangladesh held special significance as the birthplace of her late father and grandparents, completing a symbolic journey back to her roots.

Looking ahead, Roy's aspirations extend beyond her travel as she aims to leverage her experiences to inspire others. She shares, “I hope to pass the torch onto my beloved son, Royson and someday, his children, so they too realize that the best education is found not in textbooks, but outside the four walls of the classroom. Travel is the best investment you can make in yourself.”

In Melissa Roy's remarkable journey, we find not only a testament to the power of determination and resilience but also an inspiring narrative of breaking barriers, embracing diversity, and discovering the beauty of our shared humanity.

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