Jessica Nabongo: Meet 1st black woman to visit every country in the world!

Travelers usually have the same aim — to see every bit of the world. And as it’s quite an arduous task, only a few have achieved the feat. Jessica Nabongo is one of the few to have been able to. What makes her success even sweeter, is that she is the first black woman to visit every single country on earth!


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A post shared by Jessica (🚫Jess) Nabongo 🇺🇬🇺🇸 (@thecatchmeifyoucan) on

The travel blogger has seen it all

On October 6, Ugandan traveler Jessica Nabongo, announced her 195/195 record, while visiting Seychelles. On her Instagram account @thecatchmeifyoucan, she shared this news with her 166,000 followers.

“Welcome to the Seychelles!! Country 195 of 195! So much to say but for now I will just say thank you to this entire community for all of your support. This was our journey and thanks to all of you who came along for the ride!!,” she wrote.

The 35-year-old’s journey started after realizing she had been to 60 countries in 2016. Jessica, who’s a United Nations employee, then decided to see the rest of the world. Unknowingly, she was going to set a new record three years later.

By April 2018, she had already done 105 of the sovereign nations — that’s when she publicly set her goal.

“I’m done, I’ve been to every country in the world.”


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A post shared by Jessica (🚫Jess) Nabongo 🇺🇬🇺🇸 (@thecatchmeifyoucan) on

How her journey began

Jessica, despite been born in the US, had always wanted more for people of ‘color’.

For the longest time she was living the American dream — “landing a six-figure job at a pharmaceutical company after college and buying her own place,” CNN wrote.

Later on, Nabongo shuffled through a couple of other jobs before finally joining the UN. But she always knew she wanted more — so she set out for it.

“I am trying to change the narrative about black people in the travel space”

Firstly, she founded a company called Jet Black, which organizes custom itineraries for small group trips in Africa, plus sells travel gear like branded T-shirts and passport covers.

Then she sought for funding through a “Kickstarter campaign and from select tourism boards for on-the-ground expenses and hotels that comped stays,” Outside Online reported.


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A post shared by Jessica (🚫Jess) Nabongo 🇺🇬🇺🇸 (@thecatchmeifyoucan) on

Jessica has a lot of experiences from her travels

Her hopes are to pave the way for other people of ‘color’, explaining that it’s not easy to “blend in” as one.

“Navigating the world as a woman can be very difficult. I’ve had a pretty wide range of experiences”


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A post shared by Jessica (🚫Jess) Nabongo 🇺🇬🇺🇸 (@thecatchmeifyoucan) on

“I’ve been accused of being a prostitute, had men chase me before. I’ve been assaulted on the street,” she narrated to CNN Travel in 2018.

In one incident, a driver/fixer Jessica Nabongo had trust for invited her to an “Easter orgy” just before he was due to pick her up to go to the airport.

“That is something a man will never have to deal with,” she explained.

And then there was the race factor she had to deal with. Jessica is undeniably black — she has dark skin and shaves her head.

‘A few times, she watched in frustration as she was forced to wait behind white tourists or forced to pay bribes in order to cross borders that should have been open to her,’ CNN wrote.


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A post shared by Jessica (🚫Jess) Nabongo 🇺🇬🇺🇸 (@thecatchmeifyoucan) on

Despite facing these challenges, the ‘walking passport’ as she calls herself, was resilient. As a solution, Jessica rather stayed in hotels over AirBnbs, where she can count on a 24-hour front desk to keep her feeling secure.

Also, she took friends along to share the experience when possible.

Another person is contesting for the ‘spott’

There has emerged a bit of controversy ever since Jessica Nabongo revealed her achievement.

Another globetrotter, Woni Spotts, says she became the first African-American woman to visit 195 countries and territories in September 2018.
Spotts says she can verify her travels via a video project, verification from guides and documentation including tickets and passport stamps and State Department records.

But until then, Jessica takes the cake 👏🙌

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