Sunday, May 16, 2021 | Shawwal 3, 1442 H
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On ‘mission world’, just short of 35 countries


Jessica Nabongo is just short of 35 countries to become the first black woman to visit every country in the world. She landed in Salalah early on Monday morning and likely to touch Yemen on Tuesday.

A country’s heritage and culture excites her the most. Oman thus has much to offer and by starting her Oman journey from Salalah she probably has done the right thing. By being in the ‘Jewel of the Gulf’ she can get the real feel of Arabia, which makes the whole world curious for its interesting way of life and unique cultural identity it still maintains.

Staying put in Crowne Plaza Salalah Resort, Nabongo, however, is quick to add that this is her first visit to Salalah and not first to Oman. “Oman is 33rd country in my list where I visited way back in 2012. That was my first visit to any Middle Eastern country and that was a perception changer for me…”.

“Then I visited Muscat and places around it. I liked Oman for a country strongly rooted to its culture and maintaining good pace with development. Most importantly, I loved its diversity — beauty in small package you can say.”

Starting her quest for countries as early as when she was only four-year-old, Nabongo admits “travel has always been a part of my life.” Her list of countries is testimony to that — 160 countries and in the next six weeks, she is going to add another 10, as she has set a goal to complete her journey of every country in the world on October 6 as a mark of respect to her father, who was born on that day. Originally from Uganda, Nabongo, 34, holds a US passport. She covered Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and London before she was 18. Hardly she had an idea then that she was going to have a passion that would take her to so many countries and a dream of “becoming the first black woman to visit every country in the world.”

It was in 2017 when she decided to turn her passion of travelling into self-proclaimed project of travelling all the 195 countries in the world due to the fact that she had covered some 60 countries by then.

It is interesting to know about the size of her passport due to so many visas and entry /exit stamped on it. “I would have used some 400 passport pages, as only 20 per cent of the time I would have spent in my own country and 80 per cent of the time I have been travelling during the last 10 years.”

Besides her passion to travel she does have a purpose behind travelling the world and that is for the perception of humanity. “I want to tell the world that people should not clash over what one part of the world is wearing or eating. This diversity makes the world more interesting place to live.”

She praised the “great hospitality” she is getting in Salalah’s Crowne Plaza, which is still preserving true heritage and culture elements along with fast pace modern facilities. “It is nice to see this combination at a time when the whole world is in the race of development without knowing the real meaning of development,” she said.

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