Visiting every country in the world is no small achievement. Many people live their whole life without achieving this feat, but this was not the case with Woni Spotts. Woni is a living breathing proof of an African-American woman who traveled to every country in the space of 40 years.
Spotts is also the founder of an e-commerce business and has been a lifelong traveler. Her father, Roger Hamilton Spotts, was a composer and musician, while her mother, Betty Spotts, was a singer, songwriter, and a pianist. She became accustomed to the travel lifestyle which was the starting point of her journey worthy of acknowledgment.
Early Life of Woni Spotts
Woni Spotts, the daughter of two artists, traveled a great deal. She began her travels as a young girl to South America, Caribbean and Asia. However, as a teenager, she was assigned a documentary by Nolan Davis. The documentary was based on different materials that are found around the world. So, as a 15-year old, she found the opportunity to travel to various countries around the world.
Nolan Davis was a close friend of her father, which was the reason for her inclusion in the documentary. Moreover, her high school provided her with the flexibility which helped extensively in her travels. In an interview, Woni claims that initially, her mother was worried about her, but the belief her father had was a driving force for her.
In her initial world tour, she was lucky enough to travel to over 160 countries. Accompanied by the documentary crew and staff, Woni’s interest in travel deepened. However, the documentary ended prematurely when Nolan fell ill and passed away. This sudden mishap postponed her long tour and she returned to normal life.
In the interview with Packs Light, she said that her father was pressuring her to pursue college, but she wanted to learn from traveling. Unfortunately, all of her fellow travelers had become weary and she had to return to school.
Woni Spotts during her Non-Traveling Days
There was a long gap between her travels as a teenager and reaching the milestone of traveling in every country of the world. During the hiatus, she started her own e-commerce business. However, she kept searching for likeminded people who could accompany her on her adventures. After waiting for many years, she realized that she was getting old and she wanted to complete what had begun all those years ago.
Resuming Her Journey
Due to her successful e-commerce business, she had the finances to travel to the remaining countries. In 2014, she made up her mind and resumed her journey. In an interview, she said that she was watching documentaries about Egyptian pyramids and decided it was time to visit the remains destinations.
Apart from Egypt, she traveled to Greece, Spain, the UK, and many other countries. She became associated with many tour organizers and found local travel guides in underdeveloped countries. She also visited four regions of Antarctica during her journey and had the pleasure to experience cultures and places she could not appreciate as a teenager. Between 2014 and 2018, she visited 35 countries, taking her tally to 7 continents, 197 countries and many territories.
In September 2018, she achieved her milestone of traveling to all the countries of the world. She further received formal acknowledgement when she was awarded a certificate from Travelers Century Club. The certificate is awarded to only those travelers who have travelled to at least one hundred countries of the world.
When asked about the inspiration behind traveling to every country, she said there was no major inspiration in the beginning. At first, her reason for traveling was only the documentary. However, she later realized that after visiting so many countries she must see the remaining ones as well.
What’s Special about Woni Spotts’ Feat?
People can find passion in anything, even traveling. However, for Woni, traveling was more than passion – it was her way of life. Upon asking about the sacrifices she made to keep on traveling, she said that materialistic things never made her happy. She also claims that traveling cannot be taken away, unlike other things in life.
Most travelers are doubtful about visiting places that are reported to be unsafe, but Woni was bold enough to travel there. She visited places like Yemen and Syria which were affected by continuous turmoil, especially in the 80s.
Her visits also took her to North Korea where she was briefed on the rules and restrictions she had to follow during her time there. In an interview, she said that “Filming was limited after they initially granted permission. I could not explore or relax”.
Her Plans for the Future
When asked about whether she would like to revisit a few places, Woni said that she wants to visit places like Lapland to see the Northern Lights during the winter season. She added that there are countries that developed extensively in the last 40 years and she wanted to revisit those places.
From being an intrepid traveler all her life, Woni Spotts has been an active ambassador of earth. Presently, she spends her life by helping vulnerable people all around the globe. Woni does not want people to think of her as a celebrity, but encourages them to explore the world. In doing so, she suggests them to be mindful of the planet.
She is also in the middle of writing her book in which she will discuss her travel experiences. The book will also discuss how people from African roots are making an impact throughout the world. By highlighting its importance, Woni wishes the African countries to be appreciated on a global level.