In November 2022, a lesbian couple completed their goal of visiting every country in the world.
Marty and Rach, also known as the Very Hungry Nomads, were already avid travellers when they met in 2008. At the time, they were both working for a European travel company for 6 months out of the year, and traveling during the other half.
In 2018, After dating for about ten years and traveling to over 100 countries, they set out with an ambitious goal: to visit the remaining 88 countries within the next two years.
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When doing their research, the couple realised that most people who set out to travel the world are men. They wanted to inspire other women and LGBTQ+ people to feel comfortable travelling even in places that are deemed unsafe.
There are currently 71 countries where same-sex relationships are criminalised, including 11 where it is punishable by death. And even in places that do not explicitly criminalise women, lesbians and bisexual women have been subjected to arrest or threat of arrest.
To protect their safety when visiting these places, the pair decided not to reveal that they were a lesbian couple, and instead identified themselves as best friends when sharing photos together in every country.
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They encountered a few challenges when applying for visas. Sometimes because they held different passports (Rach is Australian while Marty is Slovakian), and other times just because they were unmarried women traveling without a man in male-dominated countries.
Marty explained, “There are cultural differences with just being a woman and traveling without a man. We were denied a couple of visas just based on that.”
While they initially set out to complete their goal within two years, with an end date of 2020, pandemic lockdowns required them to pause their plans. With only 10 countries left on their list, they decided to live out of a camper van in Australia for 18 months until it was safe to travel again.
The last destination on their list was Samoa: a tiny island located between Hawaii and New Zealand. After reaching this milestone in November 2022, the two revealed publicly that they are, in fact, a couple.
After completing their goal, Marty and Rach have decided that they have no plans to settle down. While most of their friends have mortgages, they hope to continue living their nomadic lifestyle for as long as possible.
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