79yo Woman Fulfills Her Dream of Travelling to 193 UN Countries Around the World

Everybody dreams of traveling around the world and visiting new places. Most people admit that it has been their dream since their childhood days. Contrary to what naysayers believe, you are never too young or too old to travel the world. All you need is the determination to fulfill your goal.

And that is exactly what a 79-year-old Filipino woman just accomplished. For the last 50 years, she traveled to 193 UN countries. Last year, she made her final tour to complete her mission. Her last stop? Serbia.

Business Insider reported that 79-year-old Luisa Yu, a Filipino living in Miami, Florida, completed her tour by visiting Serbia in November 2023. It took Luisa 50 years to complete her journey. According to her, she was influenced by movies she watched when she was a child. She would see beautiful scenery in films she watched and wondered what they would look like when she visited the place in person. She was a child full of dreams to travel around the world. And so, it began…

While Luisa was a student in the Philippines, she was fortunate enough to be chosen as an exchange student in the United States and finished her studies in St. Louis. She then settled in Miami, Florida, and worked as a Nurse. She kept her goal in mind even while she was still employed and started backpacking at the age of 20. In 3 years, she had visited 45 states in the U.S. With full of determination, she left the United States and started traveling to neighboring countries.

Although traveling around the world seemed wonderful, it was quite difficult to fulfill. Luisa revealed the difficulty she faced behind her 50-year dream. She had to work 2 or 3 jobs to fulfill her traveling goals. She worked in a hospital as a nurse and a part-time travel agent. Additionally, she was a single mother and had to take care of her daughter. If she was going to travel to another country, she had to arrange for someone to look after her daughter. Earning some commission from her stint as a travel agent, she founded a travel agency in the 1970s. When the Gulf War began in 1990, she sold her travel agency and invested in several properties in Miami. It paid off. She did not give up her dream to travel again someday, so she persevered. She had saved more funds to travel outside the United States.

No matter how busy and exhausted she was, Luisa always found time to travel. In between breaks from her part-time job, she visited countries that were difficult for tourists to go to, such as Iran. Luisa said: “I worked hard and saved money, and I thought I would someday quit my job and do what I enjoy so much. I learned so much being alone and being independent.” However, it took longer than usual for Luisa to fulfill her travel goals.

Luisa Yu spent 50 years exploring countries from the far-flung corners of the world, visiting countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and experiencing various cultures. She has camped with the Mundari tribe in South Sudan and lounged at the white-sand beaches of the South Pacific Island of Kiribati. At age 77, she experienced skydiving in Dubai! Although her goal to visit all 193 UN Member states took time, she said it was well worth it! During her trip, people suggested her last stop to be in Serbia, so she decided to take their advice. “When I walked out of the airport, there were already people there cheering for me,” Luisa proudly said.

Luisa shared that her favorite countries are The Philippines, Italy, and Thailand. When asked what advice she could share with those who dream of traveling around the world as she did, she only gave 1 simple but powerful tip: “Don’t be afraid. Be determined and brave. Let’s go!”

Images credits: © Luisa Yu @luisa_yu14/Instagram

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About the Author: Ria P. Jacinto

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