The Catch Me If You Can: Jessica Nabongo is the First Black Woman to Visit All Countries in the World

It is a first from Ugandan Jessica Nabongo who resides in Detroit, State of Michigan. She is the first documented black woman to visit all the 195 countries in the world. Nabongo had worked in the pharmaceutical industry and as an English teacher in Japan. She also worked with the United Nations where she lived in Benin and Italy. This was after living in London for her studies at the London School of Economics.

It is in February 2017 that Jessica felt the urge to visit all the countries in the world. She had already visited about 60 countries then. After doing some research, she realized she would be the first black woman to make such an achievement. At first, she told no one about her plan fearing that someone else would beat her to it. She made it public in March 2018.

On the 6th of October 2019, she finalized her quest. She visited the 195th country, Seychelles, an island in the Indian Ocean in East Africa. This date is not just an ordinary one to her, it is her late father’s birthday. She said the journey was in his honor.

“Had he not gotten a scholarship to Western Michigan, none of this would be happening.”

Jessica now joins the 150 people who have reportedly been to all the countries in the world, a larger number of them being white Europeans.

Nabongo keeps her over 164K Instagram followers posted through her Instagram feed, @thecatchmeifyoucan. She also has a blog which she started writing in 2009 to update her family and friends. During her visit to Seychelles, friends, and family joined her to celebrate her accomplishments. She shared the news in an Instagram post thanking the people who supported her.

“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!!”

“Thanks to the 54 people who are here celebrating with me in the Seychelles with the gorgeous backdrop of the @thehresortseychelles with the planning expertise of @vividvibeseventplanning! Last night was unreal and I’m so grateful. My heart is full!!!”

Jessica has both an American and a Ugandan passport. She tells her Ugandan passport came in handy when she wanted to access countries that are not amenable to American tourists.

Of course, there are countries where she enjoyed her stay more. She said she loved it in Ghana and Senegal since they don’t give more privileges to white people over Africans. Nabongo also loved her stay in Pakistan for the “kindness and respect that Pakistani men have exhibited”. She vowed never to return to Moldova or go on a solo trip to India.

The Ugandan revealed that she experienced racism even in Africa. In South Africa, for example, she was discriminated against by not only white South Africans but also black South Africans.

Finally, her answer to the question: “which is the safest country for black women to travel?”

“If you can survive moving around the United States of America, I assure you, you can survive nearly any other place on Earth.”

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