In her article “Is The Media Spreading Fake News?” on Huffington Post, Janice S. Lintz chastises Cassie De Pecol for having said “I'm the first woman to travel to every country in the world.” Cassie then changed it to “First woman on record...” or “First documented woman...” Which is true if you ask me but obviously this does not satify Ms Lintz.
She writes, “Dorothy Pines appears to have been the first woman to have visited 192 countries,” giving a link to Pine's obituary. (By the way, it's Pine and not Pines.) Ms. Lintz criticizes the media and finds it "shocking" that they did not do any research. But research is more than giving links to obituaries as proof of someone having been to every country; research is finding a reliable source to back up the claims written there. In fact Ms. Lintz says, correctly, that Mrs. Pine "appears to have been." So that's the gist, that's where the source of the argument lies. Ms. Lintz again all correctly writes “Audrey Walsworth claims to have visited...” “Marian Speno claims to have visited...” “Nina Sedano, says she also completed the 196 countries by 2011, was ‘verified’ by TBT.” Emphasis are mine. And please note the word “verified” in quotation marks.
Honor system is fine. But it always carries a question mark. I believe everything people say unless there is good evidence or proof against the contrary or any reason for me to doubt it. So I take it all those women Ms. Lintz lists to have been to every country. On the other hand, I have to give it to Cassie that her claim of being the first woman on record is correct; it's a totally valid claim.
Ms. Lintz says “Cassie claims she is the only documented (or “on record”) woman, yet Guinness did not document her for first but for fastest.” Of course! Guinness does not record “firsts” as their criteria is for a record to be able to be broken. And you obviously cannot break a “first”! Still... As there is no other woman who can come up with a verification, Cassie's claim is still valid.
Ms. Lintz says “Audrey and Nina both contacted Cassie on this matter and have not received response.” But if they wanted to have the privilege of being the “first woman on record” Cassie was not the one they should have contacted. I don't know about Mrs. Walsworth but Miss Sedano could and should have contacted TBT to “verify” her claim publicly. If and then, that would make her the first woman on record. But until then, unless there is any other verified record, Cassie's claim to be the first on record still holds as I suppose everybody accepts Guinness's verification. Their “rules” and criteria are open too. You can argue about Cassie not having travelled everywhere because she did airport-rounds but you cannot argue about her being "the first documented."
Ms. Lintz again correctly states “Women traveling decades ago did not have the luxury of geo-tagged selfies of their travels but that doesn’t mean they didn’t travel to those countries and can’t use traditional documentation methods including but not limited to passport stamps, photographs, airline tickets and affidavits from people who traveled with them.” The only thing is... She seems to overlook the fact that none of these other women went through the length to document their travels, not even in traditional ways. If they had done so, I suppose we would have known and Ms. Lintz would have let us know with an “in-your-face” document instead of just arguing about how Cassie is a fake and a liar feeding off of false claims.
As Ms. Lintz again very correctly states “There may be other women who have traveled everywhere but haven’t advertised or made it widely known.” Sure, there may be other women who travelled to every country that we don't know of. Those people, apart from not having the opportunity to get GPS photos, were perhaps not interested in proof to the world for their ego-boost. That's probably why they did not bother to get it. They did not live in our times, they did not care about being the first. They were not bitten by the ego-bug we seem to be suffering from these days, trying to prove ourselves with number of followers and media attention we get. The people of decades ago did things just for themselves, for the sake of it, for knowledge-and-soul enrichment, not for the image-and-wallet enrichment. I have much more respect for those people.
Ms. Lintz says “Unlike Cassie, the women who preceded her didn’t race around the world viewing travel as ‘Pokémon Go.’”
But interestingly, she is fine with Jessica aiming to do the ‘Pokémon Go’ to 90+ countries in 13 months. Now... that is so very unjust.
I criticize Cassie too on many things, especially the flashy media campaign, but Ms. Lintz seems to criticize Cassie just for the sake of criticizing. She says “The countries Cassie counted as part of her Expedition 196 also appear to have changed midstream. She expanded the 193 UN Member State list to 196 by adding 3 territories/countries.”
So what?... So what really? It's a game we're playing and I believe anybody has a right to update their criteria as they wish, both 193 and 196 being valid numbers that travellers use. Mine is 195 and I'm sticking to it even though I could boost that number easily if I wanted to.
All the other things she does is unrelated to the feat she accomplished, give Cassie a break please... For all the above mentioned reasons, we have to accept Cassie's claim to be valid and she is definitely the first woman "on record".
*The Fight Over the First