Filipino American woman, 79, fulfils dream of visiting all 193 UN-member countries in the world

“Don’t be afraid, just go," she advised prospective travellers.

Julia Yee | December 01, 2023, 05:41 PM



A 79-year-old woman in the U.S. has achieved her lifelong dream of travelling the world.

On Nov. 9, 2023, Luisa Yu celebrated her arrival at Serbia, which marked the completion of her quest to visit all 193 countries in the United Nations.

Image via Luisa Yu's Instagram

The elderly globetrotter was born in the Philippines and went to St. Louis, Missouri as an exchange student, reported NBC6.

In a bid to escape the chill, she later moved south to Miami, Florida.

A decades-long adventure

Yu's early 20s heralded the start of her epic adventure.

Speaking to NBC6, she shared that she'd felt the urge to travel, which led her to visit over 40 states in the U.S.

Her wanderlust still not satiated, Yu decided to take on the rest of the world.

After swapping her nursing job for property investment as a source of income, she set off on her adventure and has never looked back since.

The next 50 or so years saw her flying to as many countries as possible, where she was exposed to people from all walks of life.

Image via Luisa Yu's Instagram

Her Instagram page served as a travel diary of sorts, featuring snapshots of the risks she took and the friends she made.

Image via Luisa Yu's Instagram

She was fondly called "Mama" by those that she met because "[she was] the oldest, and they [were] young".

The 79-year-old was said to have difficulty deciding on her favourite country, but listed Italy, Philippines, and Thailand as some of her top contenders.

Ended in Serbia

The friends that Yu made along the way persuaded her to cross the finishing line in Serbia.

"When I exited the airport, there were people clapping and cheering," she recounted.

Yu also bagged two travel-related awards in 2022.

Namely, the NomadMania Award for Most Positive Traveler, and the Philippine Global Explorers' Most Adventurous Explorer Award, according to Inquirer.

As she nears the age of 80, the free-spirit appears to have lived her best life.

Image via Luisa Yu's Instagram

"I did fulfil my dream. I was able to buy a house on my own. I was able to travel on my own... I’m just happy. I want to thank all the people that have been so nice and kind to me," she said.

As for those also looking to find themselves in faraway places, Yu had one simple piece of advice to give:

"Don’t be afraid, just go. Don’t wait for anybody, because if you wait, it will never happen."

@mothershipsg Travel the world and the seven seas #tiktokworld #travel #tiktoksg #sgnews ♬ Happy Traveling - paja lasak

Top images via Luisa Yu's Instagram