Melissa Roy: The first South Asian woman to travel 193 countries across the world | The Daily Star
05:06 PM, March 17, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:10 PM, March 17, 2020

Melissa Roy: The first South Asian woman to travel 193 countries across the world

Melissa Roy has made a record of visiting 193 countries across the world at the age of 34. The passionate traveller was born in the USA.  Her father, Shubhash Chandra Roy, is from Netrokona.  Melissa, who is also a model and actor by profession, completed her world tour by coming to father's homeland, Bangladesh. She visited Dhaka, Netrokona, Gazipur, Cox's Bazar and Chattogram. We caught up with the traveller to find out more about her aspirations.

When did you begin travelling alone?

It wasn't until my sophomore year at university, when I was studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that I had my first solo travelling experience.

How did you manage to travel all by yourself?

Honestly, it was all out of necessity.  Most of the places I've been visiting recently are very remote, or proper war zones, which made it difficult to convince other travel mates to join me.

As a traveller, what are some of the biggest challenges you have faced so far?

The most obvious challenge for me has been getting visas for some of the politically unstable countries and jumping over their hurdles of corruption, bureaucracy and red tape. Some other subtle challenges are those of loneliness and difficulties in maintaining friendships and relationships back home, which happens when you are out on the road for extended periods of time.

What are your future goals, with regards to travelling?

Now that I have finished visiting 193 countries, I have my sights set on more 'extra-terrestrial' goals, you can say. I hope to go outside my normal sphere of travel and see the Earth from a whole new perspective, from that of outer space. Are you listening, Elon Musk and Richard Branson?

You are an actor as well. Tell us bit about your career in acting.

I worked as a commercial actor right out of university, and that has been my sole source of income over the years, allowing me the freedom and means to travel. I have worked on many different TV commercials, but the most memorable one for me was the Capital One Venture Card commercial, in which I played Alec Baldwin's assistant, filing his nails on an airplane. Even the commercials I've done pay tribute to my love of travel.

What advice would you give to our young readers? 

If you have a dream to do something, don't give up when it gets tough. Perseverance always pays off, one way or another. You will find a way to make it happen if it's what you really want, be it travel or anything else you want to do.

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