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Beyond Borders

Jan/06/2024 / by team-seema

How one woman beat the odds and visited more than 100 countries with a Bangladeshi passport

For most people, traveling across the world with a Bangladeshi passport would be an exercise in frustration. Ranked one of the eight worst passports in the world for mobility, it only allows visa-free entry to 40 countries. But Maliha Fairooz has defied the odds and traveled to 102 countries so far, over halfway to her goal of visiting every country on Earth. In fact, that achievement won her this year’s annual NomadMania award for Biggest LPI (low passport index) Traveler. 

Fairooz’s globetrotting journey started as a 4-year-old when she flew from Bangladesh to London and was mesmerized by the view outside the airplane window. Now based in Berlin and working for a human rights NGO, she regularly encounters obstacles thanks to her challenging passport—including needing pre-approved travel agency invites just to apply for visas. She has endured interrogation at borders, being threatened with deportation, and the stereotype that Bangladeshi travelers are illegal immigrants rather than explorers.

Discrimination and red tape haven’t discouraged Fairooz’s wanderlust, however. She prioritizes travel spending over material possessions, using her income earned abroad to fund the next adventure. Despite experiences like being detained for 17 hours in an airport, Fairooz focuses on the kindness she encountered in the 102 countries she’s visited. “There’s just so much beauty and kindness and generosity in this world,” she recently told NBC. “I feel so privileged to have been able to connect with so many people from so many places.” 

Follow Maliha on Instagram: @maliharoundtheworld