Zara Rutherford took 155 days to fly from a Belgian airfield back to that same airfield, where she landed earlier this month, after circumnavigating the globe solo in her Shark UL aircraft.

At 19, she’s the youngest woman to ever fly solo around the world. The next youngest woman was 30 when she completed her trip.

She avoided any serious mishaps along the way, though she was marooned in Russia for weeks when the weather soured and she encountered visa issues. Passing through wildfire smoke in California was horrific and dangerous, so she re-routed. Rutherford narrowly missed a lightning strike near Singapore, and dealt with extreme turbulence over Alaska.

But those were but brief blips in an otherwise fantastic experience.

She particularly enjoyed Saudi Arabia, citing the scenery and friendly people, the remoteness of Siberia, and the stunning scenes above Alaska.

“Go for it,” she says, to anyone considering a similar feat. “It takes a lot of time, patience, a lot of work, but it is incredible,” she said.

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