Vancouver-based photographer Natalia Anja has been chosen as the winner of 2015's Global Degree contest – she will now vie to become the youngest women to ever visit all 193 countries in the United Nations

Vancouver photographer chosen for Global Degree travel-the-world program

Natalia Anja will join Michael Graziano and Alex Hennessy in a four-year quest to visit all 193 countries in the United Nations.

Vancouver photographer Natalia Anja has been chosen as the winner of 2015’s Global Degree contest – she will now vie to become the youngest women to ever visit all 193 countries in the United Nations, traveling with program founders Michael Graziano and Alex Hennessy.

Anja will go walk-about for the next four years, journaling their exodus on Global Degree’s YouTube channel, where Graziano and Hennessy (also from Vancouver) have filmed nine episodes so far. The pair have already visited South and Central America, and Anja will join on for the show’s Season 2, which starts in Asia.

Anja is a photographer with her own Vancouver-based company – Natalia Anja Photography – and, in the winner’s announcement video, Hennessy said he’s excited to add her camera-wielding proficiency to their company.

“I’ve ridden the emotional tidal wave over the past month – from insane anxiety to extreme happiness,” Anja wrote on Facebook on Monday, when she was unveiled as the contest’s winner. Anja beat out 180-plus other female contestants from around the world, who had applied on Global Degree’s website and were voted on by the show’s audience.

“I know it was a lot of work and you have no idea how grateful I am for it,” she told everyone who supported and voted for her. “That thank you also goes out to the awesome female contestants who are also a part of the Global Degree family, their video’s (sic) were super inspiring and they are all incredible women that I can’t wait to meet. During this experience we formed a little sisterhood which is super rad because what contest have you ever entered where you became friends with the other contestants and they cheered each other on? I’m going to do everything in my power to try and help each girl achieve her dreams of travelling the world as well. I believe there is always a way to achieve something we’re passionate about… we just have to take the first step forward.”

While the contest was running and attracting international eyes, Graziano repeatedly said he wanted to add a woman to their Global Degree program, to detoxify some of the stereotypes women face when visiting other countries – namely, that it’s too dangerous for a women to travel on her own or even with friends.

“The reason we’re bring her on is because, there’s so many reservations for females to be travelling on their own, or even with a friend,” Graziano told Global BC, in an interview last week. “I want her to be exposing these places, for better or worse, and hopefully be an inspiration.”

Global Degree will hold a castaway party this Friday in Vancouver. After that, Hennessy, Graziano, and Anja will fly to Tokyo to begin Season 2.

Sponsors for their trip include Hostel World, Flight Centre, and Monstercat.

Photo/Video: Natalia Anja (via Facebook and YouTube)Natalia Anja

Natalia Anja

Photo: Michael Graziano (left) and Alex Hennessy (from Global Degree Facebook)

Global degree

VIDEO: Global Degree in Argentina (Parts I and II)

Just Posted

Routine train whistles to stop in Maple Ridge

‘Will still sound as a warning.’

Hungry bear takes snack from Maple Ridge kitchen

Family left back deck door open during heat.

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Maple Ridge stop for African Children’s Choir

Concert date is Sunday at Maple Ridge Christian Reformed Church

Jazz vespers to feature Red Velvet in Maple Ridge

Red Velvet band to perform May 26

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

UPDATE: Multi-vehicle crash on Highway 1 east of Chilliwack

First responders on scene with multiple patients from four vehicles involved in westbound lanes

Police watchdog investigating motorcycle crash in Kamloops

A Kamloops Mountie had stopped the driver for speeding, but they raced off from the 0fficer

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read