Over the last few years, one of United’s very own set out to visit every country on Earth. While this might seem an impossible feat, it became a reality for Romaine Welds, Lead Ramp Service Technician at San Francisco International Airport.
Welds immigrated to the United States from Jamaica in 2007 and took a job at the airport with a regional carrier. In 2016, he began working at United, and he has been with the company ever since. During his time as an airline employee, he has traveled extensively, while also maintaining perfect attendance and working overtime whenever available. In September 2022, he set off to Antigua—his 195th country and the last one he needed to become a true world traveler. Word about this monumental adventure spread quickly through the San Francisco airport team, and Welds’s colleagues decided to send him off with a celebration at the gate, complete with music, decorations, and treats.
Welds’s boss, Ramp Services Director Monika Gablowski, was among the many supporters at the gate to wish him well before he took his first flight, from San Francisco to Newark Liberty International Airport, on his way to beautiful Antigua the following morning. It wasn’t an accident that this was the last country Romaine was checking off his list. He wanted to accomplish his goal with a destination in the Caribbean, close to his home in Jamaica, as he became the first Jamaican, Caribbean, and Black man to visit every country in the world.
“To be the first Jamaican to accomplish this goal, I’m feeling very proud,” Welds says. “It’s an honor to represent my beautiful island of Jamaica, putting it on the world’s stage as being the first Caribbean Island to have someone achieve this goal.”
View this post on Instagram
When he landed on the island of Antigua, Welds was greeted with the World Traveler Award by the Jamaican Consulate in Antigua and Barbuda. His friends and family met him to help celebrate this incredible journey in the Land of Sea and Sun. For the next several days, he explored the island, finding Jamaican restaurants to try, visiting Devil’s Bridge National Park (where the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea meet), and walking around the city of St. John’s.
“It is said that more people have visited space and Mount Everest than have visited every country in the world, and fewer than 300 known people have done it so far,” Welds wrote in an Instagram post sharing his achievement. “I came to find out that it doesn’t matter what one’s nationality, age, or race is to accomplish this feat. Especially during COVID, this is an astonishing personal achievement.” Although Welds has checked off every country, he won’t be slowing down his travels any time soon. You can keep up with him by following him on Instagram: @travelingtheworldwithromaine.