An Afghan pilot hoping to become the youngest woman in history to complete a solo round -the -world flight was preparing to start the Transatlantic leg of her journey on Monday .Shaesta Waiz, 29, was born in a refugee camp at the end of the Soviet war in Afghanistan before immigrating with her family to the United States in 1987.

There she discovered a passion for flying and obtained her pilot’s licence -becoming the youngest certified civilian female pilot from Afghanistan.

Now she wants to share that sense of freedom of soaring high above ground with other young women.

“When I found my passion -flying -that’s when I started to challenge myself. I started to read. I started to do better in maths. I started to look at the world differently , the sky differently ,“ Waiz said as she made a stopover in Montreal. “What’s important is finding your passion and going after it.“

Waiz took off from Daytona Beach, Florida on Saturday and has mapped out a route that will take her aboard her aircraft approximately 25,800 kilometres to more than 18 countries, including Spain, Egypt, India and Australia, before ending the trip back in Florida in August.

During her stopovers, the engineering graduate and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is backing her trip, will host events to try to get schoolchildren interested in science -notably aeronautics. “We hope to present to the young kids at these events what those careers are… and hopefully get them to pursue these careers that are in need of more talent.“ ICAO says, less than 5% of commercial pilots are women.

Waiz says she gets her inspiration from Ohio native Jerrie Mock, who became the first woman in 1964 to complete a solo flight around the world. Waiz says Mock broke gender barriers in aviation at a time when few women were pilots.

But Mock wasn’t the first woman to try and fly around the globe. Amelia Earhart, an American aviation pioneer, broke many aviation records, including become the first woman to fly over both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. But during during her last flight in 1937, in an attempt to fly across the globe, she lost control of her plane on takeoff.