"HELLO. I am the only nun going round the world with a 3ft statue of the Virgin Mary."

This is how 62-year-old Sister Ruth Augustus introduced herself to people in High Wycombe on Friday morning as she continued a journey which has been reported in the media across the globe.

The backpacker with a difference started travelling the world two years ago and intends to visit every country on earth that will grant her a visa.

"I have got about 20 more to go. Then I would have been to every country in the world except those that will not let me in," she said. "People tell me the most terrible problems when I am on the road. They tell me very, very distressing things."

Sister Ruth started her travels with a 4ft statue but gave it to a small group of Christians in Hong Kong. In return they gave her the 3ft tall statue. It has not travelled unscathed. The right hand fell off when she was praying with prostitutes in a shop window in Amsterdam.

In Bosnia she claims she was chased by a Muslim mob and in Belfast she says she "kept running into Orange parades" and people kept yelling abuse about the Pope.