My short bio: All my life, I'd had a passion for travel. I'm a retired middle school social studies teacher who uses his travels for education instead of a textbook.

Last May, I traveled to Libya, concluding my quest to visit (Not just land in and take off again!) all 252 countries and lands on Planet Earth.

I recently wrote a book about it all, and published it in October. Feel free to ask me about my travels and/or my book about them.

My Proof:

Here's my book if you're interested.

Comments: 182 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

RatedRGamer18 karma

What country had the most unpleasant people??

RufusMcGaugh18 karma

Well, in the old days, without a doubt it was the French. But that WWII and post WWII generation has basically died off. The younger French, at least for me are very nice, pleasant and helpful. Some of my friends who traveled through France in the past have a hard time believing me about the French now being nice. I have had no bad experiences with the people anywhere. Even when I travel through Middle East Moslem countries and the people know I am an American I am treated very nicely. Hey, people are people.

sasopocmarany15 karma

what country/countries surprised you the most?

what were your biggest troubles of visiting certain countries?

what countries you could call your favorite from each continent?

do you consider this to be a good idea with hindsight or do you somehow regret it?

RufusMcGaugh32 karma

Bngladesh and Calcutta, India for their poverty and wretchedness. Yemen for being the closest thing on earth to owning a time machine and going back into history (architecturally). Antarctica for its pristine beauty.

jsfly7 karma

wretchedness? Was it really that bad?

RufusMcGaugh17 karma

Yes. My first trip back in the 1970's was really bad concerning the poverty, hunger, and living conditions. Grown men with what was called at the time Number 2 pencil arms because they were so malnourished and skinny. Thousands of beggars holding their babies up with flies swarming over their eyes. People with the most horrible birth defects, injuries, and diseases such as leprosy. It is now better especially in India but there are still pockets of this in existence even today there, and especially in Bangladesh

iambluest11 karma

Was there any country which stood out as just average? Nothing overly impressionable one way or the other?

RufusMcGaugh23 karma

Finland comes to mind. For a guy from Michigan--and by the way there is nothing wrong with Michigan or Finland--who was looking for the unique, unusual, and superlative beauty, Finland was not going to cut it.

billshoen1 karma

What part of MICHIGAN are you from?

RufusMcGaugh6 karma

I was born in Detroit and raised in Warren. After a few years of teaching in the Grosse Pointe Public School System I moved to Grosse Pointe.

prettysloth8 karma

Did you have any clear favourites? What are some countries you'd say are must-visit places?

RufusMcGaugh30 karma

Just some of my favorites would be Switzerland, Ireland, the fjords of Norway, any back mountain trekking in the Himalayas or California, the canyons of Utah, and Antarctica.

HinataLovelace7 karma

A Swiss here, what's made Switzerland to one of your favorites?

RufusMcGaugh5 karma

The beauty! I love the Swiss mountains and hiking.

RiceFumes1 karma

irish guy here, why ireland? was it dublin? i live on the "#1 coolest destination on the planet" (according to the national geographic) aka Donegal and i think its an awful place to live in

RufusMcGaugh6 karma

The natural beauty is what makes Ireland one of the most unique and beautiful countrie on earth. Ireland also has the added distinction among travelers as the country with the friendliest people. (Truth alert here: I am Irish-American on both sides of my family and a pretty proud Irish-American.)

ajallen14946 karma


Did your experience change your perception of what it means to be a “country”?

Does the world feel any smaller or larger?

RufusMcGaugh12 karma

Yes, man made borders seem almost silly, dividing people and resources up the way they do. The world seems smaller but while on a super long flight, let's say to Central Asia (31 to 37 hours) I would probably contradict myself and say the opposite.

gottabelenny6 karma

Ever think that if the lines were just a little different that there would be more acceptance in an area?

RufusMcGaugh9 karma

Yes, but people through ignorance, hate, bias, prejudice, and especially politics find ways to divide themselves--and even hate each other-- within a country. Just a few examples would be Lebanon, Northern Ireland, and Iraq

RyanOneTwoThree6 karma

Did you visit North Korea?

RufusMcGaugh11 karma

Yes, about 2 years ago. And it's just as weird as they make it out to be! I was there for about 9 days and got to see a lot of the country, including the DMZ

Kynsade6 karma

How did you finance all this travel? I’d love to hit this milestone someday!

RufusMcGaugh19 karma

Once I completed my quest to visit every country and land in the world this is exactly what every TV and radio station was asking me, especially because I did it on a teacher's salary! The first thing is, I did not get married until I was 44 and that really was my secret weapon, that I try to never mention within ear shot of my wife. Everything I earned went into my passion of travel. The next part is that I say this humorously but also seriously, I am a cheapskate on a budget. I never made tons of money for a very expensive hobby or passion (travel). So I skipped meals (average weight loss each summer was about 12 pounds--maybe I should have written a diet book instead of a travel book!) I not only slept on trains and the proverbial park bench but in doorways, fields and parks. I once slept in a zoo (South Bend, Ind.)! Youth Hostels were a Godsend, and of course cheap pensions and hotels.

QuietInNature6 karma

As an avid coin collector, I would like to know if you have any interesting stories or quips involving currency. What are some of your favorite designs you’ve encountered?

RufusMcGaugh29 karma

As a kid I collected coins and stamps, then more or less stayed with stamps only. I have brought numerous coins of various sizes and designs home for my kids. I did see the giant round stone coins of the island of Yap. My best story is when I was in a West African country and bought a Coke or something and the street vendor gave me change of 2 coins and one cocoa bean!

Roxeigh4 karma

Where was your favorite Canadian experience?

RufusMcGaugh10 karma

If you are Canadian, forgive me for making many cheap (funny) shots at your country, in my book, "Longitude and Latitude with Attitude: One Man's Quest to See the Entire World", all for the purposes of humor. Despite not being "exotic" Canada has some great natural beauty especially in the West.
My wife and I also made a wonderful trip to the Maritime Provinces that we enjoyed for its beauty very much.

Shorthyme3 karma

I like Hong Kong and major Chinese/Japanese cities. Any suggestions for other places I might like? Thanks!!!

RufusMcGaugh7 karma

I would think that you would love Tibet, Bhutan, and Burma. To get your feet wet start with Thailand which admittedly is getting overcrowded and touristy.

Yotsubato2 karma

Singapore, but it’s like Hong Kong and Japan meshed together with lots of other south Asian cultures

Shorthyme1 karma

Thanks! I was looking into it so really glad to hear that...especially from someone who has traveled (literally) the entire world! Gonna tell my friends if you don't mind haha :D

RufusMcGaugh4 karma

No problem. I hope everyone shares what ever is useful.

Guy53713 karma

What is your best advice to someone young who wants to travel the world?

RufusMcGaugh7 karma

Do it! That is not meant to be smart-alec. I had a goal to travel, and in my case after seeing how precarious life is while I served in the 5th Marines in Nam, I made a promise to myself that if I made it home alive to not let the never ending lame excuses stop me from doing whatever I wanted to do or accomplish--and not just travel. There's always a reason, excuse, or rationale to put off doing something like this. I just refused to let anything get in my way whether it be time or money. Start off slow and easy. I started with 2 road trips across the U.S. Then expand to foreign destinations.

ChipRockets3 karma

What did you think of Timor Leste? Where did you visit in TL?

RufusMcGaugh3 karma

East Timor or Timor Leste was interesting and hard to travel. Some of the countryside and much of the coast is beautiful. It is one of the least visited countries in the world with a total of 9 foreign visitors when I was there just a few years ago. I did meet Miss East Timor! I have a short chapter about East Timor in my book that includes some humorous stories.

MrMagneee3 karma

How did you enjoy The Faroe Islands? And what was special about it?

RufusMcGaugh5 karma

We loved the beauty of the Faroe Islands but like the Azores there is not a whole lot to do. Glad I did though.

xsliartII3 karma

How did you finance everything?

RufusMcGaugh7 karma

You have got to be a cheapskate if you want to travel a lot. Work to get the lowest air fare. Once on the ground use buses and trains. Eat cheaply. Get the cheapest lodging you can find and don't ever forget the Youth Hostels that are a great deal.

Newtonsdilemma3 karma

What/where was your most breathtaking moment?

RufusMcGaugh9 karma

The Iguassu Falls in the Amazon jungle on the border of Brazil and Argentina--275 separate waterfalls, some as big as Niagara Falls flowing over red granite cliffs. It is the most beautiful thing I think God has put on earth!

AOTP223 karma

Which country had the best and worst weather?

RufusMcGaugh11 karma

If one enjoys a moderately warm climate, I don't think you can beat various location in California. Moderate to hot, and beautiful--the Caribbean. The worse weather, depending on the person, might be what seems like the never ending monsoon rains of Vietnam (truth alert: I did it as a Marine during the Vietnam war up in the jungles of the Que Son Mts. with no tent, sleeping bag, or rain gear.) Antarctica can be tough if you don't like cold weather (me). One day the wind chill factor was 74 degrees BELOW zero. Most of Southeast Asia is very uncomfortable with hot and humid weather during the summer months.

goodnewsjimdotcom2 karma

How did you get to Tortuga?

RufusMcGaugh5 karma

Not sure. I have been to Haiti but not to Tortuga. Probably boat but there is not much to see or do there.

thekemistmelb2 karma

If there was one thing you could tell someone to help convince them to travel. What would it be?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

See the world; you will never ever regret it. It is the greatest learning experience on earth.

TT7142 karma

Were any of the countries nothing like you expected?

RufusMcGaugh8 karma

Many. Some very nice countries like Finland and Denmark didn't seem so interesting to me. Some countries seemed worse than even I expected after hearing all the horror stories of how bad they were: India, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia during the famine in the 1980's. Some sights or countries were unbelievably more wonderful than I could have ever hoped to believe: the pyramids of Egypt, the ruins of Pagan Myanmar (Burma), the ancient architecture of Yemen, the Buddhist temples and monasteries of Bhutan to name just a few.

Biki9119112 karma

What were some of your biggest frustrations or screw ups you had while traveling?

RufusMcGaugh20 karma

My screw ups (self-inflicted and through no fault of my own) are well documented in my book. I was arrested and thrown in a prison in Zimbabwe and accused of blowing their Air Force up! I made an unplanned and unexpected flight into Mogadishu, Somalia that included ground fire. I was stranded on the little French island of Wallis out in the middle of the Pacific when my flight departed an hour early. I was stalked by a leopard in Zimbabwe. I broke both of my arms in a bicycle trip I made illegally to Cuba--but I did finish the last 13 kilometers of the ride! And I was a total idiot and enlisted in the Marine Corps during the height of the Vietnam War when I was 19.

Norwegian_ghost_fan2 karma

What cultural experience was the most facinating?

RufusMcGaugh4 karma

There were a couple. The very spiritual aspect of the Buddhist temples and monasteries in Tibet. The secluded ancient "tall homes" in the remote villages of Yemen. And finally, just last year, I did an expedition through the Omo Valley of Ethiopia that National Geographic calls "the last frontier of human civilization". Among the primitive tribes in this valley is the Mursi tribe. This is the tribe where the women put the large plates in their bottom lip.

Ferragho2 karma

Would you rather live in Africa or Europe?

RufusMcGaugh4 karma

I love Africa and its people but I would prefer to live in Europe for the creature comforts, lack of poverty, superior economy and health care system, and the stable democratic governments it has

leclittoris2 karma

Which Central American country was your favorite and why?

Least favorite?

RufusMcGaugh6 karma

Guatemala becasue of the Mayan history, temples, pyramids and ruins. Costa Rica is a close runner up. Friendly people, easy to travel around, and relatively cheap. Belize is great if you are a diver or snorkeler. If you are not I think you might get bored.

Seravalko2 karma

How was communication? Did you pick up on local languages as you traveled or stick to English?

RufusMcGaugh6 karma

I travel to too many different countries, with too many different languages, too often, to ever start learning foreign languages. Also I am usually only in a country (depending on size and what there is to see) 3 to 10 days. Although I have spent about 2 months in both Russia and China on various trips--and over 2,000 days of travel in my own country (U.S.) if one counts all backpacking, mountaineering, canoeing, and road trips. Americans are truly blessed in the travel field in that English is spoken all over.

Mdiasrodrigu1 karma

How about Portugal?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

Great country to tour. Lots of very different things to see for such a small country. The people are great too. I personally like being along the coast which isn't hard to do in this country.

roguealcatraz1 karma

How do you find plane ticket (or boat/ship,whatever) to visit country that consist of remote island in the middle of ocean?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

Those are tough ones! And they tend to get expensive. The less flying you can do, the cheaper your trip is going to be. I make a decision on each island country separately. On some like the Maldives I did only 2 islands assuming from my research there would not be a whole lot of difference between the various islands. In the Seychelles I a did a few islands and would would have loved to do more but I was even poorer than I am now so it didn't happen. About two years ago I finally did Tonga and took the time, energy, and money to do at least one island in three separate archipelagos. I hate to say it, all the islands were nice but I didn't gain much by doing more. Doing only three islands out of Indonesia's over 17,000 islands probably makes me look pretty lame but you can't do it all. I didn't do much better in the Philippines 7,000 islands having done only three islands there also. For Italy I took the time and money to do Sicily and Sardinia and for France I did Corsica.

deldri1 karma

Ever been to Hargeisa? Is it safe to travel there?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

Yes, I was just putting a slide presentation together of Somalialand for the next time I am called into the schools to teach. It was very safe, and not to be funny or reckless, I would feel safe taking my family. It was not a long trip (4 or 5 days) but there are some amazing sites including some of the best prehistoric (Iron Age) petroglyphs anywhere. Be careful, however. The only flight out to Nairobi, Kenya some times makes an unexpected, unannounced, short stop in Mogadishu which can be a bit dicey.

averis11 karma

How did you deal with all the logistics of travelling? (booking, transportation..etc)

How did you plan out your routes of going from place A to B in any given city?

How did you get around when there was no wifi or GPS?

I honestly would wander around pointlessly and implode.

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

I still use a travel agent. The younger generation that is much more tech savvy tends to do everything online but I have found that a good tech savvy, travel agent does as well or better. I suspect they get discounts and offers that we don't. So my flights are taken care of. Next, land arrangements. In the past, it was just put my backpack on on arrival and head out using buses and trains. As the years went on I found that to be very inefficient and time consuming--and also many times missing good attractions. Now I either have land arrangements ahead of time or travel with a small group (2 to 4 people) with an itinerary already planned with transportation or guide. I think if you were to follow my system you would have no problems. Carefree backpacking and getting from Point A to Point B works for Europe and some parts of Asia, and Latin America but that is it. In these places trains and buses are fine and work well. But for Africa and many areas of Asia buses are a long, hard way of traveling. The time involved and spent (wasted?) on poor public transportation is not good either. I hope I have answered your questions.

oldmateherb1 karma

What were your impressions of our beautiful land down under? Did you come over to the West Coast?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

Australia was good and BIG! It takes a lot of time and energy to see your country. And unfortunately I did miss two areas I want to see at some point before they put me in the coffin, The West Coast and Tasmania.

The_real_slim_shady21 karma

You mentioned that you have spent 2,000 days traveling the U.S. How did you like Kentucky? Also, what is a one memory about traveling that sticks out to you? I know that’s vague. Just curious about any memory you may have that you will always remember from your travels.

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

Kentucky is a pretty state and the best time to visit in my opinion is the late Spring. A few weeks after we were married I took my wife on a driving trip down through the South. My "secret" spot of beauty to show her was the Cumberland Mts. I am a history major and social studies teacher so the history with Daniel Boone and Fort Harrodsburg was very interesting.

mnmer961 karma

What did you do/did you like in Iraq?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

Iraq was one of the greatest trips I have ever made! I made it just a few years ago. (See this past Sunday's NY Times Travel section about Iraq [Kurdistan]. I did the same trip run by the ONLY travel agency in the country! It is owned and run by Harry Schute who was a colonel in the U.S. Army and served a number of tours of duty during the war in Iraq. He has settled in Kurdistan with his Kurdish wife and his company runs a great tour.) There is SO MUCH to see in terms of history, culture, religions, including one of the strangest religions on earth the Yazidi faith that has many strange beliefs and taboos. This area of Iraq has Neanderthal grave sites, tombs of the prophets from the bible, ancient Christian monasteries, ruins and remains of the Babylonians and Assyrians, remnants of Alexander the Great's invasion, palaces and torture chambers of Saddam Hussein, the deepest and biggest canyon in the Middle East, and yes even stupendous waterfalls, and much more. Again it was one of the best and most site packed trip I have ever been on.

[deleted]1 karma


RufusMcGaugh7 karma

(Hopefully) proof has now been added. I made a Reddit account just to post this, so I'm pretty new to all of this. If there's still a problem, please let me know.

Amanwhofarmscows1 karma

Is it very expensive to travel? Have you figured out ways to save money and be more efficient over time?

RufusMcGaugh5 karma

It is expensive to travel and it seems to get worse every single year since I started traveling as a young man in 1968. The best I can offer in advice is to try to snag cheap air tickets any way you can and then travel through a region (Europe, Asia, etc.) using cheap land transportation, trains and buses. Cheap hotels and if you can double up, triple up, etc. all the better. Cheap food also.

no_mustard_no_mayo1 karma

What did you do/where did you go when you visited Swaziland?

RufusMcGaugh3 karma

I have traveled through Swaziland twice and to be honest with you, from a tourist/traveler standpoint, I found little of interest in the country. It is poor and really no attractions of interest at least to me. The people were nice but for me the country did not measure up to countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe.

ratbatcatfat1 karma

Did you visit the Kerguelen Islands and if so what was it like?

RufusMcGaugh3 karma

No, I have not. They look beautiful but I know of no way to get there or pay for it without robbing a bank.

Gorkyyy1 karma

How about Slovakia?

RufusMcGaugh5 karma

I was there once when it was still part of Czechoslovakia in communist times. I give it an OK. Nothing special.

Toledojoe1 karma

If a new country splits off from one, will you feel the need to go visit it as well?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

Not at all. If I have been at a place or location and it's name has changed or is now independent or is now part of another country means nothing in terms of whether I have been there.

NoSeafoodAllowed1 karma

What tips have you picked up on in your travels that allow for super affordable traveling?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

Shop around for a cheap airline ticket. Then use buses or trains once you arrive. Get the cheapest hotel room or pension. Eat cheaply. Best deal in town are the Youth Hostiles.

KingBubbidy1 karma

Will there be an e-book version?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

My editor Anthony Ambrogio is currently working on it.

KrazyKatJenn1 karma

Any plans to put your book on kindle?

Which country had the best food?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

My editor Anthony Ambrogio is currently working on that. You can't believe how technical and difficult it is. For food I guess it's what you like. Thirty years ago I would have said Italy. Twenty years ago Thailand. Today, India.

IllinoisBlue1 karma

What gave you the most culture shock? Or did you not experience any?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

After getting out of the Marines and getting out of the Vietnam War where I fought for a year in both the mountainous jungles and in the villages and rice paddies and had seen a very different culture that was also very poor I thought I was ready for anything. Then I went to India and Bangladesh (1970's) and oh my gosh the poverty, sickness, disease, and filth was at a whole new level. Shortly there after I went to Ethiopia during the famine in the 1980's and I now saw death wholesale due to starvation.

maytttt951 karma

Which countries to find to be the most misrepresented or misunderstood?

RufusMcGaugh3 karma

It seems that everyone feels that if you go to Israel or the Middle East that you are going to get blown up or killed. Not true. Not even close to being true.

Ilikefruitokay1 karma

When did you go to the Netherlands and what was your experience?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

I have been to the Netherlands a couple of times. It is a small country that is easy to get around. I mostly caught the sights, attractions, and museums of Amsterdam and then went out to the countryside where it is very pretty. A few years ago our flight from Amsterdam, on our way home from Kenya, was postponed until the next day. I tried as hard as I could to get my wife and two boys to make a train trip from the airport to Amsterdam to see at least a few of the sighst but they were too tired. I was pretty disappointed. Chances are they may never have the opportunity again. My wife and two boys like to travel but not like me. So unless I plan it, they probably won't do it themselves.

ChillDude47631 karma

Where did you get the funds to travel? I mean, travelling around the World requires a lot of money.

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

I had a decent salary as s teacher but the secret weapon was not getting married until I was 44. Travel was my passion so all my money went there rather than clothes, or gadgets or expensive cars. I lived pretty frugally and then traveled as cheaply as I could.

themanwhosleptin1 karma

What is your most favorite part about traveling? What is your least favorite part about traveling?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

My favorite is the viewing and experiencing of really beautiful or historic sights. I always wish I had more time to linger and work on my photography. The least favorite part is the long flights from home to where ever I am going.

thisgoronsonfire1 karma

What advice do you have for someone interested in becoming a traveler?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

Save your money, shop around for a cheap air ticket, use the buses and trains once you arrive, find the cheapest room you can and eat cheaply. Don't forget the real money saver and that is the Youth Hostels.

borzee1 karma

How did you go about writing the book? Writing drafts to add in each country? All in one go at the end?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

About 2 or 3 years ago I started sending daily emails out to family, friends, and colleagues about that day's activities or adventures when I was on a trip. The list of people who wanted to receive these emails kept growing. Everyone kept insisting I should write a book, especially students, former students and the parents of these kids. So I did. I spent most of the summer two years ago hammering it out and adding to it. The results surpassed anything I could imagine. Currently, "Longitude and Latitude with Attitude: One Man's Quest to See the Entire World" is an Amazon "5-star, Must Read". It is getting great sales and people seem to enjoy it, especially the humor. I'm going to write another book. I have plenty of stories after all the travel I have done.

hungryhippo5671 karma

What were some of the weirdest or exotic foods you've tasted?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

Dog in Burma (Myanmar). Rat also in Burma. Snake in Vietnam. Hamster in Ecuador. Grasshoppers in Mexico. Monkey in Africa.

Captain_Kashmir1 karma

what did you think of Pakistan/ Pakistani people?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

The Pakistani people are good. I spent very little time in the cities but a did a very long and arduous mountain trek in the Hindu Kush Mts. The Hindu Kush were difficult to trek but absolutely beautiful. In one of the more unique experiences in my life I witnessed the direct descendants of Alexander the Great's soldiers. A number of Greek and Macedonian soldiers did not return to Greece with the great conqueror but instead married local women in the mountains. Today many of the people are blond, blue eyed, and look like Greeks rather than like Pakistanis.

flinkblessup1 karma

So, what made you go out and see the world instead of taking a more 'normal' life path?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

I give that answer in the preface of my book. 1) My first social studies book in 5th grade with the pictures of the pyramids, and the Great Wall of China started it. I some how, in a some what lower middle class, blue collar community, wanted to achieve it. 2) I made two road trips across America right after high school and got hooked. 3) Vietnam. I decided if I ever made it through that nothing would stop me or even delay me in living life to the fullest.

CrimsonUchiha1 karma

  1. Most Dangerous country
  2. What surprised you the most? Sorry, 2 questions am greedy.

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

Libya, Niger, Somalia, and Iraq in that order for danger. What surprised me the most about travel? That there is so much radically different beautiful, unique, and historic sights on this planet. It is truly mind boggling.

MrTuxedo11 karma

252 countries? I thought there was only like 197 or something close to that? What places did you visit that you’d call a country but someone else wouldn’t?

RufusMcGaugh3 karma

Great question. I always phrase my statement with 252 countries and lands. Lands would include colonies, dependencies, etc.. I did this not to enhance the number and make it look bigger. I did it because my goal was to see all the unique areas of the world whether they be a country or not. Back in the day I counted British Hong Kong and Portuguese Macau separate from China. Today I have Antarctica on my list which is not a country. I have Greenland which is not a country but belongs to Denmark. British Virgin Islands, etc.

ProfessionalThroat1 karma

How was Yugoslavia?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

You would of course be talking about the "old Yugoslavia" that collapsed in the 1990's into 7 new countries. I did most of them in the 1980's and Croatia and Slovenia are the gems. Croatia is an Adriatic California and Slovenia is a smaller version of Switzerland.

ElMachoGrande1 karma

I've been in a few countries (30-something, nowhere near your 252), and I've learned that, no matter where you go, people are people and they are basically good, just like you or me.

You've met a lot more people. Do your experiences match mine?

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

We are definitely on the same page on this one. People are the same all over. In the old days the French were rude but that was a different generation and they are mostly gone now. No matter where I go people are very friendly. I often tell my friends and students "If you ever want to see the natural goodness of people anywhere in the world, travel to some foreign country and walk up to a perfect stranger or strangers and say, 'Can you help me'. People usually drop what they are doing and can't do enough to help you out.

That_Nonstop_Reader1 karma

Did you visit Swaziland? How was it? As a resident I find all the different parts beautiful in their own way, but what was it like to you as a visitor?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

I must admit even rolling through Swaziland twice and spending a few days, I did not get much out of the country. Obviously I wasn't there long enough to be some sort of travel expert on the country but I enjoyed the natural scenery (low mountains) and moved on.

quantumbird1 karma

Has your perception af USA been changed in an way? Do you see USA diffrently as you did before you traveled?

RufusMcGaugh3 karma

One of my pet peeves is people (especially those who don't travel or don't know much) thinking the U.S. is first in everything or that we have the best in everything. Transportation is the perfect example. All the Western and developed countries of the world have subway systems. But it gets worse. They also have better train and bus systems and better roads. Even a number of 3rd World countries are doing better than us. I was in Algeria in North Africa just 2 years ago and they have light rail. Detroit where I live just got it this past year and it only runs about 3 or 4 miles.

smumuguy1 karma

Have you been to South Sudan and what do you think the future of the country will look like?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

Yes, I did get to South Sudan a few years ago. Not much going on there! I don't think the future of this new country looks very promising at all. It's impoverished with few natural resources. It's people are divided by politics and tribalism. Modern education and health care are a wreck. There is virtually no infrastructure system in the country.

mnmer961 karma

I wanted to ask a second question, what about Syria? How'd you find the middle east in general as well?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

I was in Syria some where in the early 1990's--not really a good time. It was a bit tense. No problems with the people but they kept to themselves. Admittedly, I don't speak Arabic and there were few opportunities to come into personal contact with many people, but I usually do much better than I did in Syria. The Middle East in general is fine. The people are good and if they discover you are an American, many enjoy a short conversation. I'm very political back home but don't touch the subject when I travel in the Middle East.

codybill3331 karma

have you been to Sealand??

RufusMcGaugh2 karma

No and probably never will. I guess in my book, I not only don't count Sealand as a country, I really don't count Sealand as anything. Truth alert: if someone were to offer me a free trip to go there I would do it. I would sink even lower and put it on my list of places I have been. This is a guy who, despite it being silly, went out of his way to get his passport stamped this past summer on the Isle of Man and still sink lower and put it on my list. Double truth alert: just because I was goofy enough or dumb enough to put the Isle of Man on my list still does not make it a country. Same for Sealand.

JonCee5001 karma

How was Scotland? What part did you visit?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

Great with crumby weather-- a lot. I can hack the crumby weather but it makes it tough for the photography I want. My wife and a former student of mine and his wife just did Scotland last summer and this time I took the time to do some of the islands. Most people will tell you that the islands are the best but I find it impossible to say the mainland or the islands are better than the other.

MakeMeAsandwish1 karma

How did U find Morocco, and the Moroccan ppl? and what was ur favorite city there?

RufusMcGaugh1 karma

I have made only one real trip to Morocco and it was good. I want to go back. I understand Morocco is an even more fun place to go to today than in the past. I liked Marrakesh the best. I missed Fez and I want to visit there. I went into the Atlas Mts and was not overly impressed. A few years back I used the ferries from Spain to visit two very small Spanish enclaves in Morocco, Ceuta (Sp.) and Melilla (Sp.). Logistically you have to make two separate trips because it's near impossible to visit one, then cross a bit of Morocco and enter the other. Both Ceuta (Sp.) and Melilla (Sp.) are on my travel list which is a bit silly even to me. However they are distinct and different, and although pretty small, I enjoyed both of them. and the ferry boat ride.

BFG_9000-1 karma

Your 'proof' photo appears to be dated the 2nd of March.

Have you moved on to time travel now you've finished all of the countries?

RufusMcGaugh4 karma

Good one! I did it American style with the month first, but I would love to try time travel!