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Countries I Visited

Currently I have Visited 41 Countries

North America: 3

South and Central America: 2

Africa: 2

Europe: 8

Asia: 26

Australia/ NZ and Pacific: 1

Antartica: 0

Australia: I visited Melbourne, Victoria.  It was a wonderful and fascinating place with the nicest people.  Australia is a very modern country, yet has such amazing animals. Kangaroos, Koala’s and other strange animals.  My favorite were the cockatoo’s, parrots and other birds that were just flying around in the wild.  More amazing yet are the friendly people I would meet.

Austria: I visited Austria when I was young in 1983 and have not been able to go back yet.  I remember the beautiful mountains and amazing old buildings.  When you go to Austria, you just want to sing, “The hills come alive, with the sound of music” and run through the meadows.

Belgium: Again I visited this in 1983.  I remember very narrow streets in the capital, Brussels.  We were desperately trying to find our guest house (based on the book, “Europe on $1.00 a day”.)  The one we found was $5.00.  In Belgium they spoke a lot of French, but we didn’t have a French speaker with us, only German so we didn’t stay to long.

Cambodia: I have lived in Cambodia longer than any place in the world, rapidly approaching two decades.  I have seen Cambodia grow from a country in civil war in which every building was scared by bullet holes and ever road unpaved dirt, to a capital city with skyscrapers and luxury vehicles at every turn.  The transformation has been astounding.  The temples of Angkor are fascinating and a must-see for anyone in the world.  My wife is Cambodian, all my kids are citizens as well and hopefully one day I will be too.  This is my home.

Canada: The most beautiful stretch of road I have ever been on is the Highway number 1 from Vancouver to Calgary.  I did it on Boxing Day, December 26, with a friend of mine during a snow storm.  Unbelievable beauty!  Yes, we were doing the trip over a woman and yes, my friend did marry her so it was worth it!  Lake Louise and Banff National Park are probably the most beautiful chateaus and scenic parks in the world.

China: I have been to Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.  All three were very crowded and had large infrastructure projects just to boggle the mind with their immense size.  The Forbidden City was massive (Emperors palace)! Beijing was a disappointment in that for a whole week there the pollution and fog was so thick we could never see the Great Wall of China.  Can you see it from space?  I doubt it, you can barely see it in China!

Colombia: I visited Bogota and enjoyed very much the Monseratte church on the mountain overlooking the city.  The people were so nice and friendly.  The uncomfortable aspect was the constant presence of soldiers and a horrendous amount of graffiti on every building.  The famous Colombian coffee was great, yet weaker than Asian coffees.  I also got Colombian emeralds for my wife.

Ethiopia: This was the first country I have visited in Africa.  It is an amazing country steeped in centuries of Christian tradition.  It is the only country in Africa that was never colonized, though the Italians tried. As a result the nation has many unique customs and traditions.  They keep time differently, they track the years differently (it is 8 years behind everyone else) and they even have 13 months in a year as well.  The people are very polite and friendly and rarely aggressive unlike some other African countries.

Germany: The most beautiful parts of Germany I recall were the black forest and Neuschwanstein Castle.  Its beauty is amazing. We drove all around the country in a VW Van.  We even dared the Autobahn, but alas the VW Van is not made for any joy on the autobahn! Although it is slightly unrelated, my favorite race car driver in the whole world is Michael Schumacher.  He’s from Germany.

Guatemala: I so enjoyed the people and as a single young man in those days found the women very attractive.  The women just hug and kiss all the guys, almost at random!  During my stay I was doing evangelism with a wonderful Guatemalan family.  Many people came to faith in Christ which was awesome. On a day off, they took us to the town of Antigua, but here I was robbed at gun point.  It was the only time I was ever robbed at gun point, so obviously stands out in my mind.

Hong Kong, SAR: Lights everywhere.  I think businesses compete to have the most lights on their business. I visited Hong Kong when it was still under British rule, but now it is under China again.  I played elevator tag for hours on end with my brother.  Having buildings as tall as 40 and 50 floors can provide a lot of entertainment!

India: I was warned about how bad it smells and how dirty the country is.  My wife and I however visited Punjab state in the Northwest and had a fantastic time and did not find it dirty nor smelly.  Even they cook their rice with “cow chips” they did not smell either.  We were visiting at the time of Deepavali (festival of lights) in which the country turned into one big paint fight.  That was a little scary, but a lot of fun.  Literally everyone would attack you with colored paints, but you could attack them too! My only regret is that in our time there we did not visit the Taj Mahal. (So I will definitely do that next time.)

Indonesia: Jakarta is a massive city which has both the elite wealthy and squatters living side by side.  The traffic will teach you patience or make you crazy.  Attempting to leave the city can be delightful, but upon your return, the traffic will once again affect you!  Sumatra food is interesting and they fill your table with tons of plates of food and they just charge you for what you eat.  It is a lot of fun!

Israel: My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Israel and for a month we went from Beersheva in the south to Dan in the north.  We spent most of our time around Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Nazareth and had a wonderful time there.  It was in 1999 and one of the few times when both sides were not trying to kill each other.  We also spent time in the West Bank area (especially Jericho).  For my wife and I, it was a dream come true to walk where Jesus walked and see what Jesus saw.

Japan: I loved getting a Japan Railroad tourist pass which allows you access to any JR train and bus.  The fun ride is the Bullet Train.  Japan is a well organized city, but the people are not very friendly as they never look at each other nor smile.  They love to work and their lives revolved around making money which is quite obvious.  As far as beauty and peacefulness it is certainly that, and it is an easy place to go to for rest.  If you are ever there in peach season, eat a much as you can, they are probably the best peaches in the world. It is very expensive though.

Kazakhstan: My short visit to Kazakhstan was near Almaty the capital.  It was in 1993 less than 2 years after the Soviet Union fell apart.  It was mostly a farming area where I went.  The people were friendly, but my Russian was very weak so I was not able to converse much with the people.  In those days, the Kazakh people were actually a minority in their own country, the Russians were a majority.  I don’t know about now.

Korea, South: My visit to Korea was only to visit the world largest church, the Yoido Full Gospel Church in downtown Seoul.  It was an amazing trip.  This 700,000 member church had 13 services starting from Friday night to Sunday night.  Each wave of people in and out of the building was an amazing thing to witness.  Korean were well organized in everything they did, and always tried to be the biggest, greatest or largest in everything they did.

Kuwait: My visit to Kuwait was only brief and long before they were a mega-rich country.  It was back in 1983 and was only for a day.  My only impression of the country was that people only needed to have one set of clothes because everyone looked alike in this strict country.  The men all wore white tunics and the women black covers.  On Kuwaiti airlines they don’t allow men and women to board the airplane from the same door (women at the back).  You can sit together though!

Kyrgizstan: I visited a friend in Bishkek, the Capital, which I learned was not even a Kyrgiz word.  All of the Soviet Republics look alike as they were built and developed under the communist plans.  All the cities had amazing architecture around a central square with ever-present statues to Lenin and memorials to those who died in World War II.  Apart from that, the people lived mostly in apartment blocks which were colorless and identical. Kyrgiz people wore a different style of hat compared to the other republics around them.  We visited a rural family home where we ate apricots and nuts to our hearts content. Delicious!

Laos: In Cambodia they refer to Laos as the sleepy country.  On my visit there I would definitely have to concur.  It always seemed like there were few people around.  It was kind of like most Asian cities when it is their noon nap time.  Yet in Laos it is always like that!  Laos has a lot of natural beauty but if very under-developed.  I visited several waterfalls which were very impressive, yet difficult to access and few touristy things to do.

Luxemburg: No visit to Luxemburg can last long because it is such a small country.  We tried to spend the night there, but the guest house was full so we went down the road to find another place to stay.  In only a few miles, we ended up in Belgium.  Sorry, Luxemburg, we tried!

Macao, SAR: Casinos, Casinos, Casinos.  If you don’t come to gamble there is very little do to.  So that very little, I did it.  Monte Fort was a Fort built by the Portuguese in the 1600’s. Apart from that, you can eat some Chinese food and then enjoy the ferry ride back to Hong Kong.

Malaysia: This is my favorite country in Southeast Asia and maybe the world.  The people here are so friendly and they love to eat.  They eat six times a day on average!  The country is beautiful with wonderful beaches and mountains and everything is pretty good price, so even a missionary on a small income can have fun here!  It is the warmth of the people that make it a great plplace to visit. Malaysia truly Asia!

Mexico: Like most Americans my experience in Mexico was in a dusty and crowded border town.  I found out that Mexicans like all their food hot and though it is very dirty, you can always just drive back across the border into the United States and have all the comforts of home.  I was on a mission trip building a basketball court.  Now looking back, we did it wrong and poured way to much concrete.  Probably the Mexican’s were not too happy with our help, but they were polite and did not say anything to us.

Mongolia: When I had my first opportunity to go to Mongolia I asked what was the best time of year to go.  I was told May and June were the best months because it is so cold there and those months are warmer.  Ulaanbaatar sits at 6000 feet elevation and is also near the Arctic circle.  I asked how cold it gets and they said most winters it gets down to 40 degrees below zero and even up to 80 below.  My choice: I went in December.  I got to experience 25 below zero every day!!  It was so cold that it hurt my teeth to smile.  The sun rose and fell in the south (not east and west) and the Mongolians love to live in Gir’s (felt tents), even in the city.  Fascinating country.  Fascinating people.  Warning:  They will throw rocks at your or spit at you if you take their pictures.

Myanmar: Interesting country.  Just go exchange some money and find out how interesting it is!  When I went their denominations of currency were like 3, 17, 49, 97 Kyats.  Interesting.  I do know some wonderful people there; they are all from Chin State and didn’t have anything good to say about Myanmar either. Enough said about this strange nation.

Nepal: Beautiful. Amazing. Roof of the World.  I flew in passing Mount Everest.  Even in an airplane we had to look up to see it!  29,035 feet tall.  Even the short mountains are absolutely beautiful.  The Nepalese have carved rice and millet paddies into the side of every mountain as well.  On my first trip, I spent most of my time in Jiri and Kathmandu, both in the eastern part.  There are many Buddhists here and their customs are similar to Khmer customs and religion in Cambodia.  The people are friendly, but they love to have demonstrations so they can extort money from people.  When we tried to leave, we got stranded because one village had blocked the road and was trying to extort money from the government and trucking companies.  The beauty of Nepal is amazing and well worth a trip there, just be sure the political situation is stable (by stable I mean, no outright fighting in the last month).

Netherlands: Everyone who visits Amsterdam visits the home of Anne Frank.  My brother and I were given a gift so we could buy something special.  I bought dark chocolate and my brother bought a herring.  Yuk.  We were pure tourist, visited a tulip farm, cheese factory and had our picture taken in wooden clogs.  We didn’t do any of the bad stuff that Holland is famous for either: drugs and women.

Philippines: I lived in the Philippines for more then ten years and have been to the southern most part all the way to the north and everything in between.  Even after ten years of traveling all over the Philippines to every region I have only been to a fraction of the 7,108 islands that make up this archipelago.  The beaches are beautiful everywhere, the mountains are steep and fascinating, volcanoes are all around, and the people always have a smile.  Their political instability is comical, yet they are a very educated and talented nation of people.  You will find Filipinoes all over the world.

Singapore: This is a small city state of about four million people.  “A dot on the map” as Singaporeans affectionately call their country.  It is a highly controlled and regulated country.  It is very orderly and beautiful and people are constantly in a rush to make money.  It is hard to make long lasting friends here because of this culture, dominated by Chinese, but it is a nice place to visit.  I live her for a few months completing one of my Master’s degrees and have visited dozens of times.  If you are in this part of the world, do visit this little dot.

Switzerland: I stayed in a convent… rather, a guest room in a convent.  They put pieces of chocolate on our pillows.  I ate mine, my brothers and my mother and fathers before they knew how nice the Swiss were!  When we visited Switzerland we had a wonderful stay and enjoyed the beautiful villages, food and people.  We each got a coo-coo clock to remember our trip to this amazing country.  One fond memory I have is stopping along the road in the Alps and building a snowman. . . I know, it is so colonial, but it was fun (and cold).  I asked God if he could send me there to work, but I haven’t had a reply in 20 years!

Taiwan: I have gone to Taipei many times.  Again, it is just another large Asian city (they are all over-crowded and look the same on street level).  The construction of Taipei 101 was a pleasant addition to the city and stands out as a testament to their ingenuity and prosperity. They are efficient people, yet tend not to be very friendly.  Money, money, money is the name of the game in most Chinese cultures.

Tajikistan: This was a fascinating country which I will never forget.  I went when civil war was going on, but I never visited the capital of Dushanbe, but rather was taken from Uzbekistan to a remote mountain village.  We crossed the border under cover of darkness through a remote mountain pass.  In the Tajik village there was a huge ceremony with thousands of people.  Since I was illegal (no visa) I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself.  I was the first American ever to visit this village, so they asked me to give a speech to the village (so much for being incognito).  They offered to take me bear hunting (also illegal) which I politely declined.  I was not used to hunting with an AK-47 and could just imagine the consequences of an American, just after the fall of the Soviet Union, hunting illegally in a country where he was also illegally visiting.  The ceremony was interesting: a circumcision ceremony for a 12 year old boy!  Ouch!

Thailand: It seems this country is designed and built for tourists.  Tourists flock there in the millions looking for cheap hotels, cheap food, cheap elephant rides and cheap girls. Yes, there are plenty of bad tourists too.  The Thai people are very friendly and know how to serve other people. The beach resorts on the western side of Thailand are great as well as Chaing Rai up north.  Thai Airlines is one of my favorite airlines to fly in the world, just because of the great service.

Turkey: They threatened to deport my wife because they had never seen a Cambodian passport before, so we stayed only for the day.  We didn’t see that much and were pretty scared about going around.  This was at the time when they had people going around and attacking and killing tourists.  (It is generally bad for business and image to kill tourists.) We have never returned.  I would like to see Hagia Sophia one day and some of the ancient cities where Paul went, but that is all that interests me about Turkey.

Turkmenistan: Once again I was traveling, on two different occasions, through a country without a visa.  The first time I was going by train and my friends told me to pretend I was a drunk Russian so the border guards would leave me alone.  It worked. The second time, my friends bribed some border guards with a packet of cigarettes. How would I describe Turkmenistan?  Desert.  Oil wells with their exhaust fires burning on the horizon.

Uganda: My first visit to this country was limited to Kampala and the surrounding area.  Economically it is quite similar to Cambodia and enjoys much of the chaos we have in Cambodia as well.  The climate is wonderful, yet it is in the tropical zone so nearly every tree, plant, vegetable and fruit are the same as we find in Cambodia, only it is much cooler weather.  The soil across much of Uganda seems very rich so it is a wonder why the country is so poor.  Civil war has much to do with that as well as other cultural and political practices.  Note: I thought their flag depicted a picture of a rooster. . . in fact, to my embarrassment, it is a Emperor Crane!

United Kingdom: Rain, rain, go away, come back another day.  I have never been in London without rain; never.  London is a dreary city.  I loved to walk around and see the historical sites.  The changing of the guard was fascinating, Windsor Palace, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and the historic Tower Bridge were well worth the trip.  I have the pictures to prove I was a tourist in London.  A tourist in the rain!

United States: This is my birth country.  I was born in the small town of Barnum, Iowa.  Actually I was born in a hospital in the next town (Fort Dodge) because Barnum didn’t have a hospital (Population 96 people).  I have lived in Iowa, Texas, Oregon, Alaska, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and California.  My brother lives in Texas, my Mom in Colorado.  My relatives have all moved out of Iowa and live in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Hawaii and Washington DC.  We just all spread out. The only places I have not been in the United States are those itty bitty states up by New York.

Uzbekistan: I went to Uzbekistan as an exchange student and was there for the first anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union.  In those days, there was little food to eat and nothing to buy with the collapse of communism.  We had to use ration coupons, but there was little to buy with them.  People would trade their household items for food in those days.  The people were so friendly and I made lifelong friends there. My favorite places to visit was Buchara and Khiva.  Samarkand is next on my list.  My friends tell me not much has changed in the last twenty years, the President certainly hasn’t.  Uzbekistan will always be close to my heart, I fell in love with the people there.

Vietnam: My Dad and uncles were drafted into the Vietnam War so my first impressions of Vietnam were from the lenses of old war stories.  I first visited back in 1994 and have since been dozens and dozens of times.  It is a great vacation spot with wonderful beaches (my favorite is Nha Trang) and cool mountains.  Food is cheap and hotels are too. Vietnamese are very friendly people and most hold no ill will of Americans.  Just avoid the “American War Crimes Museum”; stick to the natural beauty.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 6, 2013 9:29 am

    I read all the countries you listed in. They are amazing ones and you also amazing by travelling around the world. Awesome Steve.

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