By Tom Morrow
Oceanside’s Jim Schroder has traveled to every continent on earth except Antarctica – and he’ll be going there next August.
Of all the 155 nations he’s visited thus far, he likes those countries in Africa the most.
“It’s an intriguing continent,” Schroder said. “I just returned from Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia in northern Africa.”
Traveling since graduating from high school 53 years ago, Schroder has been shot at in Bogota, Colombia, jailed in Ascension, Paraguay, and arrested as a spy in Yugoslavia during the Tito regime. On that escapade, he escaped to Switzerland. Schroder seems to have been on one constant tour since 1963. He got the travel bug meeting the many visitors passing through his parents’ (Marty and Edith Schroder) hotel and restaurant.
Fluent in Spanish, there are times when he played ignorant of the language.
“When jailed in Paraguay, the cops were talking how they were going to rob and kill me, not realizing I could understand what they were saying.”
There have been some close calls, like the time in Tangiers, Morocco when he and a group of friends were entertained by a belly dancer. After her performance, he made a big mistake of lifting her veil, giving her a little kiss. When he got back to his room that night, the dancer was waiting for him. Schroder went back to the hotel clerk, explaining there was some sort of mistake.
“No, monsieur. The custom here is once you kiss a girl, you’re expected to marry her,” the clerk explained.
Schroder slipped out of the hotel at 4 o’clock in the morning and hopped a bus to Fez, Morocco.
He’s traveled throughout the South Pacific islands using James Mitchner’s “Tales of the South Pacific” as a guide. On Guadalcanal, the plane he was waiting on to take him to Fiji was lost at sea before arriving. He admitted that was a close call.
All in all, Schroder said travel is addictive. He said he really likes people from all over the world.
“I live by the motto that friendship moves the world.”