COURTESY RICH JURO ’63, LAW’66
This April, Rich Juro ’63, LAW’66 was preparing for a May cruise from Amsterdam to Dover to visit WWII sites, but he had an unusual stopover planned for the flight to Amsterdam: Equatorial Guinea. The small Central African nation, sandwiched between Cameroon, Gabon and the Atlantic Ocean, isn’t exactly on the way, but for Juro the visit was part of a lifelong goal to visit every nation in the world — and Equatorial Guinea was one of the last on his list.
Juro began traveling the world in 1966 when he and his wife, Fran, celebrated Juro’s graduation from the Law School by “doing Europe on $5 a day” for three months. That trip, which included stops in Moscow and Tangier in addition to many traditional European tour capitals, sparked their passion for travel — and they just kept going. “Eventually,” says Juro, “we realized we had visited about half the countries in the world and we said, ‘OK, let’s try to see all of them.’ And we’re getting there!”
With roughly 14 countries left to complete their goal, Juro acknowledges that most of the remaining locales present a challenge because of political unrest and/or personal safety concerns (the yet-to-be-visited list includes Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen). However, Juro is optimistic those situations could change: In 2018, he and Fran traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia, a trip that would have been impossible just a few years earlier due to the Ebola crisis.
Juro says that he and his wife — they’ve been together 57 years — have always approached travel with a can-do attitude, and have spent their lives trying to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Juro, now in his late 70s, admits that he and Fran are more cautious now than when they were younger. “We don’t go to countries ranked 3 or 4 by the U.S. Department of State [travel advisory], because they are too dangerous for us at an older age,” he says. But they don’t intend to slow down anytime soon: They have plans for a cross-Pacific journey at the end of this year and will stop in the North Russian archipelago Franz Josef Land in 2020. Juro’s travel philosophy: “Don’t put it off. You never know when you can’t do it physically or politically.”
Globetrotting over the last six decades has brought the Juros to beautiful natural scenery and given them firsthand perspective on countries’ histories, but most importantly, it has been an opportunity to enjoy cultural exchanges. “The more we travel and the more people we meet, the more we get a better feeling for what’s happening in different parts of the world,” Juro says. “And I hope, by meeting us, they will have a better feeling for Americans.”