America's state department recognizes 195 independent countries around the world. Ruth Gerber is a Lincoln woman who has visited a very large percentage of those countries.
Ruth has had the pleasure of setting foot in 60 nations around the globe. She was born to explore, "I didn't fall in the timid category. I got to do what I wanted to do and if it was fun I did more of it."
As a middle child in a large family, Ruth dared to discover at an early age, "I think it has to do with having the whole farm of 160 acres to roam in without much restriction."
This Wymore native has gone from exploring 160 acres in southeast Nebraska to exploring 60 countries around the world, "I love to go to cultures that are quite different than my own."
Ruth has walked on the Great Wall of China and the she's touched the Pyramids in Egypt and she's also eaten a lot of interesting food, "I like to eat what they eat. Because I figure you can go all over but if you don't get wiser about cultural differences and why does one country eat more of this and another country eat more of that."
Jay is Ruth's husband of 42 years and he's visited almost as many countries as his wife. "I can think of the most memorable countries...Antarctica, Africa, Tanzania, Botswana."
Ruth is an organizer for "Friend-raiser" trips for the Lincoln Public Schools Foundation, "We make sure we pick places that people wouldn't go on their own, they appreciate being in a small group. But it's adventuresome enough that you do lots of activities all day long so you have to have some stamina."
The Gerbers occasionally visit a number of countries on one trip, "One year the foundation went to the old Yugoslavian countries, so that was about 4 or 5. In fact, at the time we were there there was a brand new country being born, so we got to see the opening day of the new country. So that was about 5 on that trip!" The name of that country was Montenegro.
Ruth has tallied 60 countries over the past 40 years, but to her the numbers don't mean near as much as the experiences, "I don't care if I've been to 10 or 50...am I different because I went to those countries, that's the important thing."
Ruth led the LPS Foundation trip to Vietnam in early 2013. And coming up in January of 2014, Ruth will be leading a trip to the country formerly known as Burma in Asia.
And in 2015, the Foundations annual trip will be to the beautiful country of Morocco.