Boonville native has traveled to all continents of the world
California resident Bill Burks was born and raised in Boonville. He learned early on about common sense and hard work. These skills have paved the way for his success. Now in his retirement, he has visited every continent on the planet.
Burks remembers working at Temple Stephens in downtown Boonville. It was early in his life but it played a major role in shaping his future.
"I learned my work ethic from Daisy and Harold Schnitzler while at Temple Stephens. It played a very important part in my success," Burks said.
Burks also contributes his good education in Boonville for his knowledge as well, including the common sense, which was instilled on him as a young boy.
After leaving Boonville Burks ran a disco for three years and then attended college in the suburbs of Chicago. Once he graduated, he received a job at Future Data in Los Angeles. Burks would participate in trade shows in the electronics industry. Burks then moved to Redwood, Calif. where he has resided for 30 years. In the year 2000, Burks retired and began to travel the planet.
After learning about the pristine landscapes of Antarctica, Burks, along with some friends, booked a trip to the southern-most continent. The group met in Buenos Aires and then flew to the southern most tip of South America. Burks said they voyaged on a Russian Ice Breaker through waves with an average height of 40 feet. It took them a short while to arrive at their destination. Burks got close to the wildlife. Even the penguins, seals and whales did not mind the company of humans.
"It was just incredible," Burks said. "It is the most fabulous and exotic and most wonderful experience of my life."
On his travels to Egypt in late 2010, Burks got a personal tour of the hotel suite Winston Churchill stayed at near the Giza Plateau in Cairo.
"This is the room where Roosevelt and Churchill met," Burks said.
Burks said he could feel the tension since the trip was made right before the Arab Spring of early 2011, which over-through Egypt's President.
This March Burks traveled to India. He said he really enjoyed his India trip and told a story of an event, which occurred on his stay there.
"I was pick-pocketed on Ghandi's memorial site in India earlier this year. A few days later we were at the Taj Mahal, a guy from Dehli sent me an email stating he had found my wallet after he retrieved my contact info in my wallet. He asked if we could meet somewhere. I had the tour guide contact him and he met us at a hotel in Dehli. He was a young Indian man who worked as a service man with Dell Computers," Burks said. "I wanted to take him out for dinner but he and his father had a party to attend to, which they invited us to. We could not join them because we were leaving the next day. This was story that began bad but turned out good."
Burks said one of the most astonishing places he has ever visited was Easter Island. The island is known for having no trees and a lot of carved statues called moai. Burks was amazed by the huge runway on the island of almost 6,000 people. According to Burks he found out the runway was used in case the NASA Space Shuttle needed another place to land.
After all his travels Burks appreciates the beauty of America, even Missouri, which he says is as beautiful as many of the places he has seen around the world.
"It is always good to be back home," Burks said.
Through his travels Burks has never been fearful for his life. He said his experiences have mostly been very good.
When Burks travels, he remembers being in school in Boonville.
"I remember sitting in my World History Class and seeing the pictures. I asked myself if these photos were real? When I visit these places, the pages in the book I read in class come to life," Burks said.