Bruce

Traveling Kiwi - BruceBack in the days before internet, email, and Skype. Back when a bogus collect phone call home was enough to let your loved ones know you were still alive. Back when postcards had a 50/50 chance of arriving at the correct destination; I got a gift.

In 1986 my sister sat by my side a small furry brown package with large white eyes and a heart that beat out of his chest.

He was as innocent and green to the ways of world travel as I was yet he was now under my care. The responsibility of this however, was lost on me. I was invincible and therefore by association, so was he.

We set out from Auckland on April 12th of that same year prepared to take on whatever the world threw at us.

We were going to have a blast and explore the planet.

My furry friend and I road-tripped through the United States taking on a southerly route. We encountered huge canyons, lone Indians, crazy Texans with huge slices of toast. We stayed in Las Vegas hotels that would later be demolished by explosives on live TV.

That would be the Landmark Hotel.

We skied black diamond runs in a place called Purgatory and one of us drank a little too much local brew at high altitude. We saw Andrew Jackson, listened to the players of Preservation Hall, and got a swift kick in the head by a Hurricane…at least that’s how it felt the next day.

By the time we arrived in New York city he had become the center of attention from all those I was now traveling with. His place of honor was a perch atop the rear view mirror. Depending on how bumpy the ride was he could look forward and see what was about to be, or he could look back and resume his lofty role and spearhead the topics of conversation.

He was in his element; a traveling Kiwi!

After leaving the U.S. we made our way to Europe. Here we settled for a couple of months at the Tom Cribb pub where I was a barman, cook, and general dogs-body. Then it was back on the road.

Our focus was Greece, Italy, France, and Holland. A single sleepless, bone jarring 72 hour bus trip from London to Athens set us on our course.

After Europe we traveled through South America and it was here in a market that he received his official name.

Again the center of attention in a market that sold everything from dried llama fetuses to bowler hats, an old Bolivian lady made him a string bracelet adorned with the name she felt most appropriate.

Emblazoned on a sky blue band with pomegranate red lettering was the name Bruce!

We set our sights next on the African continent and then Asia. In Laos he once again became a focal point from new friends who even today, some six years later, ask about his well-being.

He and I have traveled the world and amassed thousands of miles across 60 countries. Both of us getting our stuffing shifted in the process but that was to be expected I guess. For over twenty-seven years now we have trotted about the globe.

This trip to Cambodia was definitely not our last.

53 thoughts on “Bruce

  1. Wow, he’s only three years older than me and visited all these cool places! Is it weird to get jealous on a kiwi bird?😆 He’s adorable and the pictures featuring him are great!😀

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  2. Hello Tim
    Bruce remind me of a cartoon character in sesame-street , it was a big furry elephant in brown color.
    But what a nice way to keep the memories with you. It shows your love to your sister. I am amazed to know that you have traveled 60 countries of the world. All the best with your future travels.
    Nice pictures and a great companion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A little jealous that Bruce is out seeing the world while I’m stuck in the office but I’m definitely inspired. Nothing like a place called “Purgatory” to make me plan a little ski trip.

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  4. Bruce had been so privelleged, travelling the world that much and without cost!!!! I wish I was Bruce, without the shifting of my stufiings. Quite a relaxing post Tim, loved it.

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    1. There is a whole mythology surrounding the Kiwi and how it saved the forests of Aotearoa from a destructive disease. Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand. Glad you liked it Jeri.

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  5. This is Jay. I bet Bruce was a great wing man. I may just be a little bit jealous of Bruce since he had been to more places than me.

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  6. Hi Tim,

    What an awesome feeling to have something like your furry friend especially as a memory created by your sister. What a special way to treat the gift with respect. I am sure it reminds you of your sister every time you see it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    -Kumar

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  7. What a great travelling buddy – and boy that’s one big furry friend! Sounds like you’ve had a real blast together. Speaking of which it’s really a trip to remember some of the hotels that you once saw in Vegas that are now blown up. I wish I’d been able to go in the ’70’s but didn’t make it there until early nineties so there wasn’t too much of the old strip left. But the Pioneer was still there and the Sands.

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    1. Nice segway re the blast. It is a bit of a trip thinking back on LV at that time and then seeing the hotel implode on television a couple of years later.

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  8. Love Bruce and how you explore the world. Are you stil travelling or have you now settled down somewher? Am asking because after a couple of years of travelling non-stop we usually get enough of it and want to stay in one place.

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    1. We have tried to settle on one spot but it doesn’t seem to stick. One day. For right now we are seeing all the world has to offer when time permits. I (we) once traveled for four years straight and never got tired of it. At least I didn’t, and if he did, he never said a word.

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  9. Love it. Bruce sounds like your own personal Flat Stanley. BTW, have you and he ever heard this one: Question: What’s the 8th wonder of the world? Answer: A Kiwi with a return ticket.

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  10. Aren’t you lucky that Bruce agreed to travel with you! I think he is the perfect companion, never complaining or second guessing, I’m thinking. Attracting attention so that you get to meet more new friends. Nice.

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  11. Your Kiwi is probably the original roaming gnome! The Europe trip is breathtaking. So much beauty. I have been to Germany and Italy, love the landscape. Looking forward to your next journey!

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