By Sean Malone, editorial intern with Orange Hat Publishing | Ten16 Press
“As we’re eating, a man walks by. My guide tells me the man is 76 years old (really old here). I smile. He smiles. His smile shows he is absolutely toothless… I offer some buttered bread and wave to him to sit down next to me… I ask him what the holes in his kina shell necklace represent. The guide asks, and translates: ‘They are for the eight men he has killed and eaten.’ That’s a showstopper! My guide says it’s true. The man looks at me. I offer him more buttered bread, and we all burst into a good laugh.” –Papa New Guinea, 1984
Traveling is truly the most subjective of experiences. The wayward tourist has all too many priorities to consider when visiting domestic or international destinations. Apart from selecting the location, there are various options for how to spend the time. What provides the best “sense” of a new place? Should one focus on the amenities and trappings of the city or on hiking and camping through rugged countryside? What interactions are the most representative of a culture?
Whether you’re planning an upcoming trip or would simply like to sample the experiences of an avid traveler, James F. Bruce’s Traveling My Way offers a considerable platter of diverse anecdotes of world travel. While the highest concentration of passages occur in Africa and Asia, the book delivers on its subtitle with a highly eclectic sampling of travel vignettes, taking the reader to six continents across six decades of global encounters.
Bruce’s style is informal; the book reads like he is sitting across a table from you at a restaurant or a bar and recounting to you his stories as he remembers them. Bruce clearly has documented his recollections throughout the years and provides wonderful details like hotel rates from decades past, travel mementos (such as a mounted foxtail from a hunt in Ireland), and wonderful photographs. The lattter truly completes the experience; when learning the names of the many charming and memorable people Bruce encountered on his way, the satisfaction is often completed by seeing their pictures upon the turn of the page. There is such a portfolio of cultures and smiles as to render a warm and endearing sensation in the reader, who gets a sense that every effort was made to establish the immersive recollection that the author presents.
Traveling My Way is just that: a personalized lens of travel that is anything but general, filled with truly stupendous encounters and many uplifting service missions. Bruce brings light to many tucked away details of the countries that he visits, including lesser-known temples or pagodas, vibrant classrooms, villages, and communities. He doesn’t do away with any of the travel dust, hardships, or quirks we might find rough or unusual. In the earnest authenticity of each travel journal, one likely will feel that they themselves had accompanied James by the end of it all.
Jame F. Bruce’s travels have taken him to nearly
one hundred countries. He worked in residential
real estate in Milwaukee, WI for decades and went
on to become president of a real estate company. He
holds degrees in marketing (business, John Carroll University, Ohio) and more recently in cultural
anthropology and theology from Marquette University
About the Book
Traveling My Way – Cannibals to Communists to Dining with the Queen:
James F. Bruce’s Traveling My Way tells of the adventures and lessons learned from his worldwide travels. While some of these excursions were spent working with medical missions and charitable ventures, they arose mostly for the sake of adventure alone and the thrill of visiting unusual places and people on this earth.
Article originally Published in the October / November 2021 Issue: Read Global.