Saturday, September 29, 2007

BWH - Foreign Travel

Bruce W. Halstead
"Itching Feet"
and the Travel Bug

Doctor Halstead always felt that traveling was something that was a genetic factor that flowed through his genes. In his memoirs, he referred to his maternal grandfather, James Shanks as having contracted "an almost fatal disease known as 'itching feet', spending a great deal of time roaming the seven seas, traveling the United States, South America, throughout Europe and the Orient. He resided in Manila, Philippine Islands, for a brief period of time."

When Bruce was still a young boy growing up in San Francisco, he used to spend much of his time at the Golden Gate Park and later at the Golden Gate Academy of Sciences where he was learning about fish (Ichthyology). The Golden Gate Park is also the home of the great Steinhart Aquarium and the DeYoung Museum.

He started doing little excursions on his own at the ripe age of five when he was held out of school on the suspicion that he might have whooping cough. He used to routinely spend a great deal of this leisure time by catching a 5 cent Street Car down to Fisherman's Warf, the Embarcadero, and the downtown manufacturing districts which ranged from about 5th and Market down to the waterfront.

He used to love spending time along the waterfront visiting the last of the old Sailing Star fleet of schooners- the end of the era of the tall masted ships. Down on the waterfront he would see the merchant ships sailing in and out under the Golden Gate Bridge. Later he wrote in his memoirs that: "When I looked at those great ships, I dreamed of the day when I could visit those far away places."

By age nine, he started selling Liberty Magazines and found that he did much better in the financial and manufacturing districts then he did in residential areas and soon he was receiving awards as the top seller. He describe that area as a "delightful part of San Francisco in those days and the waterfront was always colorful."

One of his favorite establishments was the Matson Steamship Company with ist's glorious array of large saltwater tropical fish tanks with a magnificent array of colorful coral fishes, including the beautiful Moorish Idols. The Matson office was plastered with colorful posters of Hawaii and the South Pacific. During his frequent visits to the DeYoung Museum he would love hanging out in their South Pacific room. His head was filled with thoughts of the South Pacific and he used to say that the: "The big question was 'how do I get to these far away places?"

Whether it was the aquariums at the Matson Steamship Company, the Steinhart Aquarium, or the Golden Gate Academy of Sciences, he would stare at the fish by the hours and "determined that someday I would see them in their natural habitat." Between watching the merchant ships cruising in and out under the Golden Gate Bridge and exploring the old Sailing Star fleet of schooners, he said that: "When I looked at those great ships I dreamed of the day when I could visit those far away places."

Starting in the days of his tenure as Director of the School of Tropical and Preventive Medicine, Doctor Halstead quickly discovered his ticket to the traveling he had spent his childhood dreaming about. The key was in funding his myriad of "expeditions" to the oceans of the South Pacific and to the jungles of the Amazon. Soon his expertise grew and expanded to the point where he became in constant demand as a lecturer on his fields of expertise from bio-toxicology to preventive medicine.

What followed was over fifty years of one trip after the other, covering every corner of the world. After several decades of exploring the countries of the world, he started running out of countries and regions that he had yet to explore. At one point he sheepishly admitted to concocting an excuse to extend one of his trips to include a small remote country that he had yet to visit. This was something his family and friends were fond of teasing him about.

As he expanded his work and reputation, so did his Curriculum Vitae, which grew to the point it became necessary and convenient to publish it as a booklet starting in 1981. One of the categories listed in his CV was a list of all of the countries and areas that he had visited. By the time he passed away at age 82, nobody could deny that he had totally fulfilled his childhood dream of traveling to all of those exotic far away places.


Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, South Africa, Somali
Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia, Cyprus, Hong Kong, India Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Macao, Malta, Nepal, Pakistan, Pescadores Islands, People’s Republic of China, Phillipines, Rhodes, Ryukyu Islands, Saudi Arabia, Siberia (U.S.S.R.), South Korea, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam

Austria, Azore Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.S.S.R., Wales

Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Granada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Tobago, Trinidad, U.S. Virgin Islands

Baja California, Canada, Greenland, Mexico, United States (most of the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii)

Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, San Benitos Island

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela

Australia, Canton Island, Caroline Islands, Cocos Islands, Eniwetok, Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Galapagos Islands, Guam, Hermit Islands, Johnston, Kwajalein, Line Islands, Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Midway, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New Hebrides Islands, New Zealand, Ninigo Islands, Palawu, Papua, Palmyra, Phoenix Islands, Ponapay, Samoa (U.S.), Saipan, Solomon Islands, Tiniane, Tonga Islands, Truck, Wake, West Samoa, Wuvulu, Yap

Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion



Deanne Martell said...

I was on a dive trip in Truck in the 80's
Dr. Halstead was in attendance & gave talks on Marine life every morning. It was an amazing experience.

Deanne Martell said...

I was on a dive trip in Truck in the 80's
Dr. Halstead was in attendance & gave talks on Marine life every morning. It was an amazing experience.