In the fall of 1992, Bruce began school at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. He maintained a focus in geology and enjoyed life at the small school where he experienced a very traditional liberal arts education. However, something still didn’t feel quite right. Over Christmas break, Bruce spent time with a friend, hanging out and talking about their future plans.
“I just want to go camping,” Bruce said one day.
“Then take people with you!” his friend exclaimed, as if the answer was obvious.
This gave Bruce pause. Could he really do that? Was it possible to camp for a living and just take people with him? Bruce pondered the idea during the spring semester, and the concept that would later become Touch the Southwest began to germinate. However, Bruce wanted to finish his degree. As such, he started to research areas that offered academics as well as natural beauty and a healthy outdoor life. This led him to consider Flagstaff, Arizona.
Flagstaff had Northern Arizona University and was near the Grand Canyon. Also, unlike the rest of the state, Flagstaff was mountainous and green, a flower in the desert. Flagstaff also had a reputation for being a kind of outdoor paradise for hiking, climbing, and cycling, making it the ideal location for Bruce’s next adventure. And so, in the summer of 1993, Bruce moved back to Arizona.
Once he transferred to Northern Arizona University, Bruce continued his own brand of eclectic education by studying subjects like geology, regional art and culture, and ceramics.As he discovered, Bruce enjoyed ceramics immensely. While playing with clay, Bruce found he didn’t think of anything else, leading to an ease in his stress and a mental cleansing all students desperately need.
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