Unknown (until now) to most, but famous to all of his friends, Robert should be considered a National Treasure. Born in Flint, Michigan to a multigenerational Flint family, Robert is the eldest of eleven children. His maternal grandfather was born in a sod hut near Smith Center, Kansas, the geographical center of the 48 contiguous states. Trekkin' is dedicated to him. Robert’s paternal grandfather was the blacksmith for Keeweenaw County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. A historical plaque designates the shop as a National historic landmark. Robert and his beloved companion Ingrid Halling live in Flint, along with their pup Frida, Groucho the cat and they maintain a hideaway high above the bay in San Francisco.
Robert’s eclectic past activities include ordination into the Roman Catholic priesthood, a cable car operator and driving for the city of San Francisco Transit. (Drive through the city with him and he will point out old characters he befriended and regale you with sensitive stories about their quiet and eccentric lives). In between those careers he describes his life as an itinerant pilgrim based in his Mecca, San Francisco. Robert states: “San Francisco will always be my spiritual home because it was there I found the place I should be.”Teachers and guides along the dharma and overlanding around the world along the old international hippie trail shaped his life in a gentle but profound manner and continue to influence his world perspective to this day. These days Robert can be found during cooler weather engaged in activities such as video taping, recording and writing in Bob’s Garage with Frida Dawg (who, we are reminded, has procured a manager due to her recent YouTube fame).
Robert wrote this book for his maternal grandfather who introduced him to nature and National Geographic and Field and Stream magazines. Twenty-five copies of the book were assembled by hand for distribution among select relatives and friends. Most of the twenty-five copies have disappeared over the years. Trekkin’ has been faithfully protected and reproduced by Michael Morrissey, friend and co-conspirator whose own life, traveling, philosophy and photography career was inspired by ‘Bob’.
In terms of formal philosophy Robert has maintained thirty-forty notebooks of favorite quotes created over the years and at this moment, can’t remember a single one. But he leaves us with this advice: Carpe Diem and Follow Your Bliss!
We hope you enjoy this captivating journey that is timeless yet reflects an era when young people felt that no boundaries existed and the world was filled with wonder, grandeur and the potential for world peace and understanding. Perhaps we can make this happen again. We need to live our dreams.
Much appreciation to Robert for his assistance during this project. As I write, I have a tiny puppy resting just under my chin. Thanks, Bob, for reminding us of what is truly important in life. We honor your life, your times, and your purpose and spirit and hope that by re-publishing this work, it can be shared with others.
- - Jennifer Hoffman
Born in the United States, Michael Morrissey was initially drawn to Paris in the early 1970’s. Trekking to Katmandu, he found himself driving the Magic Bus with an increasing involvement in photography as a way of capturing, in an instant, that which could never be explained in words. As a landscape architect, and master-of many-trades, Michael lived and worked in Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Japan, where he co-founded Refugees International. In Thailand he worked with the UNHCR developing refugee camps. After creating several real estate management companies based in Bangkok, Mike focused his passions: travel and photography. An inveterate global traveler with a penchant for discovering off- the-beaten paths, he has experienced moments of terror and peace, sadness touched by joy, acquiring a deep awareness of the connectedness present among all people and cultures and a deep respect for the poignant, majestic yet fragile natural world.
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Facing the World: San Francisco Published June 14, 2010
Facing the World Egypt Published May 25, 2010