Bruce Hirst is a Director of Pure Traveller and a Tour Manager with Johnny H Adventures.
Based in Sydney, Bruce is a retired general nurse and nurse educator who has also served in the Army Reserve as a Nursing Officer.
Armed with a Certificate IV Disability Services, Bruce has led Johnny H Adventures in the USA and New Zealand (2019).
Bruce’s love of travel has taken him all over the world — many of those trips with wife Lyn as well as with friends, family and social groups. His passport features stamps from New Zealand, Malaysia, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Italy, United States, China, France, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Portugal, New Guinea, Abu Dhabi, Alaska.
When he’s not travelling, Bruce is an active member of Probus and Toastmasters. You can read more about Bruce and his adventures below.
You toured the USA with Johnny H in January (2016), what stood out for you from that trip?
“The biggest thing that I noticed was the personal growth of the participants. Some of them, for the first time, had to be their own person, make their own decisions and be accountable for them. An example of that is that we’d stop at a supermarket for lunch and ask everyone to go and find a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a drink. They would bring it back, show it to Helen and I, and if was OK they would go ahead and buy it. Come lunchtime, that is what they would have as that’s what they had chosen.
Our objective is to provide an experience that is as close to mainstream as is practical. As the parents often say, they get to see and do things that if it wasn’t for Johnny H, they would never get to do. As part of my training I’ve had a lot of exposure to the activities that people ordinarily do in a group home, which are very limiting. Johnny H gets people outside of their comfort zone and pushes the limits which makes it more enjoyable. Every day is active, engaging and exciting.”
How did your own love affair with travel begin?
“I do recall the very first time we went overseas – it was such a big event in our lives back then. Scott, our eldest son, was 14 months old. It was 1975 and we went to New Zealand with Scott’s godparents. For a few years our travel was mostly kid-focused – we did a lot of camping.
Penang was probably our first adventure into unknown waters. I remember quite distinctly after being in the plane for six hours, the pilot said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve just left Australia.”
Where else have your travels taken you?
“In 2001, with the boys grown up, Lyn & I moved to England. Lyn wanted to go to the Chelsea Flower Show and I wanted to go to the Edinburgh Tattoo because of my Scottish heritage. One’s in April and the other’s in August so the only way we could fund a holiday that long was if I worked. On our first day in London Lyn was out shopping and spent 100 pounds by lunchtime! The exchange rate was awful.
We lived in Bristol and I worked at the Royal Infirmary for 3 months. Lyn would pick me up from the hospital and we’d go out every day after work, because summer was coming on. We then moved to Portobello in Edinburgh where I worked in the Royal Infirmary. I worked 4 days on and had 3 days off which gave us great opportunity to travel. In that time we went all over Scotland, even as far as the Orkneys.
During that time we did one of those Trafalgar tours – 12 days, 9 cities, 5 countries – and went on a side trip to Vienna. When we started our long journey home we flew to Toronto, Canada. We came across on the Rocky Mountaineer Train, down to San Francisco and then home. We were gone for 186 days.”
Has there been a standout amongst it all?
“The Yukon and Alaska. I’ve done the cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage twice. We’ve just come back from a tour with a group of 16 and saw Dawson City, the Northern Lights, the Arctic Circle and Whitehouse — that was just fabulous. As a tour director is takes a certain amount of energy but just the vastness of Alaska and the Yukong is mind-blowing.”
To find out more or to book your next adventure, call 1300 053 001 or email email@example.com.