Last year, at age 79, Bob Harris traveled alone to Egypt, Sudan, Oman, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania looking for fun, customers, and possiblyhes not saying intelligence information.
Now 80, Harris is amazingly fit, energetic, still working, and hasnt slowed down a bit. Hes a box and paper salesman who mixes business with pleasure and intrigue. He has traveled to more than 160 countries, gathering a global network of customers and friends. He has crossed the Sahara Desert and has climbed some of the worlds major mountains. He has done projects for the Agency for International Development in Afghanistan, Somalia, and several other countries he is reluctant to reveal. He invested in people he admired and trusted, and became a wealthy man.
Journalist and author Julie Morse tells Bobs story in her aptly titled creative non-fiction book, Out of the Box: The Mostly True Story of a Mysterious Man. She interviewed Harris over a two-year period, and through him, met a few niece-like women who adventure-traveled with him from time to time. For an engaging novel-like read, she created a narrator for the book, Julianna, a composite of several women in Bobs life, herself included.
Bob Harris, then and now
All of the events in my book are based on Bobs real-life experiences, says Morse, but I created Julianna for flow and continuity, and I changed some names and circumstances for privacy reasons. Some of the chapters are in Bobs voice, taken from my interviews with him.
Out of the Box is a biography, an adventure travelogue, and a business book. Through Julianna, Morse focuses on Harriss charm, winning personality, good looks, ability to make friends and feel at home in all corners of the earth, and the free spirit that defines him.
Bob and Julianna saw this 112 camel caravan while on a 17-day camping trip in the Sahara. They traveled by van with a small group, sleeping in tents and sharing stories over campfires.
Harris describes himself has a street-smart Jewish kid from a culturally mixed Chicago neighborhood whose passion for travel was inspired by his love of history books and his older brothers stamp collection. His first adventure was a grueling passage aboard a freighter to Sweden at age 17, but it made him crave more travel. For him, no place is too remote or too dangerous, and every place has potential customers.
Harris reviews his career, offering his business philosophies and selling methods that contributed to his success as a young box salesman, publisher of Boxboard Container Magazine, an entrepreneur, an original investor in Kimpton Hotels, and for the last forty years, an independent sales rep who travels when and where he pleases.
He truly lives life to the fullest, believing no one can box you in but yourself.
Out of the Box: The Mostly True Story of a Mysterious Man
Julie C. Morse
iUniverse, 148 pages, B&W photos Hardcover, $24.95 Paperback $14.95
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4697-5984-5
Papercover ISBN 978-1-4697-5983-8
eBook ISBN 978-1-4697-5985-2
About the Author
JULIE C. MORSE has been a writer for the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Pioneer Press suburban newspaper chain. She has also worked as a real estate agent on Chicagos North Shore and writes the newspaper column, Realty InSites. She is also the author of When Billy Went Bald, a childrens book inspired by her own sons victory over cancer. She and her family live in Lake Bluff, Illinois. www.juliecmorse.com
What People Are Saying
Forays to the Middle East, across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Express railroads and up Mt. Everest read like the greatest of adventures.
- Kirkus Reviews
What a fun story and cool life. This book is chock full of adventure and a great read for the armchair traveler. Bob is an amazing person, with a terrific story to tell of a self-made man. Kirkus Review got this one correct!
- Jeff Sun, Amazon Reviewer