"Then we get in a boat, which has been literally dug out of a tree, and it's leaking ALL over the place, so we're bailing water with cups as we go."
With a glass of champagne in one hand and a plate of fresh-cut pineapple in the other, Bruce is welcoming me back to Central America and filling me in on the side adventure he had in my absence, complete with slide show and video footage.
First, in a random town he meets a Peace Corps volunteer from Maryland named Zach, who is on sick leave from the village where he's been stationed for the past couple years, two bus rides and two boat rides to the northwest of Panama City.
Zach invites Bruce to visit his village and offers detailed travel instructions, but will not be able to accompany him for the journey.
"So I'm in this boat looking over at the shore, and there's NOTHING there. Just dense, unbroken jungle, as far as the eye can see. And I'm starting to wonder how we're ever going to find this place, when all of a sudden the guy next to me in the boat lets out this cry."
Bruce imitates the sound, which could belong to a bird or a monkey.
"And then, from somewhere in the jungle, the crycomes back!"
This is how Bruce gains entry to an extremely remote corner of the country, where no cameraman has gone before, and where he will spend the next five days sitting in people's huts and eating the potato-like pifá fruit and filming interviews in a native language he can't understand.
At first they name him Choey, which means "jumping deer," and then, when they decide they like him, they change his name to Burra, which is apparently a real person's name.
The village has a surprisingly wide distribution of ages; babies and children and teenagers and adults and grandparents are all represented.
Bruce watches teenagers repairing fishing nets and playing soccer and baking bread in a metal bowl with a small fire on a sheet of zinc positioned over the top .
He watches a mother bathing her babies in buckets.
He watches a fifteen-year-old kid having a seizure, about which no one really knows what to do so they put him in a hammock and watch, until someone comes over and grinds a plant into a paste and puts the paste on the kid's wrists and ankles, and the seizing stops.
Watching Bruce relive each moment of this experience, I sense that something in him has shifted.
When I ask if he feels this is true, he gives an unequivocal yes.
"This whole time," he says thoughtfully, "there's been this fear."
He searches for the words:
"Fear of not moving? ... Fear of not making progress? ... I don't know what it was... I was afraid to slow down."
"And," he continues, "at the same time, I had this feeling that we were missing out on all the good stuff... That all around us were these amazing experiences, these amazing people, just waiting to be discovered.
"... And we were blowing right by them, not even knowing they were there."
For the first time, Bruce concludes, he has had exactly the kind of experience he imagined and hoped was out there, just beyond the purview of his progress-blinders.
And -- also for the first time -- footage now exists of an indigenous Panamanian tribe and their stories -- offering a different picture of the Panama we so often hear about, as one boasting American-style skyscrapers and $20-a-day co-working spaces and $4 coffees, to boot.
What might be waiting for YOU, to each side of a relentless progress-focus?
And as the seasons change -- how might you expand your view, so you can see it?