The Travels 'o Wee Jimmy

Due to the author's inability to stay long in one place, this site will always be "under construction."

In the very first birding book I ever owned is an inscription, "To my own wee Jimmy with love. Teal."  Teal was Alexander Forbes Fleming, a Glaswegian who came to the San Francisco Bay Area in the 20's by way of a lake in northern Canada.  As did his brothers, he set up a construction-related business: interior decoration.  My father - raised in a Scottish family - was one of Fleming's employees.

When our errant father disappeared around my 3rd year, his employer - and my godfather - became a stand-in parent on occasion and took me on many vacations to the mountains and valleys of California.  No mean feat during WW II what with rationing in effect on almost any imaginable commodity.

Perhaps I picked up the itchy feet from the errant parent, the Fleming Clan, or maybe from my mother's side: Clan Stuart.  Whatever the source, "Wee" Jimmy has kept up his travels over the years.  You can see just where in the world this lad has been, but the stories that will begin to appear in this spot might bring you a bit of laughter, education, and - hopefully - some arm chair adventure.

In 1984 we took our first cruise.  It was my wife Ana's idea and I said No way!   Pollution, waste of money and a lot of other objections.  But she was insistent and so I said - hoping to make it more resistible to her - "Well, we'll only do this once, so let's not take a cheapie cruise, full of screaming kids, let's take this two-weeker that goes thru the Panama Canal."  Again, thanks to my Scottish godfather's oft-repeated tales of the great engineering project the Canal was.

The end result: Ana got seasick while I logged 25 new birds and generally had a good time.  Oh, Ana came out OK, and we have made another 12 cruises since, but I found a lot of quiet time on the ship and finally realized that even if I objected to cruise ships on principal, there were always people standing in line to get on them.

Well, all of this to introduce a travel concept.  Because this was a slightly upscale cruise, there were hardly any kids but a lot of old guys - at the time we were in our early 40s.  What we noticed were two common themes: many people had saved until their retirement to make this special trip and many were "mobility challenged" - canes, walkers, wheelchairs.  Ana and I decided that we were not going to do this: we would travel when we could and, when we got to that age we could sit home and look over the picture albums.  And so we did.   And we still have a couple of places we'd like to check out, and then, as a "crowning achievement" we are leaving an Alaska cruise till when they have to roll us on board!

What you will not find here is the typical travel log or Backwater's Barefoot Guide to French Guinea.  These are true-life adventures and the amount of and type of notes I kept at any given time was consistent with the person I was at that time - of course there will surely be a bit of exaggeration for effect, and a bit of plain old forgetting of some details, and ...

PS: On every trip since 1965, I have always carried my Swiss Army Knife.  I borrowed the American Express logo for my use of the SAK:  I don't leave home without it.

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Last updated August, 2011. Comments or questions?