James’s Corner

James’s Corner

I Know What I Did Last Summer

travelerstales You might say it's trivial to talk about travel in a time of war, but I would disagree. About this time last year, six months after the World Trade Center horrors, when everyone seemed to be ditching travel plans, the perfect summer trip materialized out of the garbage. I was rooting for a dropped pencil when I came upon a National Geographic Expeditions catalog. As I idly leafed through it, my eye fell on a Greek islands family adventure that seemed custom made for me and my family.

Added on August 04, 2003

An LA Kind of Weekend

travelerstales The five of us, my wife and three teenage daughters, got back from three days in that strangest of cities, Los Angeles, where we were extras in a horror movie called Prime Evil, a tale about a huge crocodile, the result of the usual experiment-gone-terribly wrong. The purpose of the trip was so Ahna, my oldest daughter could make progress towards getting her Screen Actors Guild card but the rest of us ending up getting invited to be extras too. So we sat on the beach for two days by a lake in Santa Clarita for hours in the broiling sun, getting up well before dawn to get to the set on time.

Added on May 22, 2003

Introduction to Ireland

travelerstales When I was a boy, I remember my father sitting, lost in thought and memory, in view of a painting in our American living room. That painting was of Torc Mountain rising above the Lakes of Killarney in County Kerry, Ireland, which was for my father, home. He always seemed unreachable in this state, but whether or not he was, it was clear to me that he was filled with a longing that I at least in part understood. I loved him then as he loved Ireland—hopelessly, with every fiber of my body.

Added on April 22, 2003

A Time of Gifts

travelerstales At Travelers' Tales we talk about "the gift of travel," in fact we've even got a book by that name, but as we scurry around in this season of gift-giving, it's easy for the process to become mindless, all about objects and obligations, and not the spirit of giving. For the Christians among us, the tradition was begun by gift-bearing travelers—the three Magi who came to visit the Christ boy just born in Bethlehem. I like to think of them as good models for modern travelers roaming the world. What do you bring to others when you travel? The Magi were bringing tokens of respect for the avatar in the manger, but the things they carried were but symbols for their own attentive spirits, their reverence for life and the presence of divinity in their midst.

Added on December 22, 2002

Books to Live By

travelerstales To me, books are as important as water, air, and food. I would be a sad fellow indeed without them, and this has been true for as long as I can remember. They are as rivers flowing through a universal mind that doesn't know the bounds of time. I can be with the dead as easily as the living—Homer or Stephen King, Sri Aurobindo or Isabel Allende, Wallace Stegner or Jan Morris, Mary Shelley or Redmond O'Hanlon. Books are the aqua vita of the spirit; they form a kind of background radiation against which I measure my life and my endeavors. They buck me up when I'm down, inspire me out of torpor, galvanize me when I am ready to walk the fire.

Added on November 03, 2002