Why Hermit Crabs?

Well, a few reasons:

  • We’ll be carrying our home on our backs as we travel.
  • We’re both somewhat shy, so having a shell to hide in seems appropriate.
  • When they were little, Alison and her sister had Hermit Crabs as pets, and many years later on a Belizean island they and their mother inaugurated the Hermit Crab Preservation Society, which has only four members (Toby being the fourth), no rules, no website and no activities…it was one of those “you had to be there” moments.


About Toby

Toby Profile

Toby studied Electronics in Edinburgh and never quite managed to leave the city after finishing. He ended up running teams around the world designing chips (integrated circuits) including some of the first cameras for mobile phones and some devices for power line communications. He never managed to satisfactorily explain to any member of his family exactly what designing chips involves.

In 2003, he apprehended Alison as she tried to steal a beer from him in an Edinburgh nightclub (on a school night as well) and has been under her spell in Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders ever since.

He dreams of being an accomplished musician, photographer, cinematographer, gardener, cook, actor, engineer and all-round renaissance man. He hopes that travel will help him decide:

  • What he wants to be when he grows up
  • Where he wants to live as he grows up

About Alison

AlisonAlison grew up on the coast of southern California and, after graduating with a BA in Women’s Studies from UCSB, an MA in Psychology from CSULB, and a PhD in Social Psychology from CU Boulder, she moved across “the pond” to take up a lectureship  in experimental social psychology at Cambridge University and subsequently the University of Edinburgh. As an academic social psychologist Alison has studied a variety of phenomena, including prejudice and stereotyping, judgment and decision making, and the factors that contribute to making individuals feel they are their “true self.” Some of her work is described in further detail here.

It was while living in the UK that Alison stole a man’s beer at a cheesy nightclub and, eventually, married that man. [Apparently the penalty for theft in Edinburgh is marriage!]


Having been in education since the age of 3, however, Alison has decided it is time to see what else is out there. Luckily for her, the man whose beer she stole was also prepared to chuck it all in and explore the world with her.

Unlike Toby, Alison has no intentions of growing up. But like Toby, she has designs on being a photographer (mainly cats and donkeys), rock star (karaoke will have to suffice in the meantime), and/or wildlife crusader (Toby and Alison will be volunteering at wildlife projects along the way).

Oh, and they’ll be taking pictures of and doing their best to preserve the hermit crabs of the world too!