Callum was brought up in the UK and quit school when he realized that he was not ready for formal education (or was it vice-versa?). He spent the rest of his youth in the Scottish Hebrides as a crofter and lobster fisherman.
In 1968, Callum emigrated to Canada. There he eventually found his true vocation, trading a shovel for a trowel, and obtained degrees in archaeology and anthropology, specializing in Arctic cultures. He still takes on a field project or two every year in the Canadian Arctic, looking for, recording, and protecting archaeological sites (almost 1,500 to date in the Canadian Arctic and Atlantic Canada) on proposed industrial properties while his Inuk guide does the more serious work of watching out for hungry polar bears.
Callum spends several months each year as a lecturer and Zodiac driver on expedition cruises, mostly in the north Atlantic and Arctic, from the Scottish Islands and Ireland to the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, the Northwest Passage, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Sable Island, and occasionally in Antarctica and even in warmer climes. He revels in driving or catching boats on shore in all types of seas, and finding and interpreting archaeological sites for cruise guests. Callum and spouse Jane Sproull Thomson—who introduced him to the Arctic and archaeology back in 1977—make their home in idyllic Courtenay, Vancouver Island, and spend summers at their cottage on the Northumberland Strait in Nova Scotia, overlooking historic Pictou Harbour.