Introducing another new blogger at Gadling, Darren Murph. . .
Where was your photo taken: Just below South Point Park on the very southern tip of the Big Island of Hawaii, which is unequivocally my favorite state in America. It’s the southernmost point of the entire United States, which gave me a great sense of pride when seeing the (not technically) Southernmost Point Buoy in Key West.
Where do you live now: Raleigh, North Carolina, y’all!
Scariest airline flown: A Continental flight from Newark to Raleigh in late 2003. I’m fairly certain we flew directly through one of the most turbulent thunderstorms this world has ever seen. Extreme drops in altitude, terrified flight attendants and a lady beside me that “came to Jesus” during the voyage to really cap things off. If I’m being completely honest, it was the only time in the sky where I had a very genuine fear that I may not land in one piece. Oh, and I’ve flown Ryanair as well — no sweat there!
Favorite city/country/place: I’m going to take some liberties with this one. My favorite city in the world is Köln, Germany. There’s nothing quite like stepping off of the train, hanging a left and being greeted by the towering Cathedral (or Dom, as it were). The entire city is awe-inspiring, and the aged beauty and warm locals give it a leg up over the more well-known Berlin. My favorite country is the United States of America. I’ve yet to encounter another nation where cowboys, nomads, beach bums and mountaineers all feel at home, and the sheer amount of variety makes it a treasure trove for explorers. I can cruise the Highway to Hana and call a moose my friend in Denali National Park without ever needing a passport — not bad, eh? I just can’t settle on a favorite place, so here’s two: the gorgeous isle of Maui and the snowmobiler’s heaven that is Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Most remote corner of the globe visited: A completely deserted beach near Pinilla, Costa Rica. My wife and I drove our trusty Jeep Compass for miles down an unpaved road until we hit water. The only other creature looking out into the glistening waters of the Pacific with us was an atypically large lizard. To my knowledge, anyway.
Favorite guidebook series: I’ll confess — I’m not a huge guidebook junkie. I prefer to ingest way more information than necessary from various outlets around the web, but I have been exceptionally thrilled with the “Revealed” series from Wizard. It’s Hawaii-centric, but it’s as good as it gets for islanders.
Next trip: Ah yes, there’s always a next trip. I’ll be doing a mid-west road trip this April through WI, MN, and the Dakotas, with South Dakota’s National Parks at the top of the must-see agenda. I can’t deny that I’m already dreaming of Kauai a little later in the year, though.
Other jobs: I’m a full-time geek, which somehow entitles me to write for the quintessential tech blog on the internet: Engadget.
Favorite means of transportation: The automobile. I have a hard-and-fast rule that if a destination is within 10 hours by road, I drive. Half the trip is in the journey, and America’s roadways have a mind-boggling amount of beauty surrounding them. If the TSA continues its dive off of the deep end, the “10 hour rule” may soon get bumped to “12.”
Best guided tour experience: I’m generally one for blazing your own trail and stumbling upon something awesome, but I would’ve never experienced the warmth and magnificence of Nicaragua without a team of guides from Macuá Tours. It was a run-and-gun, single-day trip from Tamarindo, Costa Rica to Rivas, Granada and Masaya, Nicaragua. It was the first land border crossing (from one country to another) I’d ever experienced, and having a bilingual guide to help haggle in the Masaya market was a godsend. They also knew the best local places to chow down, where the monkeys came to snack during a boat outing, and all the history one could ever digest in 12 hours. I got a week’s worth of cultural immersion in a single day, and landed a few new amigos to boot.