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Blogger Dana Murph
Where was your photo taken?
Poipu Beach in Kauai, Hawaii! I leave a piece of my heart there when I'm away.
Where do you live now?
North Carolina, born and raised.
My favorite city (so far!) is Tokyo. It's a huge culture shock from what I'm accustomed to, but in a great way. The skyline is gorgeous, the people are incredibly kind and the food is awesome. The sunrises are second to none, too, and let's not forget the warm Toto toilet seats.
The USA is definitely my favorite country -- I'm sure being able to call it home has a lot to do with it. But I also love a good ole' road trip, and America is probably the best place in the world for that. The roadway system here is incredible, and there's so many remote locations that can be driven to with relative ease.
My favorite place is the Na Pali coast of Kauai, Hawaii. While there, I viewed it from boat, prop plane, and the Kalalau Trail, and I simply couldn't get enough of it. I'm a self-proclaimed sucker for natural beauty, and it doesn't get much more awe-inspiring than this!
The ideal vacation is...
Visiting remote destinations (or popular ones in the off-season). I've found myself smiling at a slew of typical tourist traps before, but given the option, I'd greatly prefer to stray from the beaten path. The setting of my ideal vacation? Beaches, a rainforest or two, mountains... basically Kauai.
On a recent visit to Panama, my husband and I drove out to the end of the pavement on one of their unnamed roads, parked the car, and walked to a desolate beach known as Punta Chame. We stayed out there for a couple of hours, gawking at the expanse around us and looking through the haze to see Panama City in the distance. We put a mile or two under our feet there, and never ran into another soul. We even managed to find a few unbroken sand dollars and a stunning, fully intact conch shell. Needless to say, that's fairly decent evidence that not too many people trek out to this point.
We also managed to leave the world behind on an unguided snowmobile trip through Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. During the winter, the bulk of the roads in the park are completely snowed over, and you can traverse the hills and valleys for miles with no sign of human impact. Of course, being able to get within a few feet of moose really helps to complete the fantasy.
Dream travel destination?
I've always dreamed of going to Bora Bora and staying in one of those glass-bottom bungalows over the ocean. In photos, the water seems so blue, so intensely clear -- something about the ocean just makes me feel more alive than anywhere else. It's a photographer's paradise, for sure.
Connected or disconnected?
Don't hate me, but I really prefer to stay connected, or at least have my GPS, internet, and smartphone within arm's reach. If I want to disconnect, I just put a temporary mental mute on my email and phone calls. I've grown to love and appreciate the security of having a smartphone for translations, directions, restaurant reviews, and whatever else I need while exploring a new place.
Favorite guidebook series?
I know I keep mentioning Hawaii, but there's just something magical about that place. And to experience that magic to the fullest, I've always used the "Revealed" series by by Andrew Doughty, regardless of island. Those books have never let me down, and they've definitely led me to a few places that I would've never found otherwise.
Scariest airline flown?
On a Delta flight cruising back into ATL in a thunderstorm, we hit a few air pockets that sent our stomachs flying. A few women and children nearby let out squeals, but other than that, I've been pretty fortunate to not have any remarkably bad experiences in the air. Knock on wood.
In January, I'm heading up to northern Montana with my hubby for a week of snowy fun. Snowblading (tiny skis, basically), adventuring in the Jeep, and the most exciting part: snowmobiling!