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Blogger Rob Annis
Where do you live now: Indianapolis, Indiana.
I grew up in Indiana, then moved to New York, after I graduated college, intent on becoming the new, drunker Charles Bukowski. Fortunately for my liver, I took a job as an editor for an aviation publication I wasn't remotely qualified for. Fast-forward two years later, my ex-girlfriend is stalking me and I need a cheap place for me and my dog to live. I ended up moving in with a buddy in Indy, thinking I'd save some cash and move to Arizona or Colorado after a year or two. I met my wife instead. For years, I tried to convince her to move west, but after a while, I realized Indianapolis had everything I needed – friendly people, lots of trees and an often overlooked cultural scene. Best of all, the cheap cost of living means we get to spend our disposable income on travel.
Scariest airline flown: I've had some scary flights – a Frontier flight to Bozeman, Montana, nearly put me off flying forever after we hit so much turbulence – but I can't single out one particularly dangerous airline. Delta wins hands-down as the most frustrating airline I've ever flown on because of its constant delays and sometimes-surly flight attendants.
Favorite city/country/place: Acadia and Yosemite are my two favorite national parks that I would love to return to year after year – unfortunately, there are too many places I've yet to see and experience.
Most remote corner of the globe visited: About 60 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean near Jamaica. Instead of a traditional wedding, my wife and I decided on a quickie ceremony and spent the money we saved on scuba diving.
Favorite guidebook series: I copy edited Frommer's guidebooks for a couple of years, so those books dredge up too many bad memories. I've had some good experiences with the Lonely Planet series, but I prefer to use local message boards and Twitter to find out what I want to know and not what a guidebook author thinks I should know. Striking up a conversation with folks at a trailhead has never failed to bring a great recommendation for a local place to eat, drink or crash.
Dream travel destination: I'm visiting one of my dream spots this summer when I travel to Europe and climb some of the big mountains of the Tour de France. I'm likely going to hate it while I'm starved for oxygen at 6,000 feet with another 1,000 feet to go until the summit, but I'm confident I'll be able to look back on it later and wonder, "Why did I do that to myself?"
I'd also love to pedal through Cuba before the embargo ends. I've heard so much about the country over the years; I'd like to catch a last glimpse of how it is now before there's a McDonald's and a Starbucks on every corner.
Solo traveler or group traveler? Mostly small groups, but I try to take an afternoon on most trips to spend on my own. The last time I was in Nashville, I ended up in a bar a bit before noon on a Monday. It was just me, the bartender and a gray-haired musician singing Hank Williams and Merle Haggard songs. For about an hour, it was an audience of two, but he belted out the tunes like he was in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Grand Ole Opry. I'll remember that moment of cheap beer and classic country until I die.
Hotel, hostel or other? Tent in the backwoods after you've spent all day hiking, pedaling or paddling to get there. Bonus points if someone brought along a cooler full of Three Floyds beer.
Favorite music to listen to while traveling: I've got a road trip playlist – mostly Americana songs that evoke a strong sense of a particular destination. One of the highlights of a trip my wife and I took last year was driving along Nevada's Winnemucca Road, which you might remember from Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere." If I'm behind the wheel late at night and need to keep my eyes open, I cue up Whiskeytown's "Strangers Almanac" on my iPod and sing along.
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