GirlGeek of the Week
Carla's dad had an old rusty motorcycle sitting
unused in the barn, and when she was 14 she asked if she could ride
it. "You can ride it if you can fix it," he said. Since
then she has been fixing things -- motorcycles, cars, and computers.
Later, her talent for writing and for fixing things were combined
in a job writing technical manuals for supercomputers. The first
manuals she wrote were "remove and replace" manuals, so
her job was to take apart a computer and put it back together, writing
down how it was done.
Later, when she found out how much fun it was to travel, she took
motorcycle trips to different places in the world and created Web
sites so that she could write about her experiences as she was traveling.
The American Borders, China Road, and Indian Sunset dispatches were
all written during solo motorcycle rides through the U.S., China,
and India. Not only was she traveling, she was having to constantly
fix the funky old Russian, Chinese, and Indian motorcycles she rode,
and she also had to find places to hook up her computer so she could
upload her stories and digital photographs to her website.
Today she alternates between technical writing for companies like
Sun Microsystems and Philips Semiconductor, technical journalism
for sites like women.com, PC World, travel writing for magazines
and newspapers, and writing a book about her three motorcycle trips.
"Life is not boring!"
did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers
When I was 14 and learned how to fix my dad's old motorcycle so
I could ride it. I figured out then if you learned how to fix things
you could be free to do almost anything you wanted to do.
do you earn a living?
Writing: technical writing, technical journalism, and travel
Do you consider yourself a Geek?
I have been told so often that I am starting to believe it.
What is your favorite Website?
My own, www.carlaking.com.
I am always tinkering with it, and I love interacting with people
who write to me who have done the same kinds of things.
do you do when you are not working?
I love the outdoors - hiking, biking, climbing,
kayaking, running on the beach - anything like that is a necessary
antidote to working on machines and at a desk with computers.
would be the title of your autobiography?
is the person you most admire?
Murphy, an Irish woman who still, in her 70's, rides a bicycle all
around the world and writes great travel books about her experiences.
and where were you the happiest?
I was living in Nice, France for six months in 1993, writing a travel
guidebook to mountain biking in the area.
you could have one super power what would it be?