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GirlGeek of the Week
June 2001

Carla King

Carla King

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, PC World, travel writing for magazines and newspapers, and writing a book about her three motorcycle trips. "Life is not boring!"

When did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers and technology?

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.

How do you earn a living?

Writing: technical writing, technical journalism, and travel writing.

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, I am always tinkering with it, and I love interacting with people who write to me who have done the same kinds of things.

What 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.

What would be the title of your autobiography?


Who is the person you most admire?

Dervla 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.

When and where were you the happiest?

When I was living in Nice, France for six months in 1993, writing a travel guidebook to mountain biking in the area.

If you could have one super power what would it be?

Time travel.



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