Congratulations to Richard Huang and Jim McPartlan for winning our 2015 Trip Giveaway Contest!
Richard won the Angkor Wat tour and will go on a 4-day trip for 2 people with 3 nights accommodations, 2 days of tours in Angkor Wat, entrance fees, breakfasts, and airport transfers. And Jim won the Tanzania Safari and will go on a 5-day trip for 2 people in a group departure. The safari includes 4 nights accommodation, group transportation in safari vehicle, English speaking safari guide, and all national park fees.
Richard on winning the 4-day Angkor Wat tour:
Richard Huang at the Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro
I live in San Mateo, California, work in San Francisco at this hot startup called Expect Labs. We’re helping others bring intelligent voice interfaces to applications. Think Siri for your app. The MIT Technology Review names us one of the 50 Smartest Companies in the world (http://www2.technologyreview.com/tr50/2014/). The others on the list include Google, Tesla, General Electric, etc. I did my undergrad at MIT, doubled majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and also Biology. I received my PhD in CS from UCSD. I was an engineer for many years at both Pre-IPO startup and industry leading large company. Nowadays my main focus is on growing/hiring Expect Labs across all functionalities.
As for traveling, I typically like trekking on volcanoes or glaciers. Too many places to list for places I’ve visited, so I’ll just give you highlights from 2014. I did a 4 day hike to the Lost City in Columbia, visited Banff National park in Canada (for the scenery and glaciers). I climbed Kilimanjaro, did the Seregenti Safari (with Adventures Within Reach), and traveled from Paris to Rome, stopping by Provence, Nice, Monaco, Cinque Terre, Pisa, and of course the Vatican City. I like traveling to visit different cultures and a lot of times for the beautiful scenery and sometimes to push my own physical limits.
I’m looking forward to this trip because I haven’t traveled that much in Asia and looking forward to visiting another UNESCO World Heritage site!
Jim on winning the 5-day Inca Trail Trek:
I grew up on the east coast, Portland, Maine and Boston, Mass. I went to college in New Orleans at Loyola University (Broadcast Production). After graduating, I moved to Japan to be part of the JET program (Japan Exchange and Teaching). I lived in a small town in northern Japan teaching English in the local Junior High Schools. After returning from Japan, I moved to Los Angeles to get my masters in Communication Management at USC (University of Southern California). I also have worked at USC for the past 15 years as well. I am currently the IT director for the Price School of Public Policy and live in Burbank, CA.
I got the travel bug in college. I like to travel to see new places (note: James has been to 21 countries and 26 states). I like the sense of discovery of a new place and to see where the road takes me. When I traveled in Europe for several weeks, I would only book accommodation about 2 days in advance. I did this because I had no predetermined plan. I would see where the road would take me. I found that is the best way to have an adventure. I have met many people and had experiences that I never would have had if I stuck to a specific plan. One time, I ended up at an wedding reception in a small town in Ireland of a couple that I just met.
Jim at the Shofukuji Zen Temple in Fukuoka, Japan
When I lived in Japan, I took advantage of my being in Asia to travel not only all over Japan, but to many other Asian countries as well. I loved traveling in Asia because there is so much to see and do. Going from backpacking in Malaysia and Thailand to the glitz and high tech of Hong Kong and Tokyo, there are many contrasts in Asia that make traveling there very interesting. I loved living in Japan. I lived in a small rural town and was very integrated into the local community. I was only 1 of 2 foreigners who lived in the town. I still have friends there and visit them every couple of years. Living abroad really lets you see a whole new world.
I am really looking forward to my trip because I have always wanted to see Africa. I have never been there. I have heard some amazing stories from friends that have traveled there. Going on a safari has been on my bucket list for a while now. I can’t wait to see the amazing wild life in their native habitat. Based on the photos I have seen on the Adventures Within Reach website, it looks like we are going to have an amazing time.
I am just starting the preparations, but I am reading up on the history of the area that I will be traveling to, setting up appointments for inoculations, and getting my camera ready! I am also looking to possibly extend my trip beyond the safari to maybe climb Kilimanjaro. If that happens, I think I will need to start training.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our 2015 Trip Giveaway Contest! Keep an eye out for our next contest.