25 Things You Don’t Know About Me



Yeah, this post was inspired by one of those dumb internet memes. I saw it on someone’s blog and thought it might be fun.


We’ve been traveling together for a while now, but apart from the obvious stuff like books, music and traveler’s tales, we really don’t know that much about each other. That’s a bit strange, considering how long we’ve shared the road.

Road friendships develop in compressed time. In a week you can reach a depth of familiarity that would take a year under normal circumstances. Maybe it’s because time is limited: we’re more open, more willing to share, and less afraid of judgement. Relationship development is a process of mutual self-disclosure, after all.

So here goes… 25 random things about myself, scribbled down as they occurred to me today…


1.  I hate calling people on the phone. It takes me days to get around to it. I don’t receive many calls either. Three people in the world have my phone number.

2.  I played the lead role of Robin Hood in the school play in 6th grade. I did a bunch of other theatre stuff in high school too, including improv.

3.  I spent nearly 20 years training in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. Every day. And I earned two black belts in these arts. It taught me more than university ever did. Travel—taking that knowledge out into the world—taught me the rest.

4.  I can’t stand to be around people who pretend to be something they’re not. And I will not be associated with them. Most of all, I can’t stand someone who lies to him or herself.

5.  I got kicked out of school a lot and was totally expelled in the 10th grade. Mostly because I hated being told what to do.

6.  My favorite film stars are Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. I’ve watched their films more times than I can count. I don’t really watch any current films, and I’m completely out of touch with anything that’s happened in Hollywood since the mid ’90’s.

7.  I’m a slow person to get to know, but I’m absolutely loyal to my friends. That’s my strongest trait. The opposite is also true. When someone has done something to hurt or betray me, I shut that person out of my life. I become completely indifferent to them, and I never have anything to do with them again.

8.  Two television shows shaped my early teenage years: MacGyver and Moonlighting. To me the greatest thing about MacGyver was that he had all these outdoor skills—on one show he was skydiving, on another he was flying a hang glider and mountain climbing. It inspired me to want to learn those things too. And I also respected the fact that MacGyver was intelligent and made being smart cool. I took chemistry and physics in high school because of it (I didn’t learn anything fun, but that’s another story). Moonlighting made up for MacGyver’s lack of cool in many other areas. David Addison was quick witted, funny, and he had great taste in music. Put them together and you have two sides of the ideal personality. At least in high school.

9.  Compliments make me uncomfortable. I don’t know why.

10.  My friend Joe Wilson once said, “You may be the most HONEST person I know.”  It makes me uncomfortable to hear that (see Number 9 above), but I guess it’s true.

11.  The first concert I ever went to was Honeymoon Suite. The most recent concert was The Church.

12.  I hate getting up in the morning. I have to set the alarm to get up by 9.

13.  I’ve sometimes had people come up to me and say “thank you so much, you changed my life” because of my fitness work. I don’t feel all warm and fuzzy inside when this happens. In fact, I feel nothing. Not because I’m not happy for this person. But because I didn’t do anything—THEY did. They found the discipline, will and determination to make changes in their life. They don’t need me or anyone else to lead them. It makes me uncomfortable to have that “teacher” or “guru” status projected on me. They should be shining that light on themselves. THEY are the heroes of their own life story.

14.  At the same time, I am happy when someone tells me that something I wrote in a blog or travel article inspired them to make a change in their life, or take a journey they were afraid to set out on. Because I remember all those people who told me I couldn’t do it.

15.  On more than one occasion during my “starving artist” years, I was down to the last $15 in my wallet. That was all the money I had in the world. Rather than hoard it, I went out and bought the best bottle of wine I could afford. I was poor, but I didn’t have to be miserable. Sure enough, an opportunity showed up the next day.

16.  The real message behind everything I write is that you can create the life of your choice. You can live in any way you see fit, no matter how many people call you a fool or tell you otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with following even your most outrageous dreams. You only get one life and in the end, YOU are the one who has to look back on it and evaluate it. You can do it. I know it’s possible, because I’m doing it. Don’t accept the shit that they sell ya. Follow your own path.

17.  The first thing I ever won was a Max Headroom sweatshirt. I won it as part of a draw after mailing in a bunch of those old rubber Coca-Cola bottle cap liners.

18.  I went out and got a paper route in 6th grade because I wanted to buy a stereo and needed the money. I had a lot of part time and summer jobs after that, including pumping gas, planting trees, pruning Christmas trees at a Christmas tree farm, cutting lawns, shoveling snow, painting houses, and working as a carpenter’s assistant.

19.  I spent several years of my life volunteering in an organization where I defended and enforced the “party line,” and I was harsh with people who couldn’t meet those standards or who questioned them. This is something I’m not proud of. In hindsight, I was wrong to defend it and they were right to question it.

20.  I had braces on my teeth for 3 years, from 8th to 10th grade. I refused to wear those elastic things during the day because I couldn’t speak properly and it made me feel stupid. My orthodontist decided to make each tightening adjustment two cranks instead of one to force me to give in. We fought a war of attrition for the entire 3 years, and every time he adjusted my braces it hurt so bad I couldn’t eat for 3 days. Not even ice cream. But I never gave in.

21.  I suck at math, and I sometimes count on my fingers when doing simple sums. What the hell, I can’t be good at everything can I?

22.  Related to Number 4 above: I feel very strongly that it’s unforgivable to exaggerate or lie about one’s travel stories. Either do it or don’t. There’s no shame in either choice. But don’t pretend that you did.

23.  I can’t stand rap music, reality TV, or watching sports on the telly. The only sport I enjoy watching is sumo. I got hooked on it when I lived in Japan.

24.  I’ve got an extremely good memory for stories and incidents, and I remember the details of our exploits better than any of my friends. I write because I hate the thought of all those stories and memories just fading away.

25.  I have a major weakness for Cadbury Eggs. Some are filled with delicious caramel. And the original Creme Egg is filled with a lovely whipped white that surrounds the rich yellow of that magical faux-yolk. Both are lovingly encased in a protective shell of thick chocolate that provides a satisfying crunch even as it reveals the delicate frothy treasure within. Like gold or the convenient alibi of a sprig of mistletoe, Cadbury Eggs are a highly valued commodity because they’re only available once each year.


So there you go. Lots of trivia, lots of secrets, and a few serious things thrown in for reflection.

How about you? Got something you’d like to share with me? Post your “25 Things” in the comments below. I’d love to get to know you better.


About the author

Ryan Murdock

Author of A Sunny Place for Shady People and Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Writer at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


  • Great post Ryan! I learned a few things I didn’t know about you. And don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans on the stuff you didn’t mention. 🙂

  • You? Expelled in the 10th grade? My memory must really be slipping. What I do remember very well are two things. Free use of a hoist to do oil changes on that white CRX, and the Great Propane Scam. That’s all I’m saying about that.

    • I went to the Catholic high school in B’ville that year. They held a meeting of the school board in the summer in my honour, and I got a phone call saying they’d “prefer” that I don’t come back for grade 11 LOL. I got suspended a pile of times leading up to it. Some hilarious stories in there, great material for a book. As for Sunoco, in hindsight all of us look back on it as the best job we ever had. Didn’t seem that way at the time, but jeez, what more could you ask for?

  • That was a really great post, Ryan!

    You’ve already got plenty of dirt on me, but something you might not know is that around 6-8 years old I wore a bright red felt cowboy hat, sported a pair of boots, and rode a horse almost everyday from spring to winter – dreams of barrel racing and expert roping drove me. My mom kept the hat until just 2 months ago when I gave it to some of my great nieces.

  • Great post Ryan! 25 things you wrote was honest – and I think, I know you now better ;-). And it was pretty close couple of years ago that we would meet – but circumstances was against us.

    I tell you one thing about myself: you are the one person to thank, that I’m so fit I am today (as you told – you don’t feel anything about that…) but I do – and I did the work, when you guided me.

    • Thanks Henri, glad you liked it. Well, we’re on the same side of the pond these days anyway! And you’re right — YOU were the one who did the work and called up the discipline to get so fit. I’m glad I could be a part of that. Now pat yourself on the back 😉

  • Since I am only beginning to learn odds and ends about you ( and enjoying the journey ) I feel I should offer a few odds and ends of my own.
    1. I have never had a drivers’ license. I would catch a plane before drive a car. I also have been behidn the wheel of a cessna 150 more than a car 😉
    2. I, too, heartily believe we create our lives.

    • Maggie,

      So you have a private pilot’s license but not a driver’s license? That’s a cool angle. (I’m planning to start private pilot training before the end of this year)

      I try to live my life based on your #2.

  • I can attest to your inability to wake up early in the morning or being miserable if you did. Gave up several times trying to get you out of bed to go to school or for breakfast before school.

    • Hey, I got up for breakfast 90% of the time! (but i was a total failure at waking up to train with Jim before school – that, unfortunately, was doomed from the start)

  • thank u for sharing.i love reading your stuff…i ll tell you why..your spirit for adventure floors me.i dream of writing a novel or a book.

  • OK, here goes:

    – My spelling is impeccable, but I am numerically dyslexic. I constantly get numbers out of order or reversed. I too am fairly lousy at math, and still don’t remember my multiplication tables properly past about 6 x 6.

    – I have a vast store of obscure factual knowledge, most of which consists of trivia (I was lethal at Trivial Pursuit), but I can almost never recall exactly where or how I came by the information.

    Been enjoying your stuff. It seems we’ve been down some similar paths.

  • I’m going against the grain here since I dance to my own drummer.
    #1 thing about me that EVERYONE knows is: Im absolutely, gut-wrenchingingly, panic stricken, anxiety ridden, vomit inducing, absolutely terrified of flying. (Couldnt fly for 30 yrs) But I sucked it up, took a short flight alone to Nova Scotia, then 6 mths later, flew alone to the UK for a family event. And of course, for 12 yrs, Ive been flying to my fiancé in Ohio. And yes, Im still all of the above. HATE it!!

    #2 thing that NOBODY knows about me is that my nickname as Library Hitperson is really a misnomer. I actually hated kicking you lot out of Library, but it was a necessary evil. I wanted to be the “cool” Librarian, but someone had to be tough. And if truth be known, u guys could be lil buggers at times. :-p

  • Here are some things you don’t know about me:
    1) I’ve just discovered your blog, know very little about you, but really like what I see so far.
    2). I’m ‘way older than most of your readers, but hey, you’re never too old for adventure, eh?
    3) I’m a closet rock-n-roll singer…think Janis Joplin, late 60s. (See, I told you I was old!)

    • Thanks Evelyn, glad you’re enjoying my stuff. Great music never gets old – and neither do travellers (we just change gears a bit…).

  • Thanks Ryan, yet again I have throuroughly enjoyed your blog! I also thought that I would share a little tidbit with you. Given your love for the Cadbury Egg, I thought I’d make you aware that Cadbury has expanded their delectable product lineup to include the “Cadbury Screme Egg” which available around Halloween each year. They are very similar to the Cadbury Easter Creme Egg, but have are more “Dr. Seuss-eque”: being filled will delicious green yolks like Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. According to Cadbury’s Austrialian website, there are only 243 days until Halloween as I type this, meaning if you can get past the color, you can enjoy these treats more than once a year! If for some reason you aren’t able to get these in your neck of the woods, let me know and I’ll have to send you a “scare” package! 😉

    • Yeah, I heard about that! I’ve gotta try those. I don’t know if I’ll scream. But if you send me some, I’ll probably squeal like a little girl. I may even throw myself down on the mattress and kick my feet.

  • I read through your list. I must admit I feel a bit like an outcast. The following is the list which I have compiled.

    The only things that bug me are complainers and hate.

    I am very open, but still pragmatic and prudent.

    I have an honest do good streak even when no one is looking. Even when I ‘rebel’ against this nature, I still end up doing something very Pollyanna.

    have a habit of looping songs I like.

    I like the way I smell.

    I love myself a lot.

    I don’t ‘chase’ after anything. I feel a spiritually centered passion can enhance the purpose and meaning one derives from their life. However, I believe blind, relentless, ambitious, doggedly determined drive can become an obsession.

    I don’t keep track of time with a watch, instead I use the sun and my inner time clock. I do not use an alarm clock.

    I do not do the same thing as the day before, except sleep and eat. I don’t make plans. I just do what I feel.

    I like to believe and attempt to prove that I can do anything and everything I want to, on my own.

    Keep on Living


  • I enjoyed this list! I called it a long time ago, you are cool dude. I guess what came through is WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) personality and your no nonsense honesty.
    (sorry for the complements) – Vinny.
    PS im still using the same email the was set up for the event with Will, so every time I log in, I think of you guys. 🙂

  • #21 is an issue for me as well… My shame is somewhat lessened reading that someone I admire (heehee, I know you hate that) suffers from the same affliction.

    • There’s no shame in that — I’m much more suspicious of anyone who professes a love of math!

  • I absolutely loathe and refuse to take public transportation. I will not go near an airport, train station, or bus station. I believe it is the most degrading and dehumanizing experience one can go through. I bicycle and walk everywhere though I do have a driver’s license. I travel in my head, especially through books. Speaking of which, I love your tome, “Vagabond Dreams”, Ryan. You are a gifted writer. I’m about half way through it, savoring it like good wine. I greatly admire your will power in leaving Ivannia in Costa Rica. To have such a beautiful, sensual, unaffected, and virginal young Latina in love with you is a rare treasure. I would not have been able to leave her. With all respect, I take issue with your comment on missing seeing her bloom into the full beauty of womanhood. She was 19 when you knew her so I presume you are extrapolating her into her twenties. A female is at her wondrous peak in her teenage years, mid to late teens, depending on the girl. That is my perspective anyway. Keep punching buddy.

    • Thanks John, great to hear you’re enjoying the book. If you like self-propelled sorts of journeys, check out Old Glory by Jonathan Raban, about his journey down the Mississippi in a small boat. Also Coasting, where he sails around bits of the UK.


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