Carla King—Living the Life of Her Dreams

Listen, chat with, learn, and get inspired by Carla at the Power of the Road online conference, April 7 to 11, 2014. A restless spirit and adventurer from way back, Carla will talk about how to leverage restless and fear and use that energy to live a full life. 

This bio is taken from Carla’s website with permission. To get her full misadventuring story, visit her website.

Carla’s Motorcycle Misadventures began when she was 14 years old in rural North Carolina. She identified the broken down old Honda enduro in the barn as her escape vehicle and her dad said “If you can fix it you can ride it.” He helped her do just that and she rode through the tobacco fields to the woods and the creek and to the edge of town and back almost daily, sometimes falling down and sometimes breaking down, and either fixing it or walking it home.

She was 16 when her family moved to South San Jose, California, and her dad got another bike, a red Honda CL 175 K7 Scrambler. He bought it to ride to IBM, and put a luggage rack on it along with a big black carrier on the top back for groceries and his IBM briefcase and toolbox, plus a windscreen. It had an engine protector and front crash bar with foot pegs so he could haul her twin brothers on it for short distances when they went camping.

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Exit stage left with the bikes until she was married to a man who rode. She rode with him a couple of times on the back and hated it, and early in their marriage he bought a used Yamaha 650 Maxim for her 25th birthday. The rode together a lot, until they split up after he didn’t go with her to Europe because of work obligations (the fourth year in a row). She ended up riding around alone and finding it quite nice, after an angst-ridden week, and she changed. She went where she wanted, when she wanted and alone or with who she wanted, and she was hooked.

Carla lived Europe for a couple of years, motorcycling and mountain biking, working as a technical writer and saving money to travel.  Back home again, her first opportunity as a travel writer came in 1994. By that time, she had already worked for about ten years as a freelance technical writer in Silicon Valley and in Multimedia Gulch.

Following her heart, she went to the Book Passage Travel Writing conference to learn how to write travelogues. She became the motorcycling, travel writing, live-dispatches-from-the-road-to-the-internet gal. American Borders is a book based the 1995 chronicles of breakdowns in small towns all around the USA during a four-month stint as a test rider for Ural America during their R&D phase, testing and improving the bike for the American market. What eventually became the Motorcycle Misadventures series continued in China, India, Europe, and Africa on other cranky indigenous motorcycles like the Chinese Chang Jiang and the Royal Enfield Bullet.

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When Carla and Lisa Alpine co-founded Self-Publishing Boot Camp in 2010 it was just to educate a few author buddies in need in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first was a group of eight authors and was held in Lisa’s living room. It grew. And how! Lisa returned to writing and teaching, while Carla continued with Self Pub Boot Camp. She’s now firmly established and highly regarded as an expert in self-publishing, and is in demand as a speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference, Bay Area Independent Publishers Association, Central Coast Writers Conference, even events like Overland Expo. And now she’s the self-publishing columnist for PBS MediaShift.

People think of Carla as a motorcyclist, a writer, or a traveler, depending on what community she’s in at the moment, and she loves all those things, as well as hiking, yoga, snorkeling and scuba diving, bicycling and, finally, gardening, which seems contrary to her moveable feast of a lifestyle. She’s on the management team of The Ted Simon Foundation, which helps travelers spread the message of “intentional and responsible” travel by creating works of art and literature. And she’s still teaching publishing to authors and small press, and writing books about her own travels.


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 In 2013 she left her beloved San Francisco Bay Area for temporary lodging in Borrego Springs to finish a writing project, and today she splits her time between San Diego and Baja California with the love of her life and equal partner in adventure.

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Author, writer, student and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.

2 Comments on “Carla King—Living the Life of Her Dreams

  1. I have sat in at couple of Carla’s writing, self publishing talks, I encourage everyone to attend one of her talks. Carla is truly a do it all motorcycle woman. I am proud to be her friend.