Despite his appearance here, Ridlon Kiphart is anything but a fish out of water. In fact, after getting to know him, we can state with confidence that Ridlon is the kind of guy who can adapt to any condition in any place - and find something positive to take away from the experience.  "The places I find most fascinating are those that pose the greatest challenges, and that's where I really thrive," he says. "I love operating without a lot of 'pieces' - you know, the conveniences you find in other places. I love being disconnected from things like cell phones and BlackBerrys, which won't work in most of the places I like to go."  Ridlon's ultimate travel goal is an around-the-world expedition, but he assures us that he does put the brakes on every now and then. As a member of the ultraprestigious Explorers Club, he'll take time off from his adventures to attend the club's annual dinner - at which he has eaten "vertebrate ocular parts" ("eyeballs" to the rest of us).  And if you think a guy who spends 322 days a year traveling has only a superficial relationship with the concept of home, you've never had an extended conversation with Ridlon.  "For me, home is wherever I am at that particular moment," he says, echoing what he wrote in his contest essay, in which he stated that he considered "the middle of nowhere" to be his home away from home. "There are so many places unknown, so many places left untouched."



Third-Prize Winner
Leslie Monk



I'm 33 years old, but I feel like I'm … Definitely younger than 33. If I could be 28 forever, I'd be happy.



My first airplane trip was … When I was 7 or 8 years old. I went to Raleigh, North Carolina, with my Brownies troop.



When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up to be … A guest star on The Muppet Show.



Five years from now, I want to …
Be able to cook fish well, and to not have allergic sneezing spells.



Clark Kent (Superman) or Bruce Wayne (Batman)? Bruce Wayne. He has cooler gadgets. He's like a Brookstone store on steroids!



If I'm having a party and have to prepare one dish, it would be … Fondue - cheese and chocolate.



Sing in the car or shower? Both.



My go-to song when I'm in the mood to belt out a tune: Anything from Man of La Mancha.