Inside 16th & L is our bi-weekly blog series showcasing the Independent Sector team here at the corner of 16th and L Streets in Washington, DC. Find out who we are, where we’re from, what we do, and what drives us. This week, Inside 16th & L introduces Ryan Murphy.
Ryan is a…
• Mature goofball
• Cat daddy
• World traveler
• Proud uncle
Hometown and alma mater
My hometown is in Upstate New York—emphasis on the Up. I always chuckle when someone tells me they are from Upstate New York and they are talking about a place that’s only an hour or two north of New York City. Anyway, I was born and raised in a quaint village—population about 2,500 to 3,000—that is 45 minutes south of the Canadian border, named Au Sable Forks—which is French. It means “of sand.” There are two rivers that meet in my town, so the forks come from the forks of the river.
Springfield College in Massachusetts is my alma mater. I was there for four years. During that time I also did a Semester at Sea where I studied abroad on a cruise ship.
What’s on your desk or in your workspace?
The question should be What’s not on my desk…and workspace or walls? Lots of trinkets and knickknacks from countries I’ve visited in the past. Definitely my famous mason jar—famous because it’s always full of iced coffee. And if it’s not full of iced coffee, you’ll definitely find another container in my office full of iced coffee from Starbucks or Peet’s—preferable Starbucks. Also, a fan. My warm heart heats up my body and I’m always hot. If I could, I would have my office at a cool 62 degrees. I love being cold, but my colleagues like being on the warm side, so my next best option is to have a little desk fan blowing on me. Side note: I believe the best invention in the world is air conditioning. If that had never been invented, I don’t know what I would do.
What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office?
I get iced coffee. Either I’ll bring in the premade stuff in containers from a store, or I’ll make it here the night before, or I’ll pre-order one so it’s ready to pick up on my way into the office in the morning.
What were the coolest things you’ve ever experienced? Where were you and when did they happen?
For the first one, I would say Machu Picchu in Peru. That was a few years back. It was so humbling. I cannot explain how I felt the moment when I was just sitting in the village. I cannot describe the energy that was flowing through the Andes. My second would be shark cage-diving in Cape Town, South Africa. Something about the horror or thrill of a wild beast about to attack you is incredible. Basically, how it’s set up, great white sharks will circle the boat that you’re attached to, because they chum it. Then the people operating the boat have this giant, half-eaten fish that they throw over the cage. Then they lure it in, like it’s a cat. And when the shark is about to attack the half-eaten fish, it’s right next to the cage that you’re in, so they’ll throw the fish over the cage, and the shark just comes in—mouth wide open—and hits the cage. To be right there, that close to such a beautiful wild beast—it was awesome. My third would be sky-diving in Interlaken, Switzerland. It was my first time ever. Just seeing the snowy Swiss Alps, 14,000 feet above it and looking over all the lakes and being free, having no control of what you were doing, it’s something I don’t do personally. It reminded me that I need to do more of that, and not be so uptight.
What are the top five places you want to travel to yet?
There are two continents I haven’t been to yet: Antarctica and Australia. Those are on my list. Egypt is on my list. There’s something about the history of it. Growing up, I always remember reading about the history of it, and being so intrigued, and studying it. Bringing my heritage onto the list a little, Ireland—I haven’t been there yet—and Italy.
Do you have any pets?
I have two cats: Floyd and Esther. Floyd’s namesake is Pink Floyd. And Esther—for her, I just wanted an old name. It’s funny. I named them as kittens, but now that they’re a year-and-half, they fit their names. I’m always amused to think about if I switched their names because Esther is definitely not a Floyd and Floyd is definitely not an Esther. Floyd is literally everywhere. It can’t sit still. It has to jump on everything, inspect everything, touch everything. And then Esther just kind of lays on the bed and hates Floyd because Floyd’s always running around.