Today, June 3rd, marks ONA’s five year anniversary. On this day in 2010, we launched with just a single bag, the Nevis, out of founder Tracy’s living room in Bowie, Maryland. Five years and many bags later, we now have a lovely office in New York City, a growing team, as well as a wonderful community (family, really) of photographers and creatives who have chosen ONA. We are so thankful for each and every one of you! Throughout the course of this year, we will be highlighting some of our earliest customers and friends of the brand — folks who have been with us since 2010.
We kick things off with our friend Darren Murph, who is a former managing editor at Engadget, where he first got to know ONA through a review of the Union Street. Since then, Darren has traveled the world, ONA bags in tow, and today we have the pleasure of hearing a little bit more about his story.
Darren carries the Leather Brixton in antique cognac.
Darren Murph: I’m Darren — a Guinness World Record-holding journalist and consultant who fell in love with ONA way back in 2010. At the time, I was writing and reviewing consumer technology products at Engadget. Tracy Foster, who just so happened to found ONA, pinged me with an offer to critique one of the company’s first bags ever. I’d seen hundreds upon hundreds of pitches for bags, but this one was different. It was classy, useful, and without compromise. As ONA celebrates its fifth year, I’m celebrating the launch of my first self-published book. As it turns out, the two have a lot to do with one another.
Living The Remote Dream is a practical, no-nonsense guide on working remotely. I’ve seen too many souls crushed by seemingly endless commutes, and I wanted to publish the tips and tricks that I developed over nearly a decade working from random corners of the globe. It’s part-autobiography — chronicling some of the zaniest times in my life as a tech writer — and part how-to guide. If you’re the type of person that likes proof, I’m going to list out the five wildest, most unbelievable places that I’ve worked from: publishing stories, closing deals, hosting conference calls, and managing a team of incredible journalists.
Seven Seas Beach, Puerto Rico
While my wife, her brother, and two of my best friends in the entire universe were frolicking on a beach in northeastern Puerto Rico, I was camped out under a shade tree with a phone to my ear. It was on this beach that a broader team at Engadget formed a plan to launch Expand, our first-ever live event, by hiring a couple of event coordinators to handle the truly ludicrous amount of logistics that go into throwing a multi-day electronics gala. After the call, I whipped out my Nikon D90, a 10.5mm fisheye, and captured the shot you see above.
Hadahaa, Republic of Maldives
Needing only a MacBook Air, sunglasses, a cool glass of water, and more sunscreen than I ever thought possible, I used a lounge chair in the absolute definition of paradise to focus on a new marketing presentation. Just a few months into a new role that saw me working with a number of clients on messaging and outreach, I put together proposals that outlined a new way of thinking about owned media. A day of work isn’t so bad when the above is your view.
On Samoa, it’s common to find lodging in the form of a “beach fale,” which is essentially a small hut situated on sand with nothing more than a bed inside. It’s an incredible combination of luxury (hey, you’re sleeping on a beach!) and low-key (hey, there’s no electricity!). While on the island, I realized that wireless mobile Internet had just been introduced mere months ago, effectively bringing thousands of citizens onto the world wide web for the first time. I was watching history unfold before my eyes, so before crashing one evening, I penned a feature story on how something as basic as wireless Internet could impact entire economies.
After watching a tourist reel in a 235 pound halibut — a fish that was arguably larger than a Fiat 500 in width and length — I grabbed a bench near a rare Alaskan beach. There, I took a scheduled call with a recruiter that was considering bringing on one of my former Engadget colleagues. I told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. A few weeks later, he got the job.
Oft referred to as the End of the World, this tiny town at the bottom of South America is also the jumping off point for cruises to Antarctica. Here, in a cozy B&B, I put together a proposal for a client halfway around the globe and many time zones away. I was watching the sun set at nearly 11:00PM, while they were just waking up to an email from yours truly. The proposal was accepted, and I was scheduling a trip to Asia a few weeks later.
Believe it or not, everything I need to stay on the clock sits comfortably within my Brixton or Camps Bay. A mobile office can be remarkably compact, and for five years now, I’ve trusted ONA to carry and protect my gear on jaunts all over this wonderful planet.
If you’re eager to learn more about working hard from lands near and far, be sure to check out my book. If you’re looking for a bag that’ll survive as many trips around the globe as you can stand, look no further than ONA.