WCL: Travel Expert Mark Murphy, author of "Travel Unscripted"

Travel expert Mark Murphy shares some of his tales of travels and gives us some fun places around Chicago to visit.

Mark's top "not so obvious" places to check out in Chicago:

-The canyons are amazing. Even if the WATERFALLS aren't active, you can see, up-close geology through time. It's an awesome sight to people of all ages.
-The view from the top of Starved Rock is not to be missed. Native Americans inhabited this park 8,000 years ago! The view and outdoor dining on our Veranda is even better.
- The Lodge (nestled in the heart of Starved Rock State Park) is unique. It was built by the hard-working men of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and boasts the largest 2-sided fireplace in IL. Real wood, real fires, real stone, real cool ...all the time.
- They make their own Artisan ice cream at the Lodge.

- The gardens are in a 13th-century "pond strolling" garden with several waterfalls and ponds, streams, rock formations, winding paths, and a sukiya style tea house.
- It is a full 14 acres! The gardens are home to many species of colorful fish, minks, and ducks.
- The "Garden of Reflection" is a contemporary Japanese-inspired garden, with bronze angel sculptures.
- In the "Garden of Reflection" beetle traps hang over the water to encourage these fish to surface for food.
- In our hectic and stressful world, Anderson Japanese Gardens opens minds to a different culture while offering guests a place of peace and tranquility where they will find healing, renewal, inspiration, and a re-energized soul.

- The Kankakee River is a tributary of the Illinois River, approximately 133 miles
- You can enjoy fishing, hunting, beach swimming, bike trails and bbq grills! It's super family friendly!
- A 12-mile equestrian trail is located in the wildlife management area

- 200 feet sand dunes rise at the 15,000 acre lakeshore. Mount Baldy moves four feet a year and is 126 feet high. Trails to the top of the dunes offer Lake Michigan views like no other.
- Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore hugs 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan
- Scout out rare species of birds or flying kites on the sandy beach, on the national lakeshore's 15,000 acres.
- It's a hikers paradise! Hikers will enjoy 45 miles of trails over rugged dunes, mysterious wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers, and peaceful forests.

Mark Murphy is a charismatic and slightly neurotic germophobe who makes a living gallavanting around the world, visiting more than 70 countries to date! He is frequently seen partying with exotic locals in clubs one day and producing professional travel content for his Travalliancemedia network the next. His penchant for all things Far East including copious amounts of Asian food has dubbed his nationality "Asian fusion" around the office. Mark habitually purchases gaudy and bizarre furniture for his office that has his employees wondering whether the pirate-treasure-chest looking decorative piece is coming or going...in the trash. As founder and CEO of Travalliancemedia this outspoken, sometimes politically incorrect travel industry expert of 20 years is regularly called upon to provide his expertise on a variety of topics, from cruise ship mishaps (Norovirus, anyone?) to where adventure-seekers can get the ultimate buzz. From the Travel Channel, CBS News, Fox, Inside Edition, The Today Show, and numerous print and radio interviews, Mark brings his extraordinary first-hand experiences to the masses (and regularly munches on deep-fried crickets on-air). A family man, Mark enjoys spending time with his VERY understanding wife Karen, their two children and the two dogs.

Nationally recognized travel expert and television correspondent Mark Murphy chronicles the dicey, humorous, sometimes bizarre and always entertaining experiences he encounters in far-flung locales when he's not on camera. This highly entertaining multimedia travelogue, complete with exclusive, unpublished video outtakes, focuses Murphy's witty and perceptive lens on the culture of traveling, revealing unforgettable characters and global humanity in all its quirkiness -- from a predatory Cougar Grandma in Germany to a wiseguy shakedown on a picturesque Greek island, serious partying in Ho Chi Minh City, sampling shocking edibles in Cambodia and much more.