"I have the best job on the planet!" says Casey Anderson, the 37-year-old naturalist who hosts the Nat Geo WILD series "America the Wild." "I get to go to some of the most amazing places for work. So when I go on vacation, I go home. There is nothing more relaxing then sitting on my deck, watching the wildlife, the sunsets and listening to the creek." Anderson, who resides in Emigrant, Montana, loves being just 30 minutes away from his beloved Yellowstone National Park. Fans may stay in touch with him via his Facebook page or on Twitter @GrizAnderson.
Q. Where is the most exciting place you've traveled to?
A. I just returned from the arctic. We circumnavigated Svalbard, Norway, going as far north as the 81st parallel and seeing the pack ice via ship, an impossible feat only a few years ago. The sun never set. The combination of massive ice, mountains and sea was astonishing. We saw many polar bears, whales and other wildlife. There was no doubt that the ecosystem was changing. It was beautifully sad.
Q. Have you traveled to any place for work where you know you'd like to return to when you have time for a vacation?
A. I recently went to Guatemala in search of a cave hidden deep in the jungle. There were Mayan ruins, all kinds of wildlife and tons of adventure. I was like a real-life Indiana Jones! I was there for a short period of time, and I must return to that beautiful country filled with so much beautiful natural diversity and history!
Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?
A. I almost always recommend the same thing no matter the destination: It is good to be prepared, do your homework, find out the dos and the don'ts, but never allow your vacation to become too tamed. Get off the beaten path, take your time and seek the unknown. Meet a local, buy them a local brew and find out about all the good secret spots.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. The back country of Yellowstone National Park. Millions of people only see Yellowstone from the road and boardwalks. There are millions of acres of untouched wilderness left to see, and few ever venture off the path. It is a place where you can still listen for silence and hear it.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. One of the first trips I can remember when I was a kid was to Yellowstone National Park. It changed my life forever. Look at me!
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. The world is a big place, and yet it is still a small world. Our connection to it is vital. Our connection to others is critical. We are all one. It is all one. Some people like to stay in their own little bubble and pretend that nothing is wrong, nothing is happening, nobody needs help. Well, the truth is, in the big picture, your own little bubble is a place called earth. It is yours as much as it is mine, we all must treat it accordingly.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I am a wild man, naturalist and explorer, but I also like good food! A great weekend getaway sometimes means New York City, Vancouver or another great city to go out and eat some amazing food!
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. I think one of the most romantic places in the world is next to a bonfire softly telling stories, listening to the crackle of the flames and finding each other in the dancing light.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. I am in them so, so much that I certainly have an opinion. I love all of the Fairmont (http://www.fairmont.com) properties! I am a huge fan of Aloft (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels). And when it comes to economy, I really dig the beds at a Holiday Inn Express (http://www.hiexpress.com).
Q. What are your five favorite cities?