Born in Colon, Panama, and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Gary Forbes had basketball on his mind when he was growing up. When he discovered he had Type 1 diabetes, he worried that it would derail his NBA plans. But, with the help of his diabetic father, he learned to navigate his way around his illness. After brief stints with the Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets, the 28-year-old athlete last played for the Chinese Basketball Association's Zhejiang Guangsha Lions. "Forbes' latest project is TypeOneTwo.org, an online forum he created in concert with his Gary Forbes Foundation to help young people learn how to live full lives with diabetes. The site also offers articles on pop culture and sports. Fans may also follow him @Gforbz3.
Q. Do you travel a lot for your foundation?
A. I don't travel for my foundation yet. I've been lucky to travel to a lot of places to play basketball, and they all happen to be places where people go to vacation. Some of my favorite places so far have been Italy, Israel and China. I didn't really vacation there, but I still got to enjoy seeing some of the things people do while on vacation.
Q. Which city had the most passionate basketball fans?
A. This isn't a city, but I felt like the most passionate basketball fans I've experienced are all over China. It was incredible to play there and hear the loud, enthusiastic cheering of the fans.
Q. Tell me about a recent trip.
A. My trip to Hong Kong and Macau was life-changing. I experienced so much there, including amazing food and things that I will never forget.
Q. To someone who was going there, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?
A. I'd have them take a tour of downtown, go to the Victoria Peak (in Hong Kong), definitely take the ferry to Macau Island and maybe go bungee jump off of a building.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. I came to the United States from Panama! I've been here in Brooklyn since.
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. To embrace your time off, relax and enjoy it. I'm starting to take more vacations now.
Q. Where do you like to go for weekend getaways?
A. Los Angeles. I love going there for all the fun restaurants, nightlife and, of course, the sunshine!
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. Venice, Italy.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. The W (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/index.html) and the Ritz-Carlton (http://www.ritzcarlton.com). I feel like I can trust that I'll have a wonderful experience when I stay at any of those hotels around the world.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston and, of course, Brooklyn!
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Nowhere! As they say, there is no place like home.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Even though I've traveled a lot, there are still a lot of places I want to visit that I haven't gone to, such as Spain, Brazil, France, England, Egypt, India and Australia.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. My iPhone, iPad, MacBook, chargers, medicine — because I have diabetes — water, backup candy for just in case, headphones and Advil PM.
Q. What would be your dream vacation?
A. Relaxing on an island entirely to myself ... with some good friends!
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. I have so many favorite restaurants. I'm definitely a foodie! I especially like anything seafood or healthy. I love Philippe Chow's (http://www.philippechow.com/) restaurant a lot.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. Going to malls, especially when there is an electronics store. I also like to snack on Almond Joys, as well as drink Diet Coke, even though it's bad for you.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I don't do any research, except for asking friends where they recommend that I should go.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. I've enjoyed visiting everywhere that I've gone. The craziest memory I've had on vacation was bungee jumping off of one of the tallest buildings in Macau. Not sure if I'd want to relive that again, but I'll surely never forget it!
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun