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Go Away With ... Ann Curry

Go Away With ... Ann Curry
Journalist Ann Curry says that a good way to "travel" when you can't get away is by reading books about the places you'd like to visit. (David Turnley)

Former NBC News anchor and "Today Show" co-anchor Ann Curry has won multiple Emmys and Edward R. Murrow Awards for her outstanding work in journalism. She has also been honored by the NAACP, Refugees International and Save the Children. Her latest project is PBS' docuseries "We'll Meet Again with Ann Curry." The photojournalist is an avid traveler, who has covered news stories around the world. "I live in New York City but I am often on the road for my reporting projects and for fun with my family," Curry says. "I have learned to let go of the idea that I could predict what I was about to experience. I've realized we don't truly see the world if we look only from our own perspectives and that opening up to the possibilities of something completely new, is what makes traveling fun." Fans may keep up to date on her work and travels on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/AnnCurry), Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/anncurry) and her website AnnCurry.com.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Paris, Florence, Isfahan, Salzburg and my hometown, Ashland, Oregon.

Q. What was your favorite vacation destination?

A. Ecuador, where our family stepped over blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos and met tribespeople in the Amazonian jungle. I loved seeing our children's eyes light up with delight as they witnessed a world completely different from their own. We were awakened by howler monkeys. We found out you need to move out of the way for iguanas. We realized you can actually swim with piranha without getting bitten. We experienced the swiftness of a dugout canoe. We learned how to use a blowgun effectively. And ultimately, we understood that the world is much more fascinating that we can possibly imagine. If you go to Ecuador, ask to have your passport stamped for the Galapagos. Seeing that stamp whenever I pull out my passport brings back good memories. Also, consider staying in an ecolodge if you go to the Amazon. And take sunscreen.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Croatia's Dalmatian coast. It is a picturesque place, enough so that scenes of "Game of Thrones" have been shot there. But most might not know that parts of Dalmatia were once in the Venetian Empire, including the lovely island of Korcula which, as does Venice, claims to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. And even lesser known is another island off the Dalmatian coast, on which locals say Ulysses once found refuge, in his travels to return home. They will even point to what they call "Ulysses' Cave," and to dogs on the island they say descended from one that kept Ulysses company.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. Japan, where the Navy sent my father. Japan was stunning in every way. Everything was new: the food, the clothes and the manner in which people spoke to each other. What I remember most, though, was the storm that caught the ship we took to Japan. While everyone else was seasick below deck, I was able to sneak above to the top deck where, holding onto the railings, I watched the huge, crashing waves with awe. It was just glorious. But it also did get me into big trouble with my mother.

Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?

A. Vermont. New Hampshire. Germany. Places with deep forests remind me of home. And this might be an unusual answer, but there was something that made me immediately feel at home the first time I landed in Africa. It's the people, who look at you -- a total stranger -- as if you are a relative, with an openness rarely seen. No walls. Honestly, my first thought in Africa was, "It feels like home!"

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. Ready? I really want to see the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. I want to follow the trail of Alexander the Great from Macedonia to Persepolis. And most of all, I want to light the butter lamps in the Potala in Lhasa, Tibet. That's just for starters.

Q. What would be your dream trip?

A. My dream would be one heck of a road trip, with the historian Yuval Harari and the scientist Spencer Wells, traveling in the footsteps of our ancestors out of northeastern Africa, across the Middle East toward the point where Homo sapiens diverged, some east, toward Asia and others back west, toward Europe. What would we learn about what we humans are made of? I would even volunteer to drive the whole way.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?

A. Sometimes I will come upon a candy store in the airport that sells caramel apples covered in peanuts. My promise to myself is that it doesn't matter if I've just eaten, or if I'm trying to drop a few pounds. I get to have a caramel apple if I want one. I love caramel, granny smith apples and peanuts. Put them together and boom shakalaka! My dad also loved them, so sweet memories of him come back, besides.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. The worst memory was getting food poisoning in Lima, Peru on our way to Machu Picchu. Apparently, we should not have eaten the cheese. But the best memory was arriving in Machu Picchu, which is as gorgeous as the photos and even more so from the top of Huayna Picchu, 8,835 feet above sea level. When our family reached the top together, after hours of climbing, the exhilaration we felt was beyond measure.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. Favorite pajamas, an engaging book, headphones, a pair of super cozy socks and dark chocolate.

(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 "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)

(c) 2019 JAE-HA KIM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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