By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Media Services
January 29, 2013
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Toronto, Laurie Holden currently resides in Atlanta, where "The Walking Dead" is filmed. The actress plays Andrea on the popular series, which is AMC's highest-rated show. An avid traveler, Holden encourages people to get out and explore the world, and help others in need. "I highly recommend joining a volunteer organization," she says. "There's no better experience than becoming part of the solution. I did this, myself. I worked in a daycare center for HIV orphans and it changed my life forever."
Holden is on the board of directors for the Somaly Mam Foundation, which works to end sex trafficking. She also works with the nonprofit Home From Home (http://www.homefromhome.org.za), which helps HIV-infected children. Fans may follow Holden on Twitter @Laurie_Holden.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
Q. What are some things you'd suggest to travelers going there for the first time?
A. I would definitely recommend going on a safari in Botswana. I went on my own a few years ago, and it was one of the most incredible experiences in all of my life. While you are there, you must also experience Victoria Falls. The best way to see it is go with a guide in one of those air-power gliders over the falls, but this is only for the real adventurer, because it's not for the faint of heart. In South Africa, I recommend spending a couple of weeks in Cape Town, which has much to offer for the travel enthusiast. Table Mountain and Clifton Beach are at the top of the must-do list. Visiting the townships is essential while you're there to really understand the history of this part of the world. It's a land of extremes. Some of the kindest and bravest people I have ever met live in these communities. For sightseeing and relaxation, road trips along the southern tip and up along the Garden Route are absolutely stunning. And weekend getaways to the vineyards of Stellenbosch are an absolute must!
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. The boat river cruise is (to die for)!
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. It was to the island of Malta. My family relocated there for six months and it was hands down one of the most amazing times of my life.
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. That I am highly adaptable in any situation. I also thrive when I am traveling on my own, and I have no fear about going anywhere by myself for any length of time.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Grove Park Inn (http://www.groveparkinn.com/) in Asheville, N.C. Beach getaways and the Wentworth Mansion (http://www.wentworthmansion.com) in Charleston, N.C. On the West Coast, I love the San Ysidro Ranch (http://www.sanysidroranch.com/) in Santa Barbara.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. St Regis (http://stregis.starwoodhotels.com/), Relais and Chateaux (http://www.relaischateaux.com), the Peninsula (http://www.peninsula.com) and the Ritz-Carlton (http://www.ritzcarlton.com).
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. New York, London, Rome, San Francisco and Paris.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Driving through much of the southern part of the U.S. reminds me of where I grew up in Canada. The trees, homes, sense of community. ... I love the South.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. India, Japan and Brazil.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Power adapters, laptop, sunscreen, travel books, and a camera.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. Months in India--renting a villa for a few weeks, followed by a luxury train tour, a yoga retreat and ending with a spa and fitness expedition in the Himalayas.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. Fast food.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I do a lot of research before I head away on a trip. I read travel books and look for the best places to stay, things to do and search for hidden gems. Tripadvisor.com is my go-to for many of my weekend getaways.
Q. What is your best vacation memory?
A. My best vacation memory was a trip to the Amalfi Coast with my niece a few years ago. It was a girls' trip, just the two of us, and we stayed on a villa perched high on a cliff right over the sea. We spent our days sailing and hiking the beautiful trails along the coast and exploring the coastal town of Ravello. The Italian people were so kind to us. They loved that an auntie was traveling with her teenage niece, so they took us under their wing and spoiled us with their hospitality. They never stopped feeding us! We must have gained at least 10 pounds. I have to say I enjoyed every single minute of it! It was far and away one of the happiest times of my life and it was an experience that my niece and I will always treasure.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
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