By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Media Services
Celebrity Travel by Jae-Ha Kim
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
Kevin Michael Connolly, photographer and author of "Double Take: A Memoir" (HarperCollins, $14.99), can now add television personality to his resume. The 27-year-old adventurer, born without legs, is the host of the new Travel Channel series, "Armed and Ready." A resident of Bozeman, Mont., Connolly was a medalist at the 2007 X Games' monoski event and on his show he challenges himself to try feats such as climbing a 50-foot tree in the Smoky Mountains and diving from a 40-foot cliff on Hawaii's Big Island. For more information on Connolly, check out his website at http://kevinmichaelconnolly.com/ or follow him on Twitter (at)KevinConnolly.
Q. Have you traveled to a place that you considered life changing?
A. Yes, definitely. I would say that my first trip abroad to Konotop, Ukraine, when I was a senior in high school, was most certainly life changing. It was the first time that I had ever been outside of the comforts of the United States. It was the first time I was seriously stared at, given alms and literally picked up -- all because I was different. The effect this realization had on me definitely influenced a lot of the work that has followed.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. If I have to pick a specific location, I would say Split, Croatia. The ancient ruins, combined with the seaside port and the amazing landscape make it a pretty tough place to beat. Given my druthers, though, I would always use a vacation to go somewhere I haven't been. Russia, you're on notice.
Q. To someone who was going to Split for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?
A. Definitely utilize the ferries that you can find at the port. They can take you to a number of less-inhabited islands for super cheap. You can go from a Balkan city to a Mediterranean island paradise for 40 bucks and a two-hour ferry.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. Anywhere that has free Wi-Fi. Anytime I'm forced to pay for Internet service in a hotel, I briefly consider arson before coughing up my credit card. Ugh.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Off the top of my head, Vienna, Austria; Wanaka, New Zealand; Liverpool, England; New York City; Kiev, Ukraine.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Bosnia, actually, looked a lot like western Montana -- steep, densely wooded mountains with a very seasonal climate. They have castles, though, which I guess gives them the edge.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I really want to go visit Russia. It's just so big that I would need a project, job, or a couple months of savings to properly explore it. I just need to remember to go in the summer. My skateboard is no good in the snow.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Skateboard bearings and gloves are a must. After that, a camera, journal and a book. I've found less is more when you're setting off on a trip. I usually pick up cheap clothes and creature comforts as I travel, as it keeps the luggage low and makes for souvenirs later. Remember, hauling luggage as a legless guy really s--ks.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. Probably Rome -- just so I'd have a chance to skate the Vatican.
Q. What is your worst vacation memory?
A. Getting hit by a car in Travnik, Bosnia, springs to mind. Though that would be a bad memory regardless of where I was.
(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 "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
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