Go Away With ... Sean Rosenthal
Olympian Sean Rosenthal says that Brazilians are some of the most enthusiastic volleyball fans he has ever encountered. (FIVB)
Q. Where are the best places you've played beach volleyball?
A. The beaches are so nice in Brazil. I love going down there. I played in Rome and can't say enough great things about it. The food was amazing in Italy! I got to play in Paris under the Eiffel Tower, which was amazing. Actually, when my old partner Jake Gibb and I played in Paris, we would go to our timeouts and just look up and stare at the Eiffel Tower. We'd look at each other and say, "Things could be worse." No matter how close the games were, it just kind of took the edge off whatever we were doing. I've been very fortunate to have been to a lot of great places for my sport. We get to travel a lot.
Q. How proficient are you at other languages?
A. I can say hello, thank you, good morning and goodbye in about five languages. I know very little else. I'm an embarrassment when it comes to speaking anything other than English.
Q. Do you stick to a specific diet when you travel, especially for tournaments?
A. For the most part, I'm not on any sort of strict diet. Food for me is easy in most places. It gets a little tougher in China. I have to stay away from certain meats, because some of their animals are fed Clenbuterol (a steroid that, if found in an athlete's bloodstream, could disqualify them from medal contention). If there was a case that popped up, you could probably get it dismissed, but it's not worth the risk. So when I'm there, I'm basically eating cheese pizza and I do pretty well with that.
Q. How's the pizza in China?
A. It's good.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Off season, if I was being honest, I'd say my house! It's the perfect place to relax. But if I have to leave my house, I love doing a quick getaway to Palm Springs. I love it there. There's so much to do and I really enjoy getting in some golf. It's hard to say no to Hawaii. It's such a beautiful place. I travel all summer long for volleyball, so I try to stay away from travel where it's too far away.
Q. Do you enjoy cold-weather destinations?
A. I don't dislike them, but I don't go out of my way to go to cold-weather climates, either. I appreciate them and I enjoy watching winter sports. But there's too much risk in getting myself hurt. For now, I'll leave that up to the experts. I'll go where there's snow and just hang out, but I'll try to keep myself out of harm's way.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. We got to play in this town called Gstaad in Switzerland. It's this beautiful ski town in the middle of the Alps. That's one of our favorite places to play. I don't think too many people know about it.
Q. In which country are there the most vocal volleyball fans?
A. Brazilians love volleyball! They have fans all over the country. And there're a ton in Austria as well. The fans are amazing, sleeping out overnight to get tickets. They treat us like rock stars.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. Probably just traveling up to Lake Tahoe on a friend's plane when we were on a traveling soccer team. We were on the Nevada side, so it was technically out of state.
Q. Are you a good traveler?
A. I am. It's part of the job and I've never been afraid of flying. I adjust to time zones well. I can sleep on planes well, too. I just close my eyes and don't move. It works for me.
Q. What are some of your favorite cities?
A. Chicago's one of my all-time faves, but I've never been there in the winter! I don't do well in cold and windy. I love my hometown of Hermosa Beach. The South Bay area is hard to beat.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I always have my iPhone, which has my music on it, headphones and an iPad. Wherever I'm playing, I try to download as many TV series and movies on iTunes so that I'll always have something to watch no matter where I am.
Q. What would be your dream/fantasy trip?
A. I want to go to New Zealand and South Africa too. I was sick and couldn't go there for a tournament, which was very disappointing. I'll get there one day.
(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.)