One of the first supermodels, Carol Alt graced the covers of numerous fashion magazines, as well as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Since then, she has parlayed her modeling into a career in films, television and books. In her latest self-help book -- "A Healthy You: Boost Your Energy, Live Cleaner, and Look and Feel Younger Every Day" (Dey Street Books) -- Alt offers tips on leading a natural, organic and, yes, healthy lifestyle. An avid traveler, she says that there are still a few key places on her bucket list. "I've never been to the Far East," says Alt. "I've been offered many trips there, but the moment was never right. I think it would really be worth it to go there one day." For more information on Alt, check out her website at http://carolalt.com.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. I like to go somewhere close, usually the Bahamas. It's a beautiful quick trip that leaves me feeling like I took a vacation. I hate being tired after coming back from vacation!
Q. Where do you feel that you could return to for months on end?
A. I loved going to Africa and didn't get to see nearly enough (of the continent). I spent a year there doing films and it really gets under your skin in a great way. You crave it, basically. It's pretty amazing there. When I was working there, I really wanted to explore more, but I was the lead actor on a film and couldn't be away from the set much. I remember when I shot in Morocco, Rutger Hauer and Omar Sharif and everyone went to Tunisia and I was the only one who couldn't go. That's OK. You've got to take what you get. When I was in Brazil during Carnival, I was forbidden by production to go because of what the insurance policy stipulated. It didn't bother me so much. It wasn't like I was pouting. I was busy and it was fine.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. My dad did the best he could for us and I never wanted for anything, but we didn't travel too much. My father was a fireman in the South Bronx and the furthest away we went was to Hershey, Pennsylvania. One year, it was a big deal because we went to Florida. It was totally cool.
Q. When did you start traveling?
A. When I turned 18, I got a waitressing job. Someone came in and said that I should model. My boyfriend at the time was at West Point and broke up with me. I thought, "Why not?" A month or so later, I got my first trip. It was to Rome. If you're going to make a first trip overseas, it may as well be to Rome. (Laughs) It was fabulous! I remember seeing a theater and thinking it was a coliseum. The driver corrected me. I had no clue! After that, I traveled extensively. At one point, I did 29 trips between November and February when I was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was fun, but I was tired.
Q. Many people want to know how models stick to eating healthy when they're on the road. What are some of your tips?
A. People do like to watch what I eat when I'm out because they want to catch me cheating! (Laughs) I practice what I preach. I'm a raw food foodie and I do cheat sometimes, but I say that in my book -- there are moments when you can cheat and that's OK. Just like everyone else, I'm not an angel. Sometimes, I just like to eat the cheese off the top of my pizza because it's so good. But I won't eat the gluten. And, you know, I say the raw diet is probably the easiest to follow 'cause it's so easy to eat! I have found that in general, it's so much easier everywhere else than the U.S. to eat healthy. In Italy, I can find amazing raw milk cheese that is illegal here.
Q. What are some of your favorite cities?
A. Rome, and not just for the food! St. Petersburg, Russia -- it is so beautiful. At Christmastime, there's no city in the world that rivals it. I've never seen a city so spectacular. I went to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and it was so peaceful and serene. The colors were spectacular when the sun went down.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I always bring a little bit of olive oil to put on my skin. I find that it's so dry on the plane. My boyfriend always says that I'm slimed up when I put it on, but it makes the skin so soft and beautiful.
Q. What is your best vacation memory?
A. I had my first vacation with my boyfriend, which was so much fun. I never took a vacation when I was married. We never did that kind of fun stuff and I was always working and our schedules never meshed. Suddenly, I'm dating a guy who says, "I need to go on vacation and lay by the water." It was hard at first, because I wasn't used to just sitting there but then it was kind of cool.
(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.)
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