Go Away With ... Steve Hofstetter
Comedian Steve Hofstetter says he and his wife try to travel to a new country each year. (unknown, Adam Teixeira / July 29, 2014)
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. My wife and I have a thing where we try to hit a new country every year. We've done Israel, England, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Canada and Mexico together.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. The first good one I remember was Cooperstown. I'm a huge baseball fan.
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. Mark Twain said travel is the enemy of prejudice. He was right. There are good and smart people everywhere.
Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?
A. Oh, sure. I've done jokes about dozens of the places I've been. Travel is a huge part of a comedian's life. From Indiana's stubborn refusal to accept daylight savings time to Winnipeg being so cold if it warmed up by 92 degrees Fahrenheit, it will still only be freezing.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I do love taking a weekend in Santa Barbara. When I lived in NYC, it was Boston or the Poconos. I'm a road comic though. Weekends to me are weekdays to everyone else.
Q. If you've ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. I'm Jewish, but my honeymoon was over Christmas in Puerto Vallarta. If you thought Christmas was intense here, wow. Mexican Christmas is a whole new level.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. I will always be a New Yorker, no matter where I live. Of course, I love Los Angeles now. Seattle is one of my favorites, even with their terrible weather. I find I also love places that are the exception to the rule around them. Louisville, Atlanta, Austin, Chicago. ... I have a lot of favorite places.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. I'm from New York City, so nothing. But Chicago is probably closest. Love the vibe there.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I need to cross Montana, Alaska and Hawaii off my list. I've performed in the other 47.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I travel with my toys -- my electronics. A laptop with a wireless hub; I've had my own wireless hub since 2005. My GPS, my DC to AC power adapter. And, of course, can't forget the iPhone. Aside from my electronics, I just need a change of clothes.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. Native food, whatever it is. I eat very healthy and I only make exception when it's worth it. Oklahoma Joeâs Bare-B-Que in Kansas City. Ess-A-Bagel in New York City. Siciliaâs Pizza in Providence. I don't touch fast food, but I do love a good, local favorite.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. (The best was) in Israel, we went to a place called Eucalyptus, which served a seven-course tasting menu, all of biblical-style food. Amazing. I was full with three courses left. Oh, I ate them, but I was full. Also, the House of Terror Museum in Budapest is so moving. (It) reminds you how good we have it. The worst was when I was a kid, because we didn't really travel. Until I was 19, I'd never been further than four hours from home and had never flown. That's why I have such wanderlust now, because I never saw anything when I was a kid. I can tell you the difference between every hotel chain and every rental car company. There isn't a city in the continental U.S. I haven't been to yet. And I can make conversation with people from just about anywhere in the U.S., and some parts of the rest of the world, too.
(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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