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Go away with … Laurie Fortier
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Go away with … Laurie Fortier

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On “The Walking Dead,” Laurie Fortier portrays Agatha, the leader of a new group on the popular series – now in its 11th season. “Agatha is a bada--,” said the actress, who splits her time between Los Angeles and Atlanta. (She’s a) knives expert. So, to prepare for (playing) her, I trained with a Filipino knife expert.” Joking, she added that Agatha would make a resourceful travel companion. “I think I’d like to go camping with Agatha – maybe Yosemite,” she said. “I imagine she’d know how to pitch a tent, fish and make a fire.”

Q: When you film on location, are you able to enjoy any aspects of being a tourist in your downtime?

A: One of my favorite things about being an actor is it has provided me the opportunity to travel to different places for work. I always think of on-location work as a paid vacation. Not only a vacation in the sense that I get to explore a new place, but also a vacation from my kids! (Laughs) I am a single mom and have them full time – trust me, moms will understand.

I always make it a point to explore the cities I am working in. Points of interest, museums, restaurants. It’s the best! (I’ve worked on location in) Hawaii, New Orleans, Nantucket Island, Wilmington, North Carolina, Atlanta, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa. … I keep wishing for a series that shoots in Greece, but I don’t think there are any. (Laughs)

Q: This pandemic has made everyone think differently about how we spend our vacation time. What have you been doing?

A: Great question. It’s really true how the pandemic has shifted our perspective on how we view the world. Previous to the pandemic, my boyfriend had been on a mission to see the world and visit a new destination every trip. The year before the pandemic, we had two epic trips to Japan, Israel, and Jordan. But (we have) refocused our travels to this country and places here we’ve never been, like Austin, Asheville, North Carolina, Whitefish, Montana, and Savannah, Georgia.

Q: If you had travel plans, but had to cancel due to the pandemic, where were they to?

A: We were gearing up for a trip to Morocco! But we’ve postponed it until next year.

Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?

A: The Greek islands! Here is what I would recommend: Fly into Athens, spend a couple days tops. Go to the Parthenon and tour the city to get a little feel. There’s some cool graffiti and bars and obviously the history. Then island hop via ferry. Pack light because traveling via ferry becomes difficult when you have a lot of baggage. (Go to) Mykonos for a sexy scene and beautiful people and Santorini for the majestic setting, but I’d advise to go off the beaten path. Oia is cool. Stay away from any cruise-ship port. Folegandros was quiet and magical. Naxos (has) a wide range, from beaches, to artsy towns tucked in the hillsides. Overall, Greece is my favorite, because of the people, food, and beaches. It's magical.

Q: What was the first trip you took as a child?

A: I believe my first trip as a child was to Acapulco. I was three or four. Apparently, I got sick and vomited on my dad’s white patent leather loafers.

Q: What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?

A: My favorite thing about traveling is how it awakens your senses. To be in a foreign land among strangers, learning a culture from the inside out – there is no better feeling. Traveling reaffirms my need to live fully. It is when I feel most alive.

Q: Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?

A: Napili, Maui. Probably because growing up, we went every year as a family. Then when I had my own kids, I took them as well. So, it’s home in a sense.

Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A: To name a few, Morocco, Ibiza, southern Spain, Australia, Chile, Peru, Bali, Kenya, Croatia, Mallorca.

Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A: A good carry-on! I try to go super light. My partner likes to get off the plane and go, rather than wait at baggage claim. Though (that’s) harder to do for city vacations longer than a week. A woman’s got to have the right shoes, what can I say. Sneakers and some workout clothes are also a must have. Workouts while traveling are a lifesaver.

Q: What would be your dream trip?

A: There are so many! Machu Picchu (and) Morocco are the first that come to mind.

Q: Can you share a trip where it’s not your best vacation memory?

A: Disneyland Hotel. The kids were ages four and seven years old. We were staying at the safari-themed hotel. While I was in the bathroom, my husband at the time left with what I thought was both kids to check out and get the car. I left the room to go meet them. Got to the car and one kid was missing! He thought our daughter had stayed back with me, I thought he had both kids. Sheer panic for about 15 minutes of my life. It was a nightmare. But come to find out my four-year-old had gone onto the balcony to look at the zebras. She was safe and sound!

(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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