Los Angeles-based actress Mickaëlle X. Bizet ("American Crime," "Diary of the MadMan") formerly lived in Martinique, Paris, Viry-Châtillon and Boston. An avid traveler who speaks French, Creole and Spanish -- in addition to English -- she says her knowledge of foreign languages has helped her as a tourist. "My favorite travel memory isn't fancy," X. Bizet says. "It's when I got lost by myself in San Juan and I used my Spanish to ask for help and find my way. People I spoke to understood me and I understood them. I was so proud of myself. I didn't even have a GPS."
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. In Martinique, there's a small town called Le Marigot. As soon as you enter Plateforme, ask around for a place called Baignoire. I'm not sure how to explain it, but it's like a nature-made bathtub with the rocks and the ocean. The view at the top is spectacular. The way down though, it's a mini-adventure. I'm always scared for my life going down there! But once you're down, it's super cool. And right next to the Baignoire, there's another swimming area, but that's only for the brave souls -- the most adventurous of us. I've always wanted to jump in it, but I always feared that I would never come back up! The water keeps going up and down and up and down and you kind of have to dance-fight with it to make it out alive.
Q. I know that you are multilingual. Are there any new languages you are in the process of learning now?
A. I have a few Korean friends and I just love the way the language sounds, so I'm trying to learn the basics. I would also love to brush up on my German. I mean, I'm already doing it on the internet, but it would be great to take a real class, because I barely remember anything.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. I don't remember the first trip I took as a child, but I do remember the first trip I really wanted to take as a child. I was 10. I so wanted to go to Megeve in the French Alps. There was this program called Classe de Neige (Snow Class). The school would take kids there for a month. You would have regular school, but you would also learn how to ski and, of course, explore the area and get involved in different cultural activities. My family couldn't really afford it, but my parents worked really hard to expose us to as much as possible, even if it wasn't much. All my siblings got to go to Class de Neige. I was the first one. I was so excited and happy and grateful. At the time, I didn't think life could get any better! I was finally going to Classe de Neige. It was the best thing in the world. It was my Oscar. But once I got there, I cried every single day, several times a day. The teachers didn't know what to do with me. I was so cold all the time. I hate being cold to this day! I missed my family so much. I just wanted to go home. Plus, my mom was pregnant with my little brother, so I was always anxious about missing his arrival. I missed it. He was born while I was away. On a happier note, I discovered that I liked eating snow and I did like skiing, but I was so homesick that I couldn't enjoy it.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I would go to Palm Springs. I like the energy there, plus there's a Bikram yoga studio not too far in Palm Desert, so that's a cool bonus.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Los Angeles is my super favorite, because it's the city of my dreams. I live in the city of my childhood dreams and I'm living my dream in it. It's just amazing to be here. Los Angeles is my love. This is where I belong. Le Marigot (Martinique). Anse-Bertrand (Guadeloupe). San Juan (Puerto Rico). Roslindale, Mass.
Q. Not Paris?
A. Paris is not on the list because, you know, it's my city. It's Paris, you know? It's not listable. Just like, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," you don't put Paris on a list. My brother is so annoyed by how much I love Paris. When I went back to France, he was like, "There! You're in Paris! You're happy now? Are you gonna shut up about it now?"
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. That's a tricky question for me because I feel like I have so many homes. In a short few years, I feel I've lived so many lives. Boston reminds me of Europe a lot -- France and London. Los Angeles reminds me of Martinique. It's like a humongous Martinique. Puerto Rico reminds me of Martinique as well.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Oh, my God! So many places! The first one though, the most important, the one I would go to right now if I could is La Ceiba, Honduras, and I would stay at Dr. Sebi's Usha Village (http://advocatesfordrsebi.org/usha-village).
(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.)(c) 2017 DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.