Tanna Frederick thrives when she's juggling multiple projects. A co-founder of the Iowa Film Festival and creator of the nonprofit Project Save Our Surf (http://www.projectsaveoursurf.org/), she is also an avid surfer and holds a second-degree black belt in taekwondo. Frederick, who co-starred opposite James Denton in "Ovation," recently won positive reviews for her work in Carl Weathers' stage production of "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea."
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. One of my favorite trips was last year for Mother's Day in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. It's the most delicious, loving village nestled in the Alps. The people there are so incredibly warm and open. It felt like I walked into a giant hug. My mother flew in a helicopter over the Swiss Alps. It was terrifying and magnificent. We landed on a glacier where they created a makeshift bar and we sipped ice wine in a toast to my mother, like on an episode of "The Bachelor."
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. We did a lot of camping while growing up. We didn't have much money, so the outdoors became my playground. I think my first actual vacation was to the Badlands in South Dakota. I can remember lots and lots of fossils, rivers, fishing, deer, hiking and, of course, mosquitoes. I definitely remember entire weekends covered in mud to stop the itching from the bites.
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. It's not about the destination. It's about the people you're surrounded by. I love wandering away from the crowds to the behind-the-scenes action where actual local life is taking place. I'm apt to cut time in the Louvre in order to be able to check out some obscure cemetery I heard about in passing.
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. Would have to be in the Maldives -- tropical weather, warm water and beautiful sunsets, romantic, candle-lit dinners on a private lanai. Also, couples massages, snorkeling and surfing together. A must-have would be a deep soaking tub for two, with lots of candles and flowers and a good bottle of champagne.
Q. Do you spend holidays away from home?
A. If I travel for Christmas, I stay in the snow. It's a great recess from the perfect L.A. weather. For my parents' 40th wedding anniversary, we went to Haleiwa, Hawaii, and stayed on the North Shore. The swell was six inches, but the traditional Hawaiian pig roast and luau put on by the locals -- not to mention the snorkeling and the sea turtles hatching on the beach -- was worth the entire trip.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. Two Bunch Palms Resort (https://twobunchpalms.com/) in Desert Hot Springs. Bacara Spa (http://meritagecollection.com/bacararesort/) in Santa Barbara. Casa Del Mar (https://www.hotelcasadelmar.com/), for a staycation in Santa Monica.
Q. What are some of your favorite cities?
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A. Haleiwa, Prague, Cinque-Terre, New York, Minneapolis.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. My grandparents had a farm in Garner, Iowa, that I traveled to every weekend as a kid. My mother grew up on it so it is rife with emotions and history for me. For two years, we produced and shot a film there called "Garner, Iowa." The story was written by a family friend and is based on the people and the land. Filming there was a beautiful opportunity to achieve shots I feel truly capture the quiet beauty of the state and tell a story of my heritage.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Fan for sleeping, surfboard, running shoes and my top three favorite playlists. I'm pretty much set after that.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. Not keeping a schedule and sleeping in; eating fondue and lots and lots of cheese in Switzerland and having aimless conversations with locals about family lore over a cup of the best espresso in town.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. Project Save Our Surf water filter trips require a lot of planning and research for our team. We research information about the socio-economic state of the region, the source of water the villages are tapping from and we have to evaluate the levels of education we are assisting with.
Q. What is your best vacation memory?
A. (When I was a kid), my family hosted four foreign exchange students. They were very much family and have made their homes open to us in Europe. Staying with them and their families over the last two decades has made the world a smaller place. It seems like I have four brothers all over the globe and not enough birthday cards for their kids. When I travel to Europe and stay with my former exchange families, it reminds me of growing up in a small town in Iowa.
(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.