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Celebrity Travel: Go away with Elisa Donovan

Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency on

In her memoir “Wake Me When You Leave: Love and Encouragement via Dreams from the Other Side” (Llewellyn Publications, $16.99), “Clueless” actress Elisa Donovan writes about how she overcame a series of events that tested her inner strength. She was out of work, her relationship with a boyfriend had ended and, most important of all, her father died from terminal cancer. “I moved to Spain for a time, essentially right when this book ends,” said Donovan from the San Francisco home she shares with her husband and their daughter. “That is when I truly let go of my attachments to the life that I had before. I wanted to see if I could live in Spain permanently. I had spent a lot of time there in college and in my early 20s and always felt a strong connection to the country. After my dad died and my life was turned upside down, I re-evaluated everything. I wanted to go to a place far away, but I wanted to be able to speak the language.”

Q: How did living in Spain for a while help you process grief?

A: Being in a different place was healing and allowed me to breathe and feel a kind of escape. Los Angeles felt stifling and very lonely to me at the time. It did not feel like home. I welcomed being in a new place. In all my time in Spain prior, I had never been to Barcelona, so that’s where I chose to go.

Q: What was the last big Hollywood event that you attended?

A: The premiere of the film “Knives Out.” Such a fun film and a great party. That was in 2019. If I had known that within a couple of months, I’d be holed up in my house for a year, I might’ve made more of an effort to attend some events. Oh, we had a “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” reunion on Zoom for charity last spring. Does that count? What a year.

Q: What have you been doing for vacations, since none of us can easily hop on a plane and travel these days?


A: I know the four-block radius surrounding our home very, very well now. I’d love to know the net amount of time I’ve spent running alongside my daughter on her bike in the past year on these blocks. We live near the Lyon Street steps in San Francisco, which is a popular tourist spot for photos and exercise spot for locals. I’ve spent many an hour running up and down those steps. This pandemic has definitely shifted everything. I miss traveling so much. We took only driving trips this past year and kept all travel local in California. San Francisco is generally cold. We don’t get a real summer here and we were desperate for warmth and sun. We went to Sonoma for a week, to Lake Tahoe for a couple of weeks over the summer, then we just drove to Palm Desert for three weeks over the holidays.

Q: If you had travel plans for 2020 or this year and had to cancel, where were they to?

A: We have a very special annual trip with friends that we take to their family home in Jumby Bay, a small island off of Antigua. It’s a gorgeous, magical place and a trip that is truly the highlight of our year. It’s both a family trip and a vacation. It’s divine. We were scheduled to depart the week everything shut down here last March in 2020. I was going to take a work trip to Ireland and England for a couple events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the film “Clueless” in 2020. We were also planning a family trip to Europe for that summer. All of those trips were obviously canceled. We are hoping to be able to make it for our Jumby trip at some point in 2021, but that’s really out of our hands.

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


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