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Celebrity Travel: Go away with Laurie Berkner

Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency on

Laurie Berkner is celebrating the 25 th anniversary of her children’s album “Victor Vito” with a digitally remastered re-release that will be available on streaming platforms, CD and vinyl. “It will have a beautifully updated cover and the record itself will be blue, to call back to the color of the original cassette,” said Berkner, who splits her time between Manhattan and Red Hook, New York. “I color-coded my first three albums so kids who were not able to read would still know which cassette contained their favorite songs. 'Whaddaya Think Of That?' was yellow and 'Buzz Buzz' was red.” This autumn, the singer-songwriter will release "A Laurie Berkner Halloween," which will include old favorites and brand- new tracks. Fans may follow Berkner on Instagram and Facebook at @laurieberknerband. She’s also active on YouTube (@thelaureberknerband) and TikTok (@laurieberkner).

Q: What is a childhood trip that stands out?

A: The first memory that comes to me was when my family went to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard when I was maybe 11 years old. At one point, we were staying at a youth hostel in a shared room with bunk beds and had to leave very early the next morning to catch a ferry to one of the islands. Some of the other guests yelled at my brother and myself for making too much noise as we were leaving, which devastated me. Then on the way to the ferry, my mom and I were riding on a tandem bike behind my dad and brother. As we went down a big hill, we toppled over. She broke her collarbone and I got a huge gash on my arm. I was also afraid of shots and cried and screamed and would not let anyone give me a tetanus shot. We still made it to the boat. But on our way home, my dad drove into a parking garage with the bikes on top of the car and crushed them. That was unforgettable.

Q: Do you have any upcoming trips for the year planned?

A: Yes! My husband, Brian, and I are about to head out West to see the Grand Canyon – first time for both of us – and then visit Sedona and hopefully experience the vortexes. I'm so excited!

Q: Do you write your songs in the studio, on the road or both?

A: I don't usually write in the studio, but I do write pretty much everywhere else. I have ideas for songs all the time. You might see me on the subway singing quietly into my phone recording myself on voice memos. I often have ideas on vacation. Probably my most famous one was writing the song "Mahalo" while I was on my honeymoon in Hawaii. I had stepped on a sea urchin and was waiting for two hours to be seen in the emergency room. I was by myself and ended up spending the time writing a song about being thankful for what I had – including time to write a new song. [Laughs]

Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?

A: I've had so many different, wonderful experiences traveling over the years, but while there are many incredible places to visit like Paris, Bermuda, West Africa – often the joy I feel depends more on who I'm with and what happens while I'm there.

Q: A lot of people assume that touring must be fun. But what are some of the challenges?

A: One of the hardest parts of touring is that it can be exhausting. I think it's because I often don't have much time to explore the area or enjoy where I am, other than for the performances. I travel there, do my shows and then travel right back home or to the next show.

Q: How do you stay healthy on the road with such hectic schedules?

A: I make sure to get plenty of sleep. I go to bed early, meditate, practice yoga in the hotel room, and sometimes I use the fitness center or swim if there is a pool. I also bring a lot of my own snacks and request food that makes me feel nourished when I'm eating between shows at a venue. It can be really hard to do all of those things and sometimes I feel like a wet blanket when I don't go out at night with my team or the band. But I know how important it is for me to be at my best once I get on stage.

Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A: I really love just having a staycation at our house in Red Hook. There are so many cool things to do just over the border and in the Hudson Valley. I never get bored being there.


Q: If you've ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?

A: While it's not a place I would choose to go on my own, I think I enjoyed being at Disney World over Christmas the best, mostly because my daughter was just so happy while we were there. Plus, we all got along really well. Anytime we started to get grumpy with each other, one of us would yell, "Wait, wait! Smell the magic!" and it would make us all laugh and remember that we loved being together.

Q: Do you speak any foreign languages?

A: I speak some French. I don't think I pick up languages particularly easily. I took Spanish for about a year just before COVID hit. And then the classes stopped. I can't remember any of it.

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

A: Bali, Japan, many places in Italy, Spain, parts of the Netherlands, Iceland, many places in South America, East Africa…

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

A: Eye mask and earplugs. I can't sleep without them.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?

A: Chocolate!


(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at You may also follow “Go Away With…” on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)

©2024 Jae-Ha Kim. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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