Lisa Roth grew up in an artistic family. Her surgeon father was also an actor, her mother was a sculptor and her older brother, David Lee Roth, was the frontman for Van Halen. After a career as a nutritionist, Lisa Roth co-founded “Rockabye Baby,” which licenses music by artists such as the Beatles, Nirvana and U2 and reinvents them as gorgeous lullabies. Of her own childhood, the Pasadena-based Roth fondly recalled trips with her family. “I remember taking the train from Boston to Miami to visit my grandparents when I was four,” she said. “We stayed in a hotel with a huge pool, which was all very exciting. I clearly remember climbing out of the pool with a tummy ache, climbing into my mother’s arms and throwing up into the front pocket of her polka dot, terry cloth coverup. It was a perfect aim and a great trip.”
Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?
A: French Polynesia. The first time I visited was as a young kid in the early ‘70s. On the last day of my last trip there, we were waiting on a helipad for a helicopter to make a quick island jump from Moorea to the airport on Tahiti. As we were boarding the helicopter, I overheard someone share that the pilot had been kicked out of the French air force, because he had a drinking problem. My jaw dropped. Once we took off, the pilot offered to give us a tour of the entire island of Moorea before heading to the airport. My friends jumped at the offer and I sat there quietly like a deer in the headlights. What we got was the most spectacular 30-minute wild ride high above the jagged, emerald green mountains, valleys and waterfalls of Moorea. We did figure eights, nose dives, ascents and circles over the most gorgeous and memorable scenery I have ever seen to date – made all the more exhilarating by the intel I had on the pilot.
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A: Palm Springs. It’s only a one-hour and 45-minute drive. There is something about the light and color in the desert that’s relaxing and beautiful. I love it in the winter at the height of the tourist season when it’s buzzing with visitors from all over the country. Daytime temperatures are moderate and sunny, and the evenings are cold. I also love it in the middle of summer when it’s 110 degrees during the day and cools to 87 degrees at 10 at night. I love going to a late-night dinner dressed for a warm summer day.
Q: What are your five favorite cities?
A: Pasadena, Chicago, New York, Miami, Boston.
Q: Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A: Chicago. I have a lot of family in Chicago. Growing up, I spent many Christmas and summer vacations there. I credit them with providing a sense of stability at a time when I needed it most.
Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A: Wipes for the plane, headphones, cushy socks, sweatpants, lots of snacks, an extra set of toiletries to keep with me in case my luggage gets lost, my favorite pillow case, great reading material, magazines and my phone so I can take pictures and listen to music.
Q: What would be your dream trip?
A: Right now, it would involve a lush, isolated, tropical island with white sand and turquoise water. Lots of palm trees that rustle in the breeze and the scent of local flowers hanging in the air. There would be time for lots of sleeping, reading, running on the beach, swimming and eating simple clean meals. I’m craving the peace and beauty.
Q: What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A: My best is also my worst. Many years ago, my boyfriend at the time (and I) spent three weeks in Kenya. It was truly amazing. For our last adventure before coming home, we hopped on a tiny, beat-up ’50s propeller plane and flew for a couple of hours to the middle of nowhere. The door between the cockpit and the cabin was partially unhinged and kept swinging open, then slamming shut with every bump from the constant turbulence. We landed on a remote dirt clearing that we had to buzz a couple of times to clear the zebras away. Waiting for us was a man driving a Jeep and a Maasai guide. The Jeep dropped us off deeper into nowhere, with the understanding that in two days we would be picked up at the same spot. After two days of hiking, forging rivers, and close encounters with amazing wildlife, I came down with what was later diagnosed as a type of parasite that causes tummy problems, similar to dysentery. I was dehydrated and delirious. My boyfriend had been bitten by some sort of insect that caused his testicles to swell. In the wee hours of the night, we sat in our tent, far away from anything familiar, nocturnal animals roaming around us and (we) fluctuated between laughing and crying. My boyfriend filmed the whole pitiful mess. In my delirium, I kept repeating how much I wanted a bowl of the red cabbage salad from a restaurant we frequented near our house in California. It’s interesting what you crave when you’re scared and in need of comfort. I guess for me it’s red cabbage salad!
(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.)
©2020 Jae-Ha Kim. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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