Go Away With … Sarah Piampiano

As a child, Sarah Piampiano dreamed of being an Olympian. But, as an adult, she figured her life as an investment banker would prevent her from becoming a full-time athlete. Five years ago, she made a lifestyle switch, quitting her job, moving to the West Coast and devoting all her time and energy into becoming a pro triathlete. Piampiano, 34, says that switching from finance to the world of elite athletes hasn’t been the easiest transition, but one for which she has a passion.

Where to stay in … Scotland

My favorite hotel in Edinburgh is the Malmaison, which is located in the Leith district. Trendy but not precious, the hotel has all the comforts of home and the hipness of the latest club or bar. You’ll also find a United Nations of restaurants within blocks of the hotel. But be sure to make reservations. I tried getting a table for dinner on a Saturday night and had to really search for a place that could fit me without a multi-hour wait.

Go Away With … Paul Feig

Director and author Paul Feig may be the one American who vacations in suits. “My wife and I just love to travel,” says the 47-year-old Los Angeles resident. “We go to Europe quite a bit. I think most of the photos have me in suits. OK, maybe not most of them, but I do like to wear suits a lot. I guess I’m a throwback to the days when people dressed up to travel.” Best known for creating “Freaks and Geeks,” Feig also co-executive produced “The Office,” directed episodes of “Nurse Jackie” and acted in films such as “Knocked Up.”

Scotland

Scotland has become almost a caricature of itself in the American media with comics imitating Sean Connery’s brogue and Mike Myers “If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!” skits on “Saturday Night Live.” Often viewed as less cosmopolitan than England but not pastoral enough to be as pretty as Switzerland, Scotland actually is all that and more. With some fabulous gourmet restaurants, the gorgeous countryside and some of the most amazing castles and ruins — all within a few hours drive — Scotland is a wonderful destination for travelers who want it all without having to learn another language.

Orkney Islands

Refer to any of the 19,000 inhabitants of the Orkney Islands as a Scot, and he or she will politely inform you they are not Scots. They’re Orcadians. They may live just a few miles north of mainland Scotland, but these island dwellers are an entity unto themselves. Yes, they eat haggis and talk with accents as thick as the blood used in black pudding. But unlike residents of cosmopolitan Edinburgh and nouveau-chic Glasgow, Orcadians don’t revel in trendy nightlife or upscale boutiques catering to the rich and bored.