By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
October 19, 2010
When Jennifer Knapp decides to take time off, she really goes for it. When the 36-year-old singer from Kansas wanted to reassess her life, she took seven years off and spent a good chunk of that time exploring Australia. She didn’t return to the United States until she was good and ready to start recording again. And she announced that she was gay.
Now based out of Nashville, the Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning musician is playing select dates to promote her current album “Letting Go.” Get Knapp’s updated concert schedule at jenniferknapp.com.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. For a true vacation, it’s hard to beat the Bahamas (where there’s) sun, water, seafood, boating and rum. How can you go wrong? I prefer just before or after peak season when things are pretty casual and quiet.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. East Tennessee is a great getaway, if I’m short on time. I can pack up the tent and hiking shoes and head to Ocoee, Tenn. There is plenty of hiking, some great trout streams and even some white water rafting, or any of the state’s national parks. They’re always good for a quiet, low-key weekend. Generally, I like weekend getaways to be easy and unassuming. I often head for less popular destinations, usually something like a bed and breakfast in a quiet town, or camping. I like low-budget affairs that are more to do with getting disconnected from urban life and taking a breather from the rat race.
Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
A. In major cities, I like to be in a hotel that is close to the action so I can travel on foot. Historic centers, great local food — these are the best. Amenities in hotels are for if you’re stuck there, but it’s an added bonus if you can get a non-chain hotel that has been around forever; one that has taken on the feel of the area’s finest personality. If I’m in Philadelphia, I want to be near the history of the city and get an honest cheesesteak, for example. Or in New Orleans, a hotel near the French Quarter so I can enjoy the city on foot, get some stellar in-season crawfish and sugar-dusted beignets! If I’m in Midtown Manhattan, I love staying at the Hudson on 58th Street. I love the illuminated escalator in the lobby, the clean urban feel and elegant wood walls in the rooms. The Grafton on Sunset in West Hollywood is definitely a rock ‘n’ roll hotel, complete with zebra stripe bed linen and rooms with views of downtown Los Angeles.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. A pair of tennis shoes so I can walk all day, a camera and usually a laptop and also a journal to write or sketch in so I can reminisce about the day over a good local brew.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Seattle, New York City, Berlin, Sydney and Prague.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. The history and culture is usually where I start, what made the destination what it is today? How did it get there? Where is it going? As well as having a little familiarity with the local language goes a long way into revealing the true nature of a foreign place. Having an idea of what is happening seasonally is a bonus, especially when it comes to local foods and brews!
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Close your eyes and point toward Asia and you’ll get close. You name it — China, India, Thailand, Vietnam…
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. The best was when I went to Greece for the history, but was surprised by the amazing landscape and people — the Peloponnese, in particular. Beautiful people, extraordinary food, overwhelming history and tons of quiet places to sit, relax and take it all in. I ended up staying for weeks! The worst was traveling in Italy and injuring my back. I required hospitalization for nearly two weeks!
Q. How do you try to fit in when you’re a tourist?
A. Particularly in places where English is not the native language, I try my best to learn a few phrases of the local language if possible. Having an awareness of the culture and history of the places I’m visiting is invaluable. Being prepared to express graceful and sincere interest in the local culture as a guest can lead to the most interesting of conversations. I do my best to act as a guest.
© 2010 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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