by Jae-Ha Kim and Tribune Content Agency, Celebrity Travel, May 18, 2018
Growing up in New York, actor Kirk Acevedo says he learned early on to be self-reliant. "Having lived on my own since I was 16 in a big city taught me to be very self-sufficient," says Acevedo, who portrays Ricardo Diaz -- aka The Dragon -- on the CW series "Arrow." "I trust people very slowly. And then I suffer no fools. And for these skills I have to thank New York City. I always know who's walking 20 yards behind me and then who's 20 yards ahead." The Los Angeles-based actor -- who is also known for his work on "Oz," "Thin Red Line" and "Band of Brothers" -- is looking forward to spending this summer visiting Europe with his wife, actress Kiersten Warren, and their daughter, Scarlett. Fans may stay in touch with Acevedo on his Twitter account (https://twitter.com/kirkacevedo).
Q. Of all the characters you've played, which one would make a great travel partner?
A. Ricardo Diaz (from "Arrow") would be a hoot to travel with. I mean with all his connections we'd be hooked up with the best restaurant reservations, event tickets and all-access passes everywhere. Downside would be trying to keep him from killing people, of course. Upside, you're rolling with top-of-the-line security. And for those times when things go a little sideways and you get arrested, I could trust him to fix that too. Yeah, I'd go anywhere with him.
Q. What would be your dream vacation?
A. The Orient Express. Or any trip where my middle-schooler puts down her phone would be a dream.
Q. How has growing up in New York shaped the man you are today?
A. As a latchkey kid at 5, I learned to navigate the subway system and how to duck under velvet ropes with ease. For a couple weeks, I played hooky from school -- just walked out and caught the train to the American Museum of Natural History, where no one suspected anyone that little would be on their own. To this day, that museum is one of my favorite places in the world. But heads-up, kids: that kind of devil-may-care attitude will get you kicked out of kindergarten. I speak from proud experience.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. I was a Fresh Air Fund kid as a child. That's where they send inner-city kids to other parts of the country, specifically farms in the Midwest. I was sent to a slaughter farm where they made veal from baby calves. Brutal; and I hated it. It's hard for a little kid from the South Bronx to be plucked from the world he knows and live with another family. I was way stressed out and wet the bed and they hit me. I'll always remember that. Honestly, it's amazing I didn't grow up to be a killer. But, hey, I play one on TV!
Q. Have you traveled to a place that helped shape how you viewed it?
A. I was in Cairns (and Port Douglas), Australia, for six months filming "The Thin Red Line." Before I went, I read up on the deadly snakes and saltwater and freshwater crocodiles and killer spiders that hang out in your boots, jellyfish and great white sharks. So I got off the plane expecting "Land of the Lost," but found it so peaceful and relaxing and the people so lovely that I almost let my guard down. Then I met the giant fruit bats swooping over our heads like freaking pterodactyls. The guys I was shooting with and myself were carrying pizzas and that sustaining image of us screaming like little girls, while dodging those monsters, is a horror takeaway from an otherwise idyllic place.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. London, probably. The pace. The congestion. I lived there for a year filming "Band of Brothers" in 1999. I really loved it.
Q. What do you hope your daughter remembers from her travels?
A. I want her to understand that traveling internationally changes who you are for the better and for all times. She's been to a lot of places. I want her to know a hundred people's personal stories from a hundred different places. And then from that be able to glean that which we all have in common and then that which is special to her home. I want her to have a worldview and to be an independent thinker. Scratch that, she's already way too independent of a thinker for me.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. The Amalfi Coast is amazing. I loved Positano so much, and I'm taking the family in June. Capri. My god -- the food, culture and history.
(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.)
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