by Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency, May 23, 2017
The "Pretty Little Liars" series finale is airing later this summer, but Shay Mitchell (who plays |Emily Fields) doesn't have time to mourn. She has finished work on the horror film "Cadaver," has plans to write a follow-up to her book, "Bliss," and is working on Fullscreen's reality series, "Shades of Shay." Mitchell was born in Mississauga (near Toronto) to a Filipina mother (who is the cousin of Broadway star Lea Salonga) and an Irish-Scottish father. Based out of Los Angeles, she stays in touch with fans via social media at Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/shaymitchell/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/shaymitch) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/OfficialShayMitchell/).
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. It would have to be a toss-up between Morocco and Italy. Morocco was easily one of the most amazing and inspiring places I have ever been to. The food and people were great and the design and architecture is unreal. I did so much shopping for my home there! Go to the Medina. The souks there sell incredible, homemade things and the atmosphere there is great. And Italy is somewhere that I have always loved and dreamed of living eventually. The people and the food in Italy are unlike any place I've ever been. Depending on where you are, rent an old car and drive up the coast. Capri and Positano are two places you can't miss in Italy.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. There are so many amazing islands in the Philippines that people are just discovering, it is incredible over there.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. When I was five, my mom took me to L.A. and we went to Disneyland. It was just the two of us so that made it special, and what 5-year-old doesn't love a trip to see Mickey!?
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. When I travel, I try to make a point of taking local, back roads and not necessarily following a plan. It may very well be the road less traveled, but each place I have been to, I have done this and it has never disappointed me. I always find a sweet face of a young child or an older woman with an expressive smile and those are the things I remember most about a trip.
Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your life?
A. Cambodia. I traveled to Cambodia and was connected with an organization that's sole mission is to end slavery and sex trafficking. That trip changed my soul and shaped who I am today.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Being in L.A., there are so many drivable getaways, so that's nice. My favorites would have to be Santa Barbara for some beach time and wine-tasting or Palm Springs.
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. So far, Fiji was the most romantic trip I have been on, and I loved it.
Q. If you've ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. A few years ago, my friends and I rented a house in Jamaica for New Year's and we had the best time! The house was right on the beach, so I would wake up and without fail at least two of my friends would already be on jet skis in the ocean before we even had breakfast.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. I love small boutique hotels as well as large chains. I would have to say a hotel that always gets it right is the Four Seasons (http://www.fourseasons.com). I know whenever I walk into a Four Seasons my stay is going to be great.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Toronto, Positano, Marrakesh, Barcelona, L.A.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Hong Kong sort of reminds me of Vancouver (where I grew up). There are a lot of Canadian transplants in Hong Kong and I always run into someone I know over there.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Greece! Trying to make it happen this year!
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I would say external phone chargers, hot sauce, sleep eye mask and a journal are some of my travel must-haves.
Q. What would be your dream fantasy trip?
A. I would love to explore the Maldives.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. I have an app that downloads every magazine to ever exist, so I'd say that. And sometimes you just need some junk food for a long drive.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I will always read about the city and mainly the restaurants! I love TripAdvisor for helping me choose which restaurants have the most amazing vibe and food and which are tourist traps.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. Best vacation memory would be hot-air ballooning in Morocco at 5 a.m. The sights were unreal. Worst vacation memory would have to be seeing all of the young kids and their siblings selling things on the road in Thailand as cars sped past them. It was an image I will never be able to get out of my head.
(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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