I travel for the Scenery

Fathom Questionnaire: Nina Kokotas Hahn

by Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina on a run in Monterey, California.

Hometown: Chicago.

Occupation: Magazine and travel writer.

Favorite destinations: Northern California, especially Big Sur, Sonoma County, and Yosemite; Maui; Prague.

Dying to visit: The Amalfi Coast (beautiful Italians!), Australia (sharks!), and San Francisco's Farallon Islands (really big sharks!).

Bizarre travel rituals: I spend far too much time packing and thinking about packing only to overpack.  

In-flight relaxation regime: Aisle seat at the front of the plane, Xanax, and a big bottle of water. The truth is that I hate to fly, but I power through for travel.

Always in carry-on: Xanax, sunglasses, and a magazine; I like to make like I'm Bernie from Weekend at Bernie's.

Concierge or DIY? Concierge. It cuts to the chase a bit more to start with the vetted and then jump off from there.

See it all or take it easy? See it all. Thanks to Rick Steves, I never tell myself it's the last time I'll be somewhere, but I do love a packed day.

Drive or be driven? Be driven by anyone but a Chicago or NYC cab driver.

Travel hero: My mom. A travel agent since before I was born, she's still a daring adventurer and has taught me everything I know about being curious, brave, and ballsy.

Weirdest thing seen on travels: A passerby on a trail hike with her nose deep in a book titled Famous Elvis Sightings.

Best hotel amenity: Stellar bathroom products, awesome pillows, free WiFi, and innovative spaces beyond the hotel room.

I dream about my meal at Casanova in Carmel-by-the-Sea, El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma, and Central Grocery in New Orleans.

Everywhere I go, I check out the restaurants, coastlines, and outdoor adventures. I am a woman not afraid to eat, sunbathe, or face the scary.

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by going for a run. Hands down, it's my favorite way to experience a new place. Recently while visiting Mackinac Island, I ran the 8.5-mile trail around the entire island; it ended up being the highlight of my trip.

I always bring home found items like rocks and shells, including those from National Parks (sorry NPS!), boatloads of photographs, and treats for my kids.

If I never return to Budapest, it'll be too soon because fresh produce and happy-looking locals are far too hard to come by.

I travel for the heart-pounding thrill of experiencing something new.

MORE NINA

Website: ninakkhahn.com
Twitter: @ninakhahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina is a freelance writer who pens a weekly travel column at Chicago magazine and also contributes to Healthy Travel, HotelChatter, and AOL Travel, among others. You can follow her on Twitter at @ninakhahn. She travels for the heart-pounding thrill of experiencing something new.

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