Go Away With ... Nathan Adrian
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I'm a water creature, so any place where it's warm, like Hawaii. I prefer relaxing kinds of vacations. I'm not someone who likes to go to a place for seven days and do something different each time. It gets exhausting. I like kicking back.

Q. How does your hometown compare to the places you've visited?

A. I grew up in the Seattle area. Whenever I show people pictures, they say, "Oh, it's so beautiful!" I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. You can take a small boat around Puget Sound, visit the University of Washington's beautiful campus, try the amazing restaurants. ... There's not much I don't like about it. It's rainy, but I don't mind that either.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. One of my earliest memories is of going to Hawaii to watch my sister compete in a swim meet. It was incredible. It was my mom and myself, and one of my cousins came along, too. I was about five and loved playing at the beach.

Q. What is on your travel bucket list?

A. I want to get to Thailand and that area. It's so difficult for us Americans to get to, but I've only heard amazing things. I've heard the Philippines is absolutely gorgeous. We have a summer competition this year in Australia. After the competition, I'm going to try to convince some of my friends to go to South Asia with me to explore.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. I bring a memory foam pillow with me for long trips so that I'm comfortable and have something that feels like home. I found a place where I can buy them pretty cheap, so after I'm done with them, I leave them at the hotel. I don't bring them back home with me.

Q. Where would you like to go if you had two months off to do nothing?

A. I would go home and spend time with my family. I have a new nephew and I'd like to hang out with him. Don't get me wrong. Living in the Bay Area is awesome and Seattle is just two hours away. I just don't have much time to get back there.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?

A. When I'm at home and training hard, I really stay away from desserts. But if I'm traveling and someone offers me dessert, I don't turn it down!

Q. What is your best vacation memory?

A. It's from the first trip to Hawaii that I took. I remember I got up earlier than I ever had and we watched the sunrise. It was really beautiful.

(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)