Go Away With ... Chris Fowler
ESPN sportscaster Chris Fowler says that aside from an incident with spoiled yak meat in Nepal, he has experienced few bad incidents traveling. (Allen KeeESPN Images / July 1, 2014)
Q. Which sporting event would you like to travel to for work?
A. I've never covered the Olympics. I'd like to do that.
Q. What work trips stand out?
A. I've been fortunate in the past 27 years to take a lot of assignments in a lot of different places. I've even been to East Berlin when the wall was up and we had to go past Checkpoint Charlie. The police followed you everywhere. It was similar to being in the Soviet Union before (Mikhail) Gorbachev broke down the barriers, and we were accompanied by the KGB. It was amazing to be in Gorky Park and Red Square. And within the United States, I've been to every state but Alaska.
Q. What are some of your favorite destinations?
A. Paris is my wife's and my favorite city. We also travel a lot to Australia for tennis. You travel to a lot of very wonderful places when you cover tennis -- London, Palm Springs, Miami. It's very different from college football, which I also cover. Africa is a favorite place to go. We've been there a few times. We honeymooned in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. We weren't roughing it there.
Q. Since you travel so much for work, do you try to stick close to home when you take personal vacations?
A. Not really. We don't have kids, so traveling is a hobby for us. I sort of feel most alive when I'm in nature and far-flung places. Fortunately, our lifestyle allows us to take long trips and go to lots of nice places.
Q. Which city that you've reported from had the most enthusiastic fans?
A. Seattle was up there. The University of Washington is one of the top stadiums for noise and the fans are very rowdy. The noise cascades down on top of you from the stands. I was impressed. It's a beautiful stadium and has the best tailgating spot in the world. People bring their boats up.
Q. Where would you travel back to for the food?
A. I'd go back to almost any winery in Bordeaux or Tuscany. Food is a big priority for us. Wherever we go, we try not to waste a meal. We'll do research and ask around and find great places to eat with a great view. We've found that places that produce great wine are also great places to eat. So we've been all over the French countryside. We definitely splurge on wine and food when we travel. I think that the food was phenomenal in Peru. There are other reasons to go there, of course, but the food really is amazing.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. We did a lot of family road trips in the station wagon. We drove through New England, where I was introduced to lobster with a bib and tasting maple syrup from a tree. My dad was a college professor, so we didn't do extravagant overseas trips. But it was fun. Me, my brother and parents in the station wagon driving all across America.
Q. Do you and your wife enjoy the same type of trips?
A. Not always! There are lots of trips that I would say wouldn't be her cup of tea. Mountaineering is my hobby. Nepal is seared in my memory. When a mountain speaks to you the way it does to me, I can't find a more beautiful place. Never in a million years would she want to do that. It's roughing it and sleeping in the cold for three weeks and eating ramen noodles. That's not for everybody, but I love it.
Q. So how do you both compromise?
A. I go to Australia every year for work and we manage to combine two great trips after that. We went to New Zealand for a few weeks one time. Work exposes you to places where you can tack on wonderful personal trips. The tennis calendar has a two-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon and we make good use of that. It's very cost effective, too, when one airline ticket is taken care of through work.