Go Away With ... Maddie Hasson

"Impulse" actress Maddie Hasson says visiting her husband's family in South Africa is always a fun adventure.
(Julian Brink)
Celebrity Travel by Jae-Ha Kim

Actress Maddie Hasson says that when she thinks of travel, she thinks of her husband, Julian Brink. “He is very related to travel for me,” says Hasson, 23. “I do all of my traveling with him, including a lot of firsts. South Africa was the first really different and exciting place I went to and I went with him.” The star of Doug Liman’s highly anticipated new YouTube Red series, “Impulse,” Hasson keeps fans updated on her work and travels on her Instagram ( and Twitter ( accounts.

Q. What was it like visiting your husband’s home country of South Africa?

A. It was wonderful. I’ve been so lucky, because I got to experience it in a way that a lot of Americans don’t get to do, since I was with someone who grew up there. I went to Cape Town and stayed there for three days. When we go back, I will make it a week-long thing, because there’s a lot to see and it can be overwhelming unless you have a game plan and time.

Q. People sometimes say they couldn’t wait to get away from their hometown. How did you feel about leaving Wilmington, N.C., where you grew up?


A. It’s one of my favorite places now, but for sure, I had that. When I was 13 or so, I sat on my front porch and just cried and had a full-blown tantrum: “I don’t belong here! I have to get out of here!” (Laughs) (My mother) was a saint. She dealt with a lot from me. I was the worst.

Q. Do you enjoy going on road trips?

A. I love them. We took a lot of trips to Florida when I was a kid. Because we lived in North Carolina, the place you vacation when growing up on that coast is Florida. It’s a go-to. The last one Julian and I took was to Joshua Tree and it was really cool. We packed the car with snacks and stayed at an Airbnb in the middle of the desert. That was my first time there and it was very relaxing. You could see all the stars.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. I feel like you think that wherever you grow up is the center of the world and that your language is the most important. I think a lot of Americans, especially, have that idea. The more you travel, the more you realize that is so not the case. There’s so much more to be explored and there are so many cultures in the world. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s bad or shouldn’t be respected. It’s really fun to be immersed in a really different culture that you’re not used to. You realize how there’s no blanket normal for how things are done.

Q. When you visited Sri Lanka, did you get a feel for what it’s like being a minority?

A. That’s a difficult question to answer, because I don’t think I’ll ever understand what it’s like to be a minority. But you are out of the ordinary with fair skin and a hair color that really catches the light. People notice you more. But it’s not anything negative, it’s more curiosity, because (someone like me is) not seen every day.

Q. How are you with foreign languages?


A. I’m so bad. I’m trying to learn Afrikaans. Julian’s family will speak to each other in Afrikaans when they’re trying to say something so the kids don’t understand, and I can’t play along. I want to learn, but I don’t have an ear for languages.

Q. Which city surprised you with its cuisine?

A. You know what? Toronto has really good food and I didn’t really expect it. There are incredible restaurants where I’ve had some of the best meals in my entire life. And a lot of people think about London for high tea, and it is really good there. But the best high tea I’ve ever had was at the Belmond Mount Nelson in Cape Town. It was just beautiful and incredible.

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


A. I am an anxious flier. Since I first started taking a lot of trips when I was 16 and flying a lot, I would take this stuffed animal I have named Snowflake -- a cat that I’ve had since I was 3. I still take her in my luggage; also, an empty suitcase for souvenirs, so that I can pack trinkets and stuff when I come back home.

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