Go Away With ... Jackson Rathbone

“Twilight” actor Jackson Rathbone says he keeps a list of the best cheeseburgers he eats in every city he visits.
(Megan Allen)

As “Twilight” celebrates the 10th anniversary of its theatrical release this year, Jackson Rathbone -- who portrayed broody vampire Jasper Hale -- is busy. He is one of the stars of the film “Heart, Baby!” and has a new single out, “Young and Tragic.” Born in Asia, the actor-musician says he traveled so much as a child that he feels “only at home when I’m traveling. I find myself residing mostly on airplanes, usually between Los Angeles and Austin. However, I’ve been known to fly all over the world for work, from Mexico to South Africa, Colombia to France, and even as far as the exotic plains of Canada!” Fans may stay in touch with Rathbone on Twitter (

Q. Tell me a little about your childhood.

A. I was born in Singapore and yet I have only known my birth town for one month. I was there while my mother recuperated in the hospital from our emergency Cesarean. Then my parents returned with me to Medan, Indonesia, for a year. My strongest, early memories come from moving to Tananger, Norway. On my first day of first grade, I introduced myself to the class and a young girl said, “He speaks English!” That was an exciting and new thing for them.

Q. Where did you film “Heart, Baby!”?


A. We filmed in my mother’s hometown of New Orleans during Mardi Gras festivities. I had my pregnant wife and our 3-year-old son join me and watch the parades. Mardi Gras can be a wonderful family experience. Debauchery isn’t necessary. Avoid the downtown parts of the parade. Go to the residential areas where the parades begin. Bring a folding chair, cooler full of beer and a warm jacket. And talk to anyone and everyone around you. Mardi Gras brings out the convivial nature of New Orleans and people are friendlier than usual.

Q. Do you have any travel tips to share with other parents with young children?

A. There are more than two schools of thought on this, but I subscribe to the notion that your child will adapt to your lifestyle, not the other way around. Children are adaptable, much more so than adults. Your kids will love to hear stories and see pictures of themselves traveling with you, so don’t let parenthood stop you from exploring the world. Apparently, I took my very first steps in Sydney, Australia, and while I have yet to travel back to Australia, it will always be dear to me knowing that’s where I learned to walk. Now, I can always blame Australia for my bowleggedness.

Q. “Twilight” was filmed primarily in Portland and Washington. I love the Pacific Northwest and its weather, but some people hate it. How did you feel about the area?


A. Personally, I’m not a fan of living in an area that rains half the year. That being said, there is nothing more beautiful to me than the mossy underbellies of the fauna of the Pacific Northwest. I have been back to Portland for work many times. I’ve played the venue Doug Fir Lounge as a musician and loved the food and sound system there. My sister, Kelly Garrett Rathbone Rebo, is an internationally renowned sculptor and she now resides in Portland with her prolific musician husband, Ryan Rebo. I visit as often as I can to get my fill of family, mossy trees and the vibrant art scene.

Q. Have you ever picked a film project because of where it was being shot?

A. Yes. New Orleans. If you have a film shooting in New Orleans, I’m bound to say yes. It is one of my favorite cities in the entire world.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. My entire extended family had a reunion there one year and we have been going back ever since. If you are heading to Cabo, it’s not just all beaches and tropical alcoholic beverages. Make sure to check out the art walk in the historic main square. Wonderful artists from around the world have made Cabo their home and the gallery district is a great way to spend the day, gazing at fine art and popping into one of the many incredible restaurants there for lunch and dinner.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Traverse City, Michigan. I went to school at Interlochen Arts Academy, which is one town over from Traverse. The summer and spring in that area, near the northern top of the Michigan mitten, is simply gorgeous. From cherry picking to sand dunes, the forest to the Great Lakes, don’t forget to stop at the Hofbrau and try one of their famous fried pickles -- it’s a half pickle spear wrapped in Swiss cheese and ham, covered in a wonton wrapper, then deep fried. It’s heaven dipped in ranch dressing.

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


A. Countless religious and political ideologies run amuck, but we all share the same planet. Just remember the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. I love driving. A three- to eight-hour drive may seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that you can always be a tourist, even within your home state. Plus, you save a lot of money and mental health when you don’t have to worry about airlines issues.

(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.)


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