He may live on the West Coast, love vacationing in Aspen and Capri, and dream of traveling to Greece, but for Michael Chiklis, Boston will always hold a special place in his heart. The Lowell native, who moved to Andover just before starting first grade, and who attended Boston University, said that some of the most memorable moments of his life have happened in Boston, including being the 2018 BU commencement speaker and performing with the Boston Pops for the Fourth of July concert on the Esplanade in 2011 and 2012. “My mom was an opera singer and we loved the Pops. Every year as a child we went down to the Esplanade on the Fourth of July – and my mom would take me to see the Pops several other times throughout the year,” said the actor, writer, producer, director, and musician. “So to host the [concert] on the Esplanade was such an incredible experience. It was one of the greatest thrills of my life.” The Emmy Award-winning actor, known for television series including “The Commish,” “The Shield,” and “Gotham,” is excited to be starring in the new CBS All Access drama “Coyote,” about a retired border patrol agent who, he said, “all of a sudden finds himself with all of his choices taken away from him and he has to look at life through a completely new and different prism.” The show “takes a very contentious subject matter and brings it to a human level. . . . It’s very truthful and very authentic,” said Chiklis, 57. “It tells great stories in a very entertaining way, but [in a way] that also makes you think and feel. I’m all for walking a mile in another person’s shoes and creating empathy … and this is walking 100 miles in another person’s shoes.” We caught up with Chiklis, who lives in Sherman Oaks, Calif., with his wife, Michelle – with whom he has two daughters, Autumn, 27, and Odessa, 22 — to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination?
I have two: Aspen and Capri. Mainly because of the way they make me feel as soon as I get there. Something just unravels inside my chest and I instantly feel happy and relaxed. Not to mention the fact that they are two of the most physically beautiful places on earth.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing?
Basically anything in Italy because it would appear that the Italians are incapable of making a bad meal. The food in Capri is simply divine.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?
Greece! Believe it or not, I have yet to make it to the land of my ancestors. Well, I am Irish, English, and Italian as well, but I am mostly Greek genetically speaking and it seems absurd that I haven’t been there yet. Not that I haven’t tried: No less than a half dozen times have my plans to go there been waylaid by either work or a sudden crisis — 9/11 and the pandemic to name a couple — but it remains at the top of my list.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?
Earbuds and a great book, because I need music and stories with me at all times.
Aisle or window?
I usually get the aisle for two reasons: My wife loves to look out the window, and if I’m flying alone, I hate having to crawl over a sleeping stranger to use the restroom.
Favorite childhood travel memory?
I remember the first time I ever flew on an airplane. I was about 6 and was going to Miami. It was my first time outside of Massachusetts and it was thrilling. As we were coming in for a landing, I remember my dad pointing down at all the cars at Miami International Airport and saying: “You see all those cars? They represent at least one to four people and every one of them has their own story.” That’s always stuck with me … a wise man my old man. I also just remember the whole trip as being magical because, being from New England, Miami was such an otherworldly place. It was flat and tropical and hot, and it was like January. I remember thinking: “What is this? Why do people live in New England?”
Guilty pleasure when traveling?
Not a guilty pleasure really, but I just love people-watching. I really enjoy keeping a low profile in the corner of some cafe while watching people and making up their stories in my mind’s eye. People fascinate me.
Best travel tip?
Take your time. Get to the airport super early. Don’t rush anything. Check out the art, music, food, architecture, history, and culture of the places you go to. Don’t run to a museum, shove your way to the “famous” painting there, take a selfie with it, and then run to the next spot. Just chill and savor.