Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamie Gahlon was hoping to find an extended period of time so that she and her husband could travel to Japan. “It was at the top of my list,” said Gahlon, 36, director of HowlRound, a not-for-profit organization based at Emerson College that provides members of the theater community from around the world a digital platform to share ideas, knowledge, and inspiration. “We’ve seen a major uptick in demand for the work that HowlRound does since the beginning of the pandemic. So right now, for example, we’re livestreaming a lot of panel discussions, national conferences, and things of that nature that are more accessible now because everything is digital,” she said. In 2020, HowlRound TV supported 554 livestream events — a 385 percent increase from 2019 when there were 114 events. And hits to howlround.com are up nearly 71 percent from last year, Gahlon said. Founded in 2011, HowlRound is committed to providing a platform to amplify voices and issues that have traditionally been underrepresented — and even unheard — in the theater. Gahlon, who is from St. Paul, attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where she cofounded HowlRound, which was at Arena Stage in D.C. before moving to the Office of the Arts at Emerson College. She is currently completing her master’s degree in performance curation at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. We caught up with Gahlon, who lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband, Patrick Smith, a financial analyst, and their Australian Cattle dog, Yuffie, to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination?
My husband and I went to New Zealand for our honeymoon [in 2018] and it was unbelievable: pristine natural beauty, hiking galore, wonderful people and rich culture, and an inspiring female prime minister around my age to boot. I dream about going back, especially now given the way they’ve handled the pandemic.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing?
I try to sample local specialties wherever I am. In New Zealand on the Coromandel Coast, I loved trying green-lipped mussels and hokey pokey — vanilla with pieces of honeycomb — ice cream.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?
I would love to travel to Japan when I next have an extended period I can get away. It was top of my list, then COVID hit.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?
My reusable — now dented and well-worn — Emerson College water bottle.
Aisle or window?
If traveling with my husband, window because I don’t mind bothering him to get out. If flying solo, aisle so I can move freely and guilt-free whenever needed.
Favorite childhood travel memory?
Spending time in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness — a more than 1 million-acre wilderness area in the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota — with my family. I still vividly recall the thrill of canoeing to our campsite, helping my older brother catch our fish dinner, and sliding down rocks into the cold lake water to swim and bathe.
Guilty pleasure when traveling?
All the desserts! And all the theater I can find — not a guilty pleasure, by any means … a necessary one.
Best travel tip?
It’s incredible how a pair of earplugs and an eye mask can help one get solid sleep just about anywhere.