Old Town, Maine, native Aron Gaudet has always been a movie buff. While his career started in the broadcast news industry – including working for two years at New England Sports Network – he quickly transitioned into writing, producing, and directing documentaries and indie films, including “The Way We Get By” and “Beneath the Harvest Sky.” With an impressive resume under his belt, Gaudet, 47, is about to release his first big-budget film, “Queenpins,” which he wrote, directed, and produced with his wife, Gita Pullapilly. The film, which stars Kristen Bell and Vince Vaughn, is a dark comedy inspired by the true story of the largest counterfeit coupon caper in history. “We shot this in LA during the pandemic, which definitely had its challenges,” Gaudet said. “I hope that people walk away from seeing this movie feeling joy because that’s something I think is lacking right now. People are struggling and I think they want a reason to laugh and feel joy.” We caught up with Gaudet, who lives in LA with Pullapilly and their rescue chihuahua, Miss Minnie Pearl, and cats Jordan and Beanie, to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination?
Jackson Hole, Wyo. My wife, Gita, and I did a cross country road trip from Chicago to Los Angeles a few summers ago and we hit seven national parks along the way. The highlight of the trip, by far, was Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I think that Yellowstone National Park may be the most beautiful place in the entire country. I know I could spend many, many vacations in Jackson Hole, exploring the vastness of that area, without ever getting tired of it.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing?
I’m a big breakfast person, and my favorite food is the egg. I’m pretty convinced I could open a breakfast spot and do big business just making top-notch egg dishes. So when I’m vacationing, I’m always on the hunt for a great breakfast — greasy spoon diner, family restaurant, cozy cafe. . . . If they make eggs, I’m there.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?
Greece and more specifically a beautiful Greek island named Zakynthos. I have a couple of friends who are of Greek heritage, and seeing photos from their time spent in Greece really sold me on making a trip. The water surrounding Zakynthos is the clearest and bluest I have ever seen.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?
My iPad loaded up with all of the movies, TV shows, books, long-read articles, and music I haven’t had time to enjoy — along with some noise-canceling headphones. I have trouble sleeping on planes, so I try to see every long flight as an opportunity to appreciate all of the art and culture I may have missed out on.
Aisle or window?
It’s really the middle seat I take issue with. The person in the middle seat is always battling for a little armrest area and you feel like you’re an unwelcome guest by both the aisle and window folks. I’m not a huge fan of air travel, and I don’t get up very often during a flight, so I tend to go for the window seat and just hunker down until we land.
Favorite childhood travel memory?
I grew up in Maine — a.k.a. Vacationland — so you might assume I have lots of wonderful travel memories from my childhood. But you’d be wrong. It always shocks me at how many people I meet out here in the film industry that have fond memories of time spent in Maine — usually at summer camp as a kid or maybe as an annual family vacation destination. But growing up in a small mill town in central Maine did not feel like Vacationland. In the summer, if I was lucky, we may have taken a family drive to the ocean, gotten an ice cream, taken a look out at the water, and then headed home.
Guilty pleasure when traveling?
Having an excuse not to work. My wife and I co-write and co-direct films together, so when we’re home, we are usually working. Since we’re juggling several scripts and films at any given moment, it becomes very hard to turn everything off and just relax. Traveling gives us the perfect excuse to unplug and unwind and just enjoy being husband and wife.
Best travel tip?
Leave early. I always look for the first flight out. I enjoy light traffic, a less crowded airport, and some open seats on the flight. Plus, you get to your destination with some daylight to spare so you can kick off your vacation that much sooner.