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Ari Shapiro at Salmon Creek Farm in Albion, Calif.
Ari Shapiro at Salmon Creek Farm in Albion, Calif.Handout

Broadcast journalist Ari Shapiro has reported from above the Arctic Circle and aboard Air Force One, and covered wars around the world, including in Iraq and Israel. So some may be surprised to learn that the National Public Radio “All Things Considered” cohost is also an accomplished singer. He makes frequent guest appearances with the band Pink Martini (he performed with the group in August at the Cape Cod Melody tent), has had his own cabaret show, and will be back in Massachusetts on Oct. 24 — this time sharing the stage with Tony Award winner Alan Cumming. The two friends will bring their show, “Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret” to Symphony Hall. “He is such a wonderful person on stage and off, and being able to perform with him is so surreal because, like you, I’ve admired him ever since “Cabaret” in the ‘90s,” Shapiro, 42, said of Cumming, 56. “We are scheduling tour dates around my work in news and Alan’s TV and film projects and all the other things that we do. It’s definitely a side project, but one we hope to keep doing.” And as different as journalism and performing may be, Shapiro said the two disciplines have more in common than one may think. “They’re both ways of telling a story and connecting with an audience,” he said. “They’re both ways of helping people understand the world around them a little bit more deeply, and they’re both ways of bridging a divide.” Shapiro said that he and Cumming will cover a variety of musical genres, and promised that there will be at least a few of the show tunes that “no Alan Cumming performance would be complete without.” Tickets may be purchased at celebrityseries.org. Shapiro, a Fargo, N.D., native who moved to Portland, Ore., when he was 8, attended Yale University in New Haven and said he is looking forward to performing in the Northeast and “seeing the fall colors in their peak.” We caught up with Shapiro – who lives in Washington, D.C., with his husband, Mike Gottlieb, a lawyer and consultant, and their two pointers, Simone and Bruce (whom they adopted last year, at the beginning of the pandemic) — to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination?

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My friend Fritz Haeg is an artist who purchased an old commune in Mendocino County, Calif., called Salmon Creek Farm in 2014. Over time he has turned these cabins, orchards, and vegetable gardens set among redwoods into a collective art project and experiment in 21st-century communal living. I spent a month there at the height of the pandemic. It was the first time I had ever stepped off the productivity treadmill for such a long time. I had hoped to conclude the month with some insights into how to get through the challenges of the year ahead. Instead, I wound up thinking about much bigger themes, like my relationship to nature and what I want the second half of my life to look like. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a margarita on a beach, too, but I’d never had a vacation like this one before.

Favorite food or drink while vacationing?

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I always try to visit a local market and cook with whatever is growing nearby. A friend who lives in Costa Rica once took me to a market in the town of Quepos, where we bought local fish, limes, onions, and passion fruit to make something like ceviche, with green plantains that we fried into chips. My favorite way to remember a place is through the taste of the things that grow there.

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Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?

How much time do you have? I want to visit the Maldives before rising seas swallow them up; my husband scuba dives, so this is high on his list, too. A friend of mine bicycled the perimeter of Iceland; I’m not sure I have the stamina for that, but I would love to explore that country. There are many parts of Mexico that I have yet to visit — everyone tells me Mexico City is one of the best cities in the world, and I’m embarrassed not to have been. And a bunch of countries in Southeast Asia are on my list, too. Maybe I need a gap year to backpack through Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. I’d plan a stopover in Singapore just to eat my way through that city.

One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?

On a trip to Tunisia, I bought a sort of towel called a fouta. It works as a beach towel, a yoga mat, a picnic blanket, a tablecloth, a makeshift sarong. . . . I would never have guessed when I bought it that I would use it so often. I always throw it into my suitcase, and now I wish I had bought many more of them.

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Aisle or window?

I’m 6 feet, 3 inches tall — aisle.

Favorite childhood travel memory?

My family always took driving vacations when my brothers and I were kids. Often we’d caravan with aunts, uncles, and cousins, using CB radios to communicate between the cars. We all had handles — code names. Mine was “waiter,” the joke being that if I followed through on my threat to pursue a career in acting, I’d end up as one. One of those vacations took us through Arches, Bryce, and Zion national parks in Utah. A hike in Arches led us to an outcropping with a panoramic view across the desert, where we saw a fast-approaching thunderstorm on the horizon. We ran back down the path the way we’d come and made it to the car just as the downpour started.

Guilty pleasure when traveling?

There are things in my life that I feel guilty about, but pleasures are not among them.

Best travel tip?

Lean into disorientation. Embrace the surreal-ness of jet lag. Allow yourself to wander in a neighborhood without mapping your route. Stumble into places to eat without looking at Yelp reviews. I often think about a short film starring Margo Martindale that was part of a longer movie called “Paris, je t’aime.” Her character has a vacation in Paris that does not fit anyone’s preconceived idea of what a vacation in Paris ought to be. And to her, it is beautiful. That film is on YouTube, by the way. [It’s] worth a watch.

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JULIET PENNINGTON