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Andrew McCarthy is many things: actor, director, author — and travel writer

We caught up with the Westfield, N.J., native — who will be in Boston for the Travel & Adventure Show at the Hynes Convention Center on March 5 and 6 — to talk about all things travel

Andrew McCarthy and his son, Sam, in summer 2021 on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.Handout

Andrew McCarthy wears many professional hats, including those of actor, director, author, and travel writer. As a member of the “Brat Pack,” he costarred in such iconic 1980s films as “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Less than Zero.” While he still acts occasionally, McCarthy, 59, said in a recent phone interview that he spends more time directing — most recently episodes of the NBC drama “The Blacklist” (which stars his “Pretty in Pink” and “Less than Zero” costar James Spader) — and fitting in travel writing whenever he can. It is McCarthy’s passion for travel that will bring him to Boston for the Travel & Adventure Show at the Hynes Convention Center on March 5 and 6. He will speak at 10:45 a.m. on March 5. “The theme is the transformative power of travel; how travel changes us for the better,” McCarthy said, adding that he gets “giddy” while attending travel shows. “You walk in and there are all of these people presenting different places to go . . . and it’s just like wow, it’s a big world out there. I still get very excited by that and so when I go, I always like walking the floor for a while before I go do my thing because I find it very inspiring.” The author of the 2013 travel memoir “The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down” and two other books said that it’s time for people to get back to traveling. “I think we’ve all been on the couch far too much the last couple of years,” he said. “It’s time to get up off the couch.” McCarthy, who has won numerous travel-writing awards, is married to Dolores Rice and has three children — Sam, 19, who is in the Netflix show “Dead to Me,” Willow, 15, who has been in three Broadway shows (including the lead in “Matilda”), and Rowan, 8 — as well as a 6-year-old English golden retriever, Lola. We caught up with the Westfield, N.J., native, who lives in New York City, to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination? I’m not a great vacationer. Although I love to travel. I see them as two very different things. Vacation seems to me about being pampered, all the hard edges of life softened, [and] being removed from reality as much as possible. ... I experience [travel] as a desire to immerse myself in the world in a very rich way; often in a culture as different from my own as possible. The feeling of discovery and awe that can follow rekindles my joy at being alive and connects me to those around me to the inverse degree that a vacation isolates me. But that’s probably more of an answer than you were looking for, so … I love the west of Ireland — it is still very much itself, no matter how prosperous Ireland becomes. I used to live on Maui and love to return to Hawaii. I want to return to Patagonia.


Favorite food or drink while vacationing? I am embarrassed to say that I am not much of a foodie. I’m always happy to eat pizza — and you can get some good ones, and terrible ones — all over the world. I did have a bowl of lemongrass soup in Laos 25 years ago that I’ve never forgotten.

Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? I’ve been scheduled to go to Antarctica twice and had to cancel both times at the last second. I gotta get there before the ice melts. And I’d like to go to Egypt; it seems odd that I’ve never been.


One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? Almond butter. Snacking can make a seemingly horrible situation bearable and maybe even interesting — and memorable.


Aisle or window? Aisle. I tend to feel trapped easily.

Favorite childhood travel memory? We used to go to a family resort in the Pocono Mountains in the winter and they had a fantastic toboggan run that shot you out over the frozen lake. Amazing.

Guilty pleasure when traveling? One of the beautiful things about travel is that we tend to be more open than at home. I’m game for anything on the road; spare me the guilt.

Best travel tip? Stop planning, just go.