Entertainment and lifestyle TV personality Jenny Johnson loves everything about Nantucket, where she met and last year married Robert Cocuzzo, a writer and editor of Nantucket Magazine. Johnson, 35, cohost and producer of NESN’s “Dining Playbook,” lived in Worcester until she was 13, then moved to Marblehead. She and Cocuzzo now live in the Back Bay in an apartment that overlooks the Boston Public Library, where the couple was married. In addition to her television work, Johnson is also involved in numerous charities. She’s an auctioneer (with “Dining Playbook” cohost Billy Costa) at the Boston Center for Adult Education’s “Chew on This” fund-raiser on Thursday night. Also an entrepreneur, she has partnered with a wine maker in California to create a sparkling wine, Champy. We caught up with the three-time Emmy winner to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination? I’m definitely an island girl at heart. I love Nantucket, where I first met my husband. I also vacationed there as a little girl, so Nantucket holds many cherished memories for me. That being said, I also adore the Vineyard and I try to spend at least a week there every summer.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Whatever is local. I love to taste the terroir of a destination. So whether that’s yak’s milk cheese in the Himalayas of Nepal, a juicy lamb chop in the north island of New Zealand, or fried insects at the Chiang Mai walking market in Thailand — I’m game for it all.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? India. I caught a tiny glimpse of what’s to be found in India while I was recently traveling in Nepal — India’s northern neighbor — for my honeymoon. I’m drawn to the people, the culture, the spirituality, and the compelling collection of humanity that so many travelers have raved about when visiting India.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? How about three? A good, long book, a journal, and a camera.
Aisle or window? Window. It makes for a decent pillow and I enjoy the challenge of climbing over the person sleeping next to me when I need a stretch. Plus, can’t beat the view.
Favorite childhood travel memory? Whenever we would set off on a trip with my grandfather, he’d always say [a Yiddish phrase] when we stepped onto the plane [that] we understood meant “have a safe trip.” He’d instruct us to step onto the plane using our right foot. Sure, it was a bit superstitious, but I still do it to this day.
Guilty pleasure when traveling? I never shy away from dessert. Traveling is a time to indulge whenever the opportunity presents itself. Plus, all the walking quickly burns off that brownie sundae.
Best travel tip? Spend the money on the experience. No one remembers how much they paid for a plane ticket or the tab at a restaurant. They remember the experience. Travel is one of the best investments we can make in the quality of our lives, so never feel guilty about splurging on it.