The VIP Lounge with Joan Osborne
For those who weren’t able to catch Joan Osborne’s show in Boston last month, the singer-songwriter, who broke onto the music scene with the 1995 hit song “One of Us,” will perform at the Tilden Arts Center in West Barnstable on Dec. 22. The Grammy-nominated performer, 56, is a native of Anchorage, Ky., and lives in Brooklyn with her partner, fellow musician Keith Colton, and her 13-year-old daughter, who shares her love of Japan. We caught up with Osborne to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination Japan. I’ve been a few times, but there are still many more things to see and do. I’ve been to see Kabuki theater and to an owl cafe in Tokyo — kind of like a cat cafe, but with owls, not cats — and it’s just magical and amazing. I have a daughter who loves animation and manga, so she really enjoys it, too.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Japan is a great place to eat. I love sushi and huge steaming bowls of noodles, and everything is really fresh [and] really healthy so you can indulge without suffering afterward. Even my teen daughter — who is very picky — loves the food in Japan.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? I’ve always wanted to visit Africa. The music and the people are primarily what draw me, though I would also love to see some of the animals. Someday I’ll make a big journey, starting in Morocco to hear the Joujouka musicians, and slowly make my way down to South Africa. That’s my big fantasy vacation.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? I have a little homemade kit that I take on airplanes, to try to avoid getting sick. It has various concoctions and elixirs that I use to keep me from picking up the germs of people around me, or giving them mine. Most of the time it works. Some of the items I bring include saline nasal spray, special herbal tea, little bottles of essential oils that I put on my wrists, a toothbrush . . . I can’t afford to get sick when I’m touring.
Aisle or window? Window, for sure. I never get tired of seeing the earth from so high above, and looking out at the clouds [with] the infinite variations of shapes they make. It can be nice not to have to crawl over someone when you need to use the bathroom, but for me it’s worth it to have the light and the views of the window seat.
Favorite childhood travel memory? When I was 10 years old my parents packed my five siblings and me into our station wagon and drove down to Hollywood, Fla., from our home in Kentucky. My dad was working construction at a hotel there, so we turned it into a family trip. This was in the 1970s, when streaking was a big fad, so the minute we got to the beach, my little sister took off all of her clothes and started running up and down the sand. I still remember the look on her face when I caught up to her, so free and full of joy!
Guilty pleasure when traveling? A long massage in a nice hotel is great when I’ve been traveling a lot, wrestling heavy suitcases around, and feeling cramped from being on airplanes. They can get a little expensive, so I don’t do it all the time, but it really fixes me when my body feels beat up from the road.
Best travel tip? Don’t over-schedule. This is something that I used to do, planning activities for every minute of every day, and getting stressed out when inevitably delays or unexpected things would throw a wrench in the plan. These days I try to build in time to wander, discover something unexpected, or do something very simple like play cards with my traveling companions. Cramming too much into a day makes you unable to appreciate the things that you’re experiencing.