The VIP Lounge with WGBH’s Jared Bowen

While he has many destinations on his travel bucket list, WGBH television host and executive arts editor Jared Bowen can’t get enough of Montana, where he spends a week every summer in a region that’s “far, far, far away from the outside world” and one that he describes as “absolute bliss.” Bowen is host of the weekly WGBH series “Open Studio With Jared Bowen,” which showcases the best that the New England arts scene has to offer. He is also a contributor to WGBH’s nightly news magazine program, “Greater Boston,” and appears regularly on 89.7 WGBH Radio. The Upton native, who lives in Boston, has received two New England Emmy Awards for his arts reporting and the 2013 Commonwealth Award, which recognizes achievement in the arts, humanities, and sciences. We caught up with Bowen to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination? Montana. There’s a ranch outside of Missoula that I visit every summer with the same amazing group of friends. We spend a week riding horses over prairies, up ridges, and across rivers. Situated on the Blackfoot River [subject of “A River Runs Through It”], it’s far, far, far away from the outside world and it’s absolute bliss.


Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Anywhere there’s water and warmth, I’m on the hunt for octopus. And while margaritas and mojitos never really call to me at home, they seem pretty vital on vacation.

Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? Basically everywhere. I love adventure, exploration, and anything new. At the moment, the trip I can’t stop thinking about is a horse-riding excursion across Patagonia in Chile. Clearly I’m under the delusion I have some inner cowboy waiting to escape. But at the same time, I also love roaming this country and am really eager to see the revitalization happening in Detroit and the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas.


One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? Books. I absolutely detest packing — all those decisions, all at once — but I do love pulling together an assortment of books. I can read endlessly on a plane.

Aisle or window? Aisle. I’ve been in too many awkward situations where I’ve had to scale fellow passengers just to make my way to the aisle. It’s not as funny as in the movies. Also, I drink a lot of water, so there’s that.

Favorite childhood travel memory? This is corny, but the first time we went anywhere far away or traveled by plane was to Disney World. I still vividly remember the anticipation. And, inexplicably, my super strict parents lapsed and took my sister and me out of school for a week. The less-crowded park was ours for the taking.

Guilty pleasure when traveling? Having no concept of time. With all that I cover, I’m pretty overscheduled and constantly on the go — happily so, I might add. But on vacation, I’m extremely good at turning it all off and just drifting from one place to the next. Or I can plunk down on a beach for five hours straight. That’s so not me in real life.

Best travel tip? Just forget the carry-on. I’ve given up trying to pack light, as I like to have options. And it’s fun to glide through airports unencumbered. Also, drink tons of water and never leave home without noise-canceling headphones. For some reason the inside voice rule doesn’t seem to apply to airplanes.