Do go chasing waterfalls
As a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Africa many times, but most of my trips there are for charitable work, so I haven’t been able to do anything too exotic or fun like go on safari. However, a couple of summers ago I did stay in this amazing place in Uganda called Wildwaters Lodge. It’s basically this stunning treehouse over the source of the Nile River. There’s rushing water all around. I’d never been in a place like that in my life. It feels like you’re just floating above all these waterfalls.
A freshman in China
I spent a term in Beijing during my freshman summer at Dartmouth. I lived in the dorms there. It was a long time ago. We’re talking 1986. China was a very different place than it is now. I was a kid who grew up in a small town in Virginia. It was as foreign as it could possibly be to my life. The first thing I remember is being struck in the face by all the coal dust that’s in the air. It was a huge adjustment for me, but once I got past all of that, I was able to appreciate the people.
Clear eyes, full stomach, can’t lose
I know it sounds weird, but my favorite sushi restaurant anywhere in the United States is Uchi in Austin, Texas. The fish the chef there procures is incredible, which it must be because I am very particular about my sushi. It’s like every bite is the most extraordinary thing you’ve ever put in your mouth.
For love of country
When I first came to Nashville, it was to shoot the pilot. The city has changed dramatically since we’ve been filming Nashville. The most magical moments during that first trip were seeing landmarks like the Grand Ole Opry from my vantage point, rehearsing backstage and singing on stage. It was a unique opportunity to become immediately immersed in the city’s culture and history.
Connie's packing list
My son, Yoby, has been traveling with me since we took the long trip back from Ethiopia, when I adopted him. He’s no stranger to traveling on a plane, and he’s amazing at it—he has an iPad that he’s only allowed to use on planes. He’ll watch shows or play educational games the whole trip.
I travel so much with my son now that 75 percent of the stuff I end up bringing is for him. The luxurious things that I used to bring are all gone now, but I do have this small travel pillow that I will bring if I can afford the space and it doesn’t feel like it’s just going to be another thing for me to carry around.
Yoby used to carry around this adorable bag shaped like a spaceship—which we said was a plane—filled with a few of his toys. He recently decided he wants his own roller backpack, so I said, “Fine, but from now on, you’re carrying your own stuff.” Maybe I’ll be able to carry that luxurious pillow instead of juggling bags for me and my son.