How else did you participate in California culture?
Once I got to help decorate a Rose Bowl float with dinosaurs on it. Made of fresh flowers mostly, the floats are amazing when they're finished, but painstaking to construct. I spent the day gluing coffee beans face down on part of the float. I also got to hang out at the home of Craig Ferguson, because I took a self-defense class with his ex-wife and she invited us over. I never seemed to be at restaurants when stars came, but I did love Rollerblading on the beach and going to Santa Monica.
Do you enjoy Atlanta, too?
Yes, we like the people here. Everyone is so friendly and we've been able to buy a house and land, which is something you can't always afford to do in L.A.
What inspired you to be a world traveler?
I started traveling to Canada with my family when I was 4 or 5, but my exchange program to Japan when I was a sophomore in high school was a real inspiration. I lived with a family and got to experience the culture. When you go to a Kyoto temple with someone who is praying next to you, you get a better sense of what that place means to the people who live there.
If I hadn't gone into law, I think I would have majored in anthropology.
What was your next cultural experience?
My high school had a program where they took kids to France or Spain in the summer, but they discontinued it before I could go. My parents said I could see Europe anytime. Why not do something different? I went to Israel the summer before my senior year, lived on a university campus and took a history class. We visited places that we had studied, like Jericho, and we climbed up to Masada. That really makes history come alive.
Did you ever get to Europe?
Yes, in college I studied in the British Isles; then I got a Europass and traveled to France, Italy, Austria and Belgium on my own. I didn't spend a lot of time in any one place, and I didn't take any overnight trains because I was alone.
Where else have you been?
After the bar, I treated myself to a trip to Australia and New Zealand. It got harder to travel after I started work, but with planning and saving you can do it. I went to Greece with my college roommates when we all turned 30. Recently, my husband and I did an REI tour of Inca cities in Peru, including seeing Machu Picchu.
What trip really stands out for you?
My husband and I went to Africa for two weeks for our honeymoon in 2006. I always wanted to see the animals that I had seen in the zoo in their natural habitats, but Africa can get tricky with politics and distances. A friend of mine designed our trip to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Were you able to see the animals?
Absolutely, we stayed in a lodge on a game preserve. When we were driving there in the jeep, the driver said, "Look behind you. There's a giraffe following us." We were allowed to go off-roading as long as we didn't get out and disturb the animals. It's the opposite of a zoo. You're in a confined space, and the animals roam about. We saw a leopard with her cub, and elephants at a watering hole.