Jetsetting With Actor John Gammon
Midwesterner John Gammon moved to Los Angeles after college to pursue a love for acting. He found success almost immediately, landing a recurring role on ABC’s family comedy “The Middle” on only his third-ever audition. John plays Darrin, best friend to the Heck family’s son Axl and love interest for their daughter, Sue. The entertainer seeks enjoyment in his travels, too, and shared with us some of his most exciting adventures.
Q: What type of traveler are you? (i.e., adventurer, cultural explorer, free spirit, rejuvenator, spa aficionado, etc.)
A: I dabble in all of those really. I travel with an open mind.
Q: What types of activities do you like to do on your travels? Do you look for a place where it’s quiet and you can relax or someplace that has great activities or nightlife?
A: I like both the quiet and calm things one could do: mud bathing, massages, tiny umbrella drinks on a humid beach, and so on. And I like places where there’s adventure and you’ve got little or nothing holding you and your young body back from exploration. You have to jump at it: zip lining, off-roading, training in the local martial art, reverently observing a local tribe that rarely meets Westerners, chasing pretty ladies…. I prefer a place where all of it is within reach. And I’ve got to have a safe nest for whomever I’m traveling with and myself. It should be quiet and relaxed so you can rationally plan out your days, recount your amazing times, and sleep effectively even for just a few hours so you can make the absolute most of your time there.
Q: When thinking about where you will travel to next, what inspires you to make a decision? And what, if any, research do you do about that destination?
A: Well I’m a relative novice when it comes to globetrotting really. I stick to places where I speak the language; this confines me to Spanish and English places. Or I ride the cultural coattails of a friend with strong local ties that can take care of things such as communication, negotiation, and the oh-so-tense conflict resolution that may very well happen if you’ve got a chalky white American like me with you. That’s something to be planned for especially when traveling to a place the State Department isn’t crazy about Americans checking out.
But even withstanding all the challenges crappy foreign policy presents in combination with cultural bias and ignorance, where there’s more risk and resistance there’s more to gain. There is always more to learn, to tell amazing stories of, and to relish and fondly recall after the fact. If those challenges are overcome, it is always worth it. I also love to practice my Spanish. It is an endless pursuit of perfection, just as jiu-jitsu can be. Anything that takes everything you got, you know?
In considering all this, I tend to take the comprehensive approach. First, I will read a short history of the country. Maybe check out a “Traveling to ________ for Dummies” kind of reference book. Then I go to Yahoo! Answers for any questions I might still have. And then I go!
Q: What is the most memorable trip you’ve taken and why?
A: I traveled to Costa Rica several years ago and did a bit of it all. There was adventure in renting motorcycles even though my brother, our friend, and I had no clue how to ride one. But after about an hour we were shooting up and down these incredible coastal roads set fairly high up on mountains. Jaco was the amazing beach town on the Pacific side where we did most of that. Culturally there is indeed a lot to see in San Jose, particularly when you stay in a sketchier side of town, have all kinds of meals at different joints, dance, and hope to meet pretty girls in a variety of places.
And we even found ourselves driving a rented Diesel-powered Montero—wonderful ride by the way—to the resort town of Arenal. Watching the volcano, getting into a tussle with a couple of macaws that mistakenly thought my brother with a camera was challenging them…. Probably the most dramatic and entertaining bit in the whole trip was captured on shaky video camera: the three of us scrambling away from these surly beautiful birds as they charged us all the way back to our cabin. We ran to the car, double-timed it through the rough muddy terrain, and dove into shelter. Sounds of them dive-bombing our 4×4 were some of the better moments in those videos. That was just one little story that amounted to an incredible travel experience I’ll never forget.
Q: What is the best food you’ve ever found on a trip?
A: Fresh Pacific ceviche on Jaco’s main strip.
Q: What, if anything, do you always take with you when you travel?
A: Garlic for immunity, Pepto-Bismol for your stomach, and Aleve for any and all pains. You can’t take your overall health for granted when it comes to making the most of your trip.
Q: What’s your best piece of travel advice?
A: Go all out only when completely certain. Otherwise, enjoy in moderation and you’ll be far ahead of the eight ball.
Q: Is there a destination to which you can’t imagine not returning?
A: New Orleans for sure. That is one special place.
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
Q: Where would you like to travel to next?
A: Europe. I haven’t been yet, and that’s something to be righted.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming project(s)?
A: My brother James and I are writing a pilot about a golf club based on our collective 25 years caddying. It will be a higher-brow “Caddyshack” with a more focused plot and some realistic drama to ground the ridiculous humor. It’s got a ton of quirky and honest characters in it, based on people we grew up with so it should make for highly engrossing, very entertaining stories. “Kid Caddie” is the working title.
John Gammon’s Bio:
Ruggedly handsome and comedic Midwesterner John Gammon leads off ABC’s Emmy Award-winning primetime family sitcom “The Middle” as the lovable but mischievous Darrin. A country boy at heart, John was born in Arkansas and raised in Ohio by two schoolteacher parents in a very academic-based household. A natural athlete who played lacrosse and wrestled through high school, John returned to the South for college and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Latin American studies. Finding his academic requirements met within his family, he followed his aspiring actor siblings to Hollywood and began immersing himself in classes to improve work and land his first big break; John was cast on “The Middle” in his third-ever audition. In his spare time, the single 20-something enjoys practicing jiu-jitsu and spending time with his boxer-pit bull mix puppy, Arnold.
Follow John on Twitter.