Jetsetting With “Big Rich Texas” Star Leslie Birkland
Have you ever wanted to know how Texas socialites like to travel? We know we have, so Jetset Extra asked “Big Rich Texas” star Leslie Birkland about her favorite destinations, her fondest travel memories, her top weekend getaways, and much more.
Q: What type of traveler are you? (ie: adventurer, cultural explorer, free spirit, rejuvenator, or someone who goes to relax, spa, etc.)
A: I feel like I am a cross between an adventurer and cultural explorer. No matter the country or city, I try to find places and activities that the locals are fond of. It’s important to me to learn about the culture during my travels.
Q: What types of activities do you like to do on your travels? Do you look for someplace where it’s quiet and you can relax, or someplace that has great night life or activities?
A: Aside from a hot shower (because who doesn’t want one of those after a long flight!), I like to find the one place that every local raves about— like a restaurant or bar. It helps me learn about the people and culture surrounding me.
After I’ve had the opportunity to mingle with the natives, I find the most beautiful scenic spot in the area. On my last trip to Hawaii, I went to the Halona Blowhole located on the south shore of Oahu. If you’re not familiar with the Halona Blowhole, it is a rock formation that sprays water about 40 feet in the air! It’s absolutely amazing to watch.
At the very end of every vacation, without exception, I get a massage. Typically I always reserve the last few days of my vacation for rejuvenating, relaxing, and clearing my thoughts. I find the spa to be the best place for me to do this.
Q: When thinking about where you will travel next, what inspires you to make a decision? And what, if any research do you do on that destination once you have decided?
A: My decisions about where to go are based on the activity I want to do at that moment in time. It typically involves a sport like boating or snow skiing. My two favorite places are the ocean and the mountains. I try not to read travel guides or do too much research before I go somewhere new because I like to go with an unbiased opinion. My favorite part of traveling is finding something on my own—it’s a personal adventure.
Q: What is the most memorable trip you’ve taken and why?
A: My most memorable trip was when I went to Lake Como in Italy. It’s right between Milan and the border of Switzerland. I love everything Italian– it has such a great mixture of history and culture. It’s beautiful. Lake Como is breathtaking.
Q: What is the best food find you’ve ever found on a trip?
A: The couscous in Paris was the best food find ever. To this day, I cannot figure out what this restaurant did to make it so delicious! I’ve tried it in various restaurants all over the world, but nothing has come close. It was the best meal in my entire life.
Q: What, if anything, do you always take with you when you travel?
A: I always take a toothbrush, a bottle of water, Chapstick, and mascara. I’m a girl. I need my mascara; even on an African safari my mascara is within reach.
Q: What’s your best piece of travel advice?
A: Always carry a bottle of water with you and try to avoid ice cubes in your beverages if at all possible. And carry a Tide pen—you never know when it will come in handy.
Q: Is there a destination to which you can’t imagine not returning?
A: I can’t imagine not returning to Rome. About 20 years ago, while I was modeling, I did a shoot for Vogue Italia running down the Spanish Steps. Someday I will return to Rome and run down the Spanish Steps again.
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways? How many pieces of luggage do you REALLY take with you?
A: I love driving up the California coast to Montecito. The town is beautiful, quaint, lovely, and exciting. The locals are always happy and there is so much to do; I personally love to go hiking while I’m there. Lucky’s on Coast Village Road in Montecito and the Four Seasons Resort Biltmore Santa Barbara are absolutely fabulous.
I always start out with one piece of luggage, but I always end up bringing home an extra bag because of all the shopping I end up doing!
Q: Where would you like to travel next?
A: New York! I haven’t been there in years. I love everything about New York City: the hustle and bustle, hearing the horns honking 24/7, and I even find the people charming.
My favorite restaurant is San Pietro in Midtown. The food there is so authentic that it almost feels like I’m in Italy. The owner, Girardo, is always so charming and friendly. He makes sure to greet every customer that walks through the door—he wants you to feel like you’re home.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming project(s)?
A: I just want to survive filming the upcoming season of “Big Rich Texas.” I love catching up with the rest of the cast, but sometimes it gets tough being away from my family for so long.
Another focus of mine is the line of charity T-shirts and tote bags I created with Los Angeles- based clothing line Cameron Hawaii to benefit a charity that promotes the humane treatment of animals. This project is very dear to my heart. You can send orders to orders @ cameronhawaii.com or visit their Facebook page.