It’s hard to keep up with Deborah Norville these days. When she’s not busy anchoring “Inside Edition” or promoting her books — her latest one, “Thank You Power: Making the SCIENCE of Gratitude Work for YOU,” is a New York Times best-seller — she might be blogging or doing podcasts or lecturing or contributing to many charitable organizations or just kicking it with her husband and three children.
We got her on the phone recently and talked about her extensive travel experience.
Q: I’m sure you’ve been just about everywhere. So what’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
A: Without question the time we went to Tanzania on a family vacation. God willing, it wasn’t the last time we’ll go there. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. It’s spectacularly beautiful, and we saw amazing things. But maybe the best part of the trip was that it was just my husband and our three kids and we were away from anything with a plug or microchip that functioned.
We were on a tented safari, not one of the ones where you sleep in the treetops. And every one of us came back a changed individual. We bonded as a family. There was a closeness that I can’t really put into words other than to say that shared experience is a real unifier. There was one particular moment where we had an incredible experience in the bush. We were on a ridge while the sun was disappearing into the horizon. Everyone stopped, the campfire was down to embers, and we held hands and everybody said a prayer. We stood there with silent but shared thoughts. I’m sure each of us will carry that moment with us forever.
Q: Are you the type of vacationer who likes to get up early every day and see everything a cultural place has to offer or a lazy beach bum?
A: I’m more the beach, do-nothing type. For work and for business, I travel plenty to “cultural” places. I can get my fix of the beautiful painting or fine architecture or a chance to hear a world-class symphony. But I also live in New York, so I have that here. I can walk 20 blocks to any one of the amazing museums we have.
That’s not something I hear the call for on vacation. We like to find that quiet beach and sit.
A few places have been spectacularly remote. We don’t have a boat, but a couple of times we’ve been privileged to be guests of people on their boats. That’s when you can visit islands that are completely remote. When you live in a city with 8 million people, it’s not surprising that you want to go somewhere where there’s no one else. And if an absolutely deserted island is unavailable, somewhere like St. Barts, where it’s not crowded and you can watch the waves go, there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Q: Any particularly ridiculous or funny stories from your recent travels?
A: Here’s a good one. I got some new material on my last book tour. I was doing the routine with local media and signings. “Inside Edition” has a new affiliate and time slot in San Diego, and to promote it, we had a really tight, hectic schedule. So my friend did a book party in Beverly Hills on a Sunday night, I got to San Diego at around 12:15 a.m. and the lights in the hotel room didn’t work. Apparently you had to manhandle the light bulbs to get them to work. So I’m trying to use my BlackBerry as a flashlight. I’m out the door at 5:30 the next morning, do a TV hit, some radio, and a book signing. I hadn’t had any food since noon the previous day. It’s been around 24 hours since I’ve eaten. So finally, after we finish the show, we do one TV hit, and we head to Coronado Island for the backdrop of San Diego for “Inside Edition.” Finally, we hit a Jack in the Box on the way.
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A: Hey, it’s not fine dining, but it’s food. A burger and fries. What else do you need? Anyway, I don’t know how it happened. I must have been reaching or texting while I was getting the fries. I was either so desperate for food or absent-minded that my BlackBerry ended up in the hamburger sack. It wasn’t in my purse. So I’m on set on the sidewalk of Coronado absolutely freaking out.
Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings I dump my purse out. I look all over the back seat of car. It’s not there. Finally we figure out that there’s only one place it could be — in the garbage can in the parking lot. Luckily, it was a nearby garbage can, but I am literally diving into the garbage can. I’ve got TV makeup on, wires coming out of my head, and I found the Jack in the Box bag. The moral of the story is even when you’re rushing and traveling, always make sure you have the really important things like money, your passport and your tickets.
Q: And your BlackBerry.
A: Of course. I can’t live without that thing.
Q: Any good travel tips?
A: A lot of times when you see people traveling, a lot of them look pretty sloppy. I come from the school that says even if your ticket doesn’t say First Class, you should dress like you belong there because you could get upgraded. Basically, you should always be too cute to be left behind. One time I’m at JFK taking a flight to Tunisia. To me it was just another flight. You know, get in the car, get to the airport early, sit down and read a magazine and relax for a change. Eventually the line clears and the lady asks me for my passport. And I totally forgot it.
I get on the cell phone, call the babysitter and tell her to grab the baby and my passport and get out here. I do an O.J. Simpson run through the airport and when I get back the sign doesn’t even say Tunisia anymore. The lady’s still there, and the plane is rolling away from the gate. I now have my hands in a begging dog motion, just praying I can get on. But apparently the pilot radioed to bring the jet back and let me on.
At this point, I’m truly in need of CPR and paddles. I’m so exhausted. And the pilot was standing there as I got on. I said, “Thank you so much,” and he said, “You were too cute to leave behind.” And then I realized I had on really tight jeans, black cowboy boots, a navy blazer, a white tailored shirt and a hot belt with funky belt buckle. Appearance helps. Take it from me.
Q: Do you sleep well on flights?
A: Well, I can’t say what I do is any real magic. And I can say that it’s probably not good for you. But I have two glasses of champagne or one drink and two Tylenol P.M.s. And then I wake up the next day wherever I am.
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