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From ‘Brat Pack’ to travel writer


– Twenty years ago, actor Andrew McCarthy read a book about walking the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route in Spain, and it inspired him to walk the Camino himself.

“That sort of changed the way I felt in the world and it helped me stop being afraid of the world,” recalled McCarthy, 49. “It helped me realize travel obliterates fear.”

McCarthy, whose best-known films include his work as part of Hollywood’s “Brat Pack” in “Pretty in Pink” and “St. Elmo’s Fire,” is now an acclaimed travel writer for major magazines (he admits that he’s lucky to have “the two best jobs in the world” as both an actor and a writer). And he’s just written his own book about travel called “The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down.” He sums up his conflicts over settling down as, “I want to be alone and I want to be with you,” and says he resolved the conflict “the way I answer all questions in my life, by traveling.”

Here’s more from McCarthy, who is married and the father of two children, about travel:

Q. Any place you don’t like?

A. Very rarely do I get to a spot where I’m like, “This is awful.” It’s usually me that’s awful in the spot and then when I have something to eat usually, or maybe a nap, I come back, “Oh, yeah, no. This is OK.” I find anywhere interesting. ... I was recently in Sudan and I found that endless and fascinating. I would love to go back to Sudan.

Q. How did you start writing about travel?

A. It started because I met the editor at National Geographic Traveler and I convinced him after much cajoling to let me write a piece for them. So I did a piece for him and that worked out so I did more for Traveler and then my editor there, I kept pitching him so much he said, “Look, go write for some other people, would you?” So I started writing for the Atlantic, the Times and numerous things and nobody really put together that it was the actor Andrew McCarthy writing.