By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency
Celebrity Travel by Jae-Ha Kim
November 19, 2013
In the Disney animated film "Frozen," Jonathan Groff does the voice work for Kristoff, a rugged, slightly oafish outdoorsman. "It was so much fun playing that character," says Groff, 28. "The movie turned out really well and my fascination with Disney kind of just went full circle with 'Frozen.'" Groff, who's also known for his work on "Glee," has an extensive theater background and was nominated for a Tony Award for "Spring Awakening." Born in Lancaster, Pa., Groff currently resides in San Francisco and would like to point out that the people on Twitter claiming to be him most definitely aren't.
Q. Your "Frozen" character, Kristoff, is a mountain man. Are you an outdoorsman as well?
A. My mom's a gym teacher and she and my dad were both athletes. So we were always an active family. Ever since we were little, we did long bike rides. I'm a runner and I hike and I love being outdoors and doing all that kind of stuff. But I've never been on a proper camping trip. I camped outdoors in our backyard! (Laughs) I'd love to take a week off and camp in Yellowstone. Maybe I could be a hardcore camper. But not the kind who doesn't need an actual bathroom. So scratch the hardcore part. (Laughs)
Q. Do you like cold-weather destinations?
A. I do! Last year I went to Park City, Utah, with my family and we skied and stayed in a lodge. That was fun. I hadn't skied in a while. My mom took me skiing when I was little. I was maybe in the fourth grade. A snowboarder hit me from behind! He was a grown man, so it hurt.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. It was to Disney World when I was five years old. My mom did a 50-day countdown. Every day before the trip, she would videotape us and we could talk about our upcoming trip or sing a song from Disney. We were so excited. The trip lived up to our expectations 100 percent! I didn't even mind waiting in the lines to go on the Peter Pan ride and everything. I have to say, I actually love waiting in lines at amusement parks with people who you like. It's fun. I had a friend who came to visit me from London last year and we went to Disneyland. Anyhow, now here I am in a Disney movie.
Q. Are you recognized when you travel?
A. When I was on "Glee," a lot of people recognized my character from the show. But I don't really get recognized. I have that generic white boy look.
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. I've honestly never had a romantic vacation. I need to change that right away!
Q. What are your top five cities?
A. I lived in Chicago shooting "Boss" for three months and it was gorgeous. But if I was going to place the cities in my favorite order, it'd be New York for sure. It's my absolute favorite! Then Lancaster, Pa., Rome, San Francisco and Chicago.
Q. What makes a memorable vacation?
A. Being able to travel by yourself and feeling at home. I went to Rome by myself and just had the most incredible experience there. I went in the summer and it was so sexy and the food was great. I love sitting outside and people-watching. The vibe in the city was amazing. And then to visit the Sistine Chapel was mind blowing. I have to say that when I was in Rome, I ate my face off!
Q. Do you work out on the road?
A. Yeah. I work out like crazy. I run, lift weights and swim. I have to every day, because I gain weight really quickly and like I just said, I like to eat a lot! When I'm filming, I can only stuff my face in certain moments.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. I spent some time in Portland, Ore., and the mountains there reminded me of the mountains in Pennsylvania. It was so pretty with the leaves changing.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Definitely an iPod, my phone charger, my Superman baseball hat and that's it.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. I just drink myself into oblivion with Diet Coke. I like the caffeine-free kind. I went off Diet Coke for 1-1/2 years and now I'm back on it. I try to do sparkling water but there's nothing like Diet Coke. They didn't pay me to say that. (Laughs)
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. I remember going to the beach in Wildwood, N.J., every summer. One time, my grandmother was driving and she went the wrong way down a one-way street and almost got into an accident. We didn't make contact and no one got hurt, so it was actually hilarious at the time. Later, she got Alzheimer's so it was sad. But that's certainly one memory that stands out.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
(c) 2013 JAE-HA KIM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.