Another day in paradise: 4 ZOZI Gurus reveal their favorite destinations

August 24, 2015                 3m read time
Kirsten Akens


Our ZOZI Gurus have explored the world from Antarctica to the Sahara. But when we asked Dean Karnazes, Jonny Moseley, Chris Lieto, and Tao Berman for their favorite travel destinations, they all said they loved their hometown the most. When home is Kona, Hawaii, or California’s Lake Tahoe area, it’s easy to see why. If you’re looking for an escape from your day-to-day life, you might want to vacation where they live. Read on to find out what to do and see in our Gurus’ backyards.

Woman with boogie board wading into the water at Kona Beach, Hawaii ZOZI

Woman with boogie board wading into the water at Kona Beach, Hawaii

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Kona, Hawaii

" ... the weather’s wonderful, there’s blue sky, no crowds, and amazingly clear water.”—Chris Lieto

Ironman Champion Chris Lieto says living in Kona, Hawaii, is like being on a permanent vacation. “How lucky I am to be in this spot, where the weather’s wonderful, there’s blue sky, no crowds, and amazingly clear water.” Part of Kona’s appeal for Chris is its essence, what he describes as a spirit of relaxation. Of course that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of activities to enjoy and land to explore. From snorkeling and diving, to rainforest hiking in the Honua’ula Forest Reserve and swimming with dolphins in Kona Town, Chris does them all, and then some. Visits to the other islands are just a quick flight away, and Chris recommends dropping in on them as well. “There are so many amazing places. Every island is different.”

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon ZOZI

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

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Columbia River Gorge, Washington/Oregon

"I’ve traveled the world extensively and I’ve never found a spot more fun.”—Tao Berman

“I moved to the Columbia River Gorge for the months of May through October," says kayaker Tao Berman. "I’ve traveled the world extensively and I’ve never found a spot more fun.” This time of year, he says the mountain biking is quite good, and if he had his druthers he’d spend his morning on the trails, grab a wood-fired pizza lunch at Solstice in the vibrant town of Hood River, Oregon, launch into kiteboarding on the Columbia River, and head back to Hood River for dinner on the outdoor decks at Three Rivers Grill. (For those so inclined, Tao adds there are lots of boutiques for shopping and tasting rooms for wine sipping). Of course, if mountain biking or kiteboarding aren’t your thing, there’s a whole line-up of sports accessible within 30 minutes of the Salem River, including kayaking, paragliding, wind surfing, golfing, and even motocross. “It’s just paradise here.”

People swimming in Lake Tahoe Jason Osborne / Shutterstock.com

People swimming in Lake Tahoe

Jason Osborne / Shutterstock.com

 

Lake Tahoe, California

“Lake Tahoe is like being in the Caribbean. It’s so gorgeous.”—Jonny Moseley

“I am a Tahoe guy,” says Jonny Moseley. “It’s where I’m from. Squaw Valley, Truckee, Tahoe City, this area is just my favorite.” Not unexpected from this Olympic Gold Medal Skier, considering the backdrop in the area is the mountains. But he doesn’t just love the area for its peaks and powder. In the summer, he says, Donner Lake and Lake Tahoe are amazing. “Lake Tahoe is like being in the Caribbean. It’s so gorgeous.” And it’s great for dawn-patrol waterskiing (which Jonny and his sons spent a good chunk of July doing). “The lake is brisk at that hour, but nothing starts off your day better than a mandatory latte and cinnamon roll at Tahoe House.” Hiking is also on the top of Jonny’s list, in particular the Five Lakes Hike between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. “The black granite faces are spectacular and a dip in the cool mountain lake at the top—followed by some time laying out and looking up at the runs we ski all winter—is nirvana.”

Vineyard in Healdsburg, California ZOZI

Vineyard in Healdsburg, California

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Healdsburg, California

"It has all the charm, ... great boutiques, big wineries, and microbreweries of Napa—and none of the tourists.”—Dean Karnazes

Ultramarathon Man Dean Karnazes refers to Healdsburg, California, as the “locals’ Napa Valley.” He says it’s got “all the charm and all the great boutiques, big wineries, and microbreweries of Napa—and none of the tourists.” He often trail runs around Lake Sonoma, which is just up the road from his home. But that’s not the only outdoor sport option. There’s top-notch mountain and road biking, hiking, and, at nearby Bodega Bay, stand-up paddleboarding, and surfing. Rafting on the Russian River is also only a short drive away. Spend your evenings in Healdsburg’s downtown square, and see if you can catch Dean eating at one of his Greek favorites, Taverna Sofia. “I’m a sucker for the grilled octopus.”

Kirsten Akens

Kirsten is an award-winning journalist, editor, photographer and practicing yogi based in Colorado. A lover of books, balasana, baked goods, blogging, and Boston terriers, she also has an unnatural affection for alliteration.

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