Angie Swan is having the time of her life as a guitarist in “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” which is on a pre-Broadway run at the Emerson Colonial Theatre through Sept. 28. The Milwaukee native, who now calls New York City home, is no stranger to Boston — having studied at Berklee College of Music from 2001-05 — and is happy to be back. “I’ve already had my lobster roll,” she said, adding that she is looking forward to going to Wally’s Cafe Jazz Club, where she used to perform while in college, and to Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage in Cambridge for a veggie burger. During her career, Swan, 37, has toured the world with artists ranging from will.i.am to CeeLo Green to Fifth Harmony — and even did a three-year stint in the US and Canada of Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna.” We caught up with the talented musician to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination? Even though I have traveled a lot in my lifetime — about 37 countries in 15 years — most of my travel, if not all, has been work related. But I love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work per se. I always try to make time to explore each city [and] country I visit. Even when I’m tired, if my time is limited in a specific place, I go out and explore. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing? It depends, I like to eat locally and traditionally wherever I go. I often find Americans like to stay within their comfort zone and eat what’s familiar to them whilst traveling. Where’s the fun in that? Be bold and try new things! When I was in the south of India [Kochi], I went vegetarian for two months. I once ate a duck’s head in Shenzhen, China. . . . I may never do it again, but it was great.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? Fiji. Last year, we finished the [David Byrne] tour in Australia. I had never been on that side of the world and I would have loved to go to Fiji, which was so close. I spend so much time in cities that the idea of a place that is remote, peaceful, and relaxing is very appealing.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? My toothpaste, I have a specific brand (Colgate Optic White) to keep my pearly whites white.
Aisle or window? Window. On long flights I sort of hibernate. I have my neck pillow, eye mask, compression socks, and earplugs. I don’t drink alcohol on flights anymore because it’s easy to become dehydrated. I definitely prefer the window, but also set an alarm to remind myself to stretch my legs every hour or so.
Favorite childhood travel memory? We usually went on long car rides. . . . I loved listening to my parents’ musical selections — especially Tracy Chapman.
Guilty pleasure when traveling? Overeating . . . especially in France and Italy.
Best travel tip? Don’t wait until the last minute to pack. Plan ahead. Often people over pack and end up lugging around unnecessary items. Use the rolling technique when packing and take refillable, travel-size bottles. I once traveled through Europe for two months with a carry-on. Surprisingly, I had over 14 varieties of outfits to choose from. Of course it’s easier to pack light in the summer months than in the winter when you’re more likely to have heavier clothes and jackets.