Five Miles Up with … Mehcad Brooks

Bekah Wright
five miles up
(Photo: Richard DuCree/Sony Pictures Television/USA Network)

On USA Network’s "Necessary Roughness," Mehcad Brooks plays New York Hawks star wide receiver Terence “TK” King. So far, TK has seen his share of travails, from being shot to suffering a prescription drug addiction. What’s in store for him this season? “Love is in the air,” says Brooks. “We see a vulnerable side of TK as he starts having a serious relationship.” Under the tutelage of a new coach, TK will also be burning up the football field. And while TK may know everything football, what Brooks masters is traveling.

What’s something you never fail to pack in your suitcase?
My laptop. I bring everything I need electronically that way.

Carry-on or check-in?
If I can help it, carry-on.

Window or aisle?
Depends on the length of the flight. If it’s a long flight, the aisle. Any flight under three hours, the window is fine.

What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
Variation. A place where I can rock climb, see a waterfall and go to the beach. That could mean going to France, hanging out in for a while, then hopping down to the beaches in the south of France; or Jamaica, where you can rock climb and also go to the beach.

Tell us about a vacation you’ve taken that’s come close thus far.
Every one I take. I’ve never understood why people stress out over vacations -- they’re supposed to be de-stressing, happy and full of joy. The entire point of a vacation is to relax. If you’re not doing that, you’re doing it wrong.

What’s the worst annoyance you’ve had while traveling?
I once went from Africa to Germany in February, two very extreme weather differences. Being the pack rat I am, I packed one bag full of summer clothes for Africa, and the other with winter clothes for Germany. The airline lost my German bag so, for four days, I was in Berlin and Hamburg in winter weather wearing summer clothes packed for Africa. Here I was looking like some holy man in handmade Moroccan clothes and I got really sick.

Where’s your favorite destination for filming on location?
It’s a four-way tie between my hometown of Austin, Texas; New York City, which is a character in itself; Morocco; and India, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

What's the most unusual souvenir you’ve ever brought back from a trip?
A Russian girl I met in Paris. We hit it off and I said, “Why don’t you come back with me?” That lasted for a good month or so. The intentions were pure and nice.

Ever try a food you wished you hadn't?
I’m really adventurous and if the natives are doing it, I’ll try it. That’s come back to bite me quite a few times. Once with a parasite in Africa that put me in the hospital, but made me a stronger person in a lot of ways. Tip: When you shower, don’t put your face in the shower. Always wash your face with bottled water.

While in India, I took part in a ceremony. During the ceremony, they scooped what looked like yogurt from a vat that had flies all around it and handed it to me. I knew the ceremony leaders would be insulted if I didn’t drink it. I sat there looking at it. They were staring at me like, “We know you’re going to drink this.” All I could think was, “Oh man, I’m going to get another parasite.”

Favorite hotel, resort, yurt, train, boat you've ever stayed in/on?
Hotel St Cecilia in Austin, Hotel de Crillon in Paris, Hayman Island Resort in Australia, Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu. Also, there was a private riad in Essaouira on the shores of Morocco.

Favorite restaurant you’ve discovered while traveling.
La Parizienne in Paris.

Biggest regret you've ever had while on vacation.
Picking my travel companion better. Basically, vetting your travel companions is very important.

The one thing you're willing to splurge on when traveling above all else.

Three artists on your travel playlist?
I’m recording my first album, so the music from that. Otherwise, it depends on where I’m going. When I was in Norway it was December, cold, dark and snowy and Kanye West’s "808s & Heartbreak" album suited the mood. Every time I hear that album, I think of Oslo. In Hawaii, I’ll play Bob Marley or Jack Johnson. In Paris, I listen to Nina Simone.

Where would you take someone visiting your hometown of Austin, Texas?
It would be a food tour with breakfast at Kerbey Lane Café, lunch at Austin Java, soul food at Gary’s, then out to The Oasis to watch the sun set on Lake Travis.

You only get one more trip in your lifetime. Where will it be?
The moon.