AAA Washington Exclusive Interview With Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner’s passion for history and the stories behind the places he visits has turned him into a storyteller himself.  In addition to being a co-founder of HearHere,* the Oscar-winning actor is also a narrator for this app, which offers a wide variety of GPS-tagged stories — from iconic characters to historic tales — for road trippers. AAA Washington’s Lisa Anciaux spoke with Costner about his love for travel, why he decided to back HearHere, most memorable road trips, and more.

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Why are you a HearHere narrator in addition to being a co-founder/investor?

It just seems to me to be an authentic way to conduct your life: that if you’re going to be a part of something, you need to pitch in and help. I don’t consider myself a hood ornament in anything I do. If I can do the work, I do it myself. If I know who can do it better than me, I allow them to do that. The idea [of HearHere] is lodged in history. It’s launched in story. Both of those things, I deal with.

Will our rediscovered passion for road trips end after the pandemic?

Well, it’ll never end. Venturing out is something that will never stop. It can only be refined. I think that your children learn more. I think your relationship grows with the people that are in your car, even if you’re fighting with them. Because that’s what road trips are. You can have the perfect road trip, and it can pull your hair out. But what happens is the perfect road trip is something you never, ever forget. A road trip is like having a meal with someone. It’s something shared. There’s a bond.

What’s your most memorable road trip?

I was 18, in a camper with a friend and about $350, and I made that last the entire summer. I traveled the entire summer eating cans of chili and stew in parking lots. And I went to Washington, to Maine, to Florida, the Keys, through the lower states and home.

I had a canoe that I had built on the top. And that trip informed me so much because on my own, I was talking to people wherever I was at. The next trip I made was the following year as a result of talking to a guy in Yellowstone. [He said] “I was going to work on some crab boats in Alaska.” So, I said, “What do you mean? How are you going to work on those?” He said, “This fishing boat.” And I thought to myself, I’d like to do that. And the next summer I did. I went and commercial fished. My first job was in Eureka, [California,] and then went north to Coos Bay and Newport [in Oregon] and ended the summer in Westport, Washington, on a salmon boat.

Do you still have U.S. destinations on your bucket list?

I’m sure I do. But what I have is a hundred places that I’ve been, that impressed me, that move me, that I now need to revisit because I want my children to see if they can have those same feelings.

You’re a AAA member. What reassurance has AAA given you and your family?

It’s just an awesome promise that comes with being with AAA: that if you call them, they’re going to come there. They’re national, they’ve made it a point to take care of their customers. They’re like a life preserver.

–Interview by Lisa Anciaux. Writing by Rania Oteify.  

Parts of this interview appear in the May/June 2021 edition of the AAA Washington member magazine, Journey.

*Disclosure: AAA Washington is a partner and investor in HearHere. Read More.