Headshot Photo: Jaya Narasimhan
In Mindy Kaling’s new Netflix series Never Have I Ever, Richa Moorjani plays the protagonist’s “good Indian” cousin Kamala, a CalTech PhD student who’s preparing for an arranged marriage. Here, the Bay Area–raised scene stealer answers our travel questionnaire and fills us in on her most transformative trips, memorable meals, and LA’s best lattes.
1. Which Never Have I Ever co-star would you most want to travel with?
I would love to do a trip with the whole cast! All of us became so close but didn’t get too many chances to hang out outside of set. It would be a blast to rent a cabin somewhere and hang out all night bonding over games, food, and shenanigans.
2. The California setting is such a big part of Never Have I Ever. As someone who grew up in the Bay Area, what are some California gems every first-time visitor should check out?
One must-do is the scenic 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula. You see some of the most stunning views of beaches, mansions, and golf courses. I also love Ojai—its old charm, art scene, and abundance of nature make it a peaceful place for a weekend getaway.
3. Never Have I Ever feels like a classic ’80s romantic comedy. Where’s the most romantic place you’ve ever been?
Honestly every place I go with my husband feels romantic, because we always find cute and unique things to do that create lifelong memories. But recently we went to Tulum, and it was unbelievably romantic. We had a beachfront hotel room, so we could lay down on the sand right outside our room under a blanket of stars with no one around us. It was incredibly private and dreamy.
4. Where is your home away from home?
Definitely India! I grew up going there every year or two with my family to visit our grandparents and other relatives. My dad is from a city in North India called Varanasi, one of the most ancient living cities in the world and a center of sacred religious sites like the Ganges River; my mom is from Mysore, another very ancient city known for its temples, palaces, and other historical sites in South India.
5. What’s the most transformative or meaningful trip you’ve ever taken?
I moved to Mumbai for two years in 2013. Having to learn how to live by myself in a foreign place was terrifying but incredibly exhilarating. I went on several solo trips around India and to Europe. Traveling alone can be scary and horribly lonely but also unbelievably transformational and a huge opportunity for growth and understanding yourself.
6. What’s your favorite hotel you’ve ever stayed in and why?
During our recent honeymoon in Koh Samui, Thailand, my husband and I stayed at a secluded resort called Silavadee on a cliff overlooking the turquoise ocean. We woke up every morning at dawn to see the sun rising above the sea, and at night, we ate dinner at the rooftop restaurant under the starry night sky. Their spa offered the most relaxing Thai massages and treatments. The service was exceptional, and they really went out of their way to make our honeymoon feel special.
7. Is there one meal from a past vacation that you can’t stop thinking about?
The breakfast buffet at our honeymoon resort. Being vegans, we were nervous it would be hard to find options, but our resort had a whole vegan menu, everything from vegan pancakes and waffles to a variety of freshly squeezed juices—and the best Thai iced tea we’ve ever had, made with fresh coconut cream.
8. What’s one thing you can’t leave home without?
A journal to document my experiences and take notes.
9. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from a trip?
First I take a long shower, and then I enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal. As much as I love eating out while traveling, I’m always dying to have something homemade as soon as I return.
10. Where is the first place you want to visit post-quarantine?
The first place I want to go is home to the Bay Area to see my family. I know it’s going to take a while for things to feel “normal,” and I’m just looking forward to being able to physically touch and hug all my loved ones again. If this time has taught me anything, it’s to never take those moments for granted.
11. During social distancing, have you been supporting any favorite local businesses that you want to give a shout out to?
My husband and I go almost every day to pick up and support our favorite coffee/tea shop in Pasadena, Home Brewed Bar. Try their pistachio or salted caramel toddy latte, and you’ll never want a latte anywhere else. We’re also obsessed with Sage Plant Based Bistro and order from there frequently. They have been wonderful during this time and have been offering some essentials to their customers, like individual toilet paper rolls and various produce items they wouldn’t normally have on their menu.