When they sent me to Beijing in 2008, I came off a 12-hour flight and checked into the hotel and then I wanted to go to our work space. I took the shuttle bus over there. I thought I knew which shuttle bus to get on to go back to the hotel, but I was so jet-lagged I got on the wrong bus. The driver didn’t speak English. She dropped me at the last stop, which was some hotel that was miles from where we started and the hotels were locked nearby to only guests. I had no way to communicate how to get back. So it’s something as simple as making sure you get a card from your hotel in the local language with the name and address because I was really in a predicament.
What events do you look forward to?
A. There was a time when I had a suitcase that was ready to go. The problem is you never know what kind of story you’re going to be sent out on. It always seemed that when I needed suits, instead I had flood gear in it, or vice versa. I have a closet at home that I largely dedicate to alternative work gear. So there’s things like rain slickers, wading boots, tourniquets, flashlights, because I never know if we’re going to be in a hostile environment or a disaster zone. I even have dog tags with my blood type on them. But I can tell you many a time my travels have started with a stop at the local J. Crew or Banana Republic or whatever the local version of that is to get something to wear beyond Day 1.
In the last year, the anchor of “NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt” has traveled to places as others have fled, including Paris, Brussels and Nice. On a moment’s notice, he has also flown to Orlando and Dallas to cover gun violence and, with more planning, to Cleveland and Philadelphia for the political conventions. Next is Rio de Janeiro, where he will anchor “Nightly News” from Copacabana Beach during the Summer Olympic Games, Aug. 4 to 19. Rio will be his eighth consecutive Games. Mr. Holt took a break from the Republican National Convention to talk about his news-driven style of travel and the challenges and rewards of attending the Olympics. Following are edited excerpts from that conversation.