Andrew McCarthy, shown here in Costa Rica, is the author of 'The Longest Way Home.'Simon & Schuster
Andrew McCarthy, shown here in Costa Rica, is the author of 'The Longest Way Home.'But there are days when he does get those questions, more than a quarter century after his years as part of the teen "Brat Pack" that included Molly Ringwald and Rob Lowe. "Some days I'm hotter than others," McCarthy says with a laugh. "It depends what's been on TV the night before. But my teenage fans are now women, so there's less screaming and squealing, which is better for all of us."Twelve weeks shy of turning 50, McCarthy -- an actor, director and award-winning travel writer -- is still boyish. His first book, The Long Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down (Free Press, $26), is being released Tuesday.GALLERY: Andrew McCarthy: From Brat Pack to world travelerVIDEO: McCarthy's pre-wedding adventureIt's part memoir, dealing with his parallel careers in acting and writing, his alcoholism -- he's been sober since 1992, he says -- and overcoming his self-doubts and insecurities. And it's part travelogue about trips to Patagonia, the Amazon and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Over iced tea, he calls it "an internal journey played out externally."In it, he writes, "Success in acting had given me a persona and a shell of confidence; my travels helped me find myself beneath that persona and fill out that shell with belief. Through travel, I began to grow up."The book is framed around the months leading up to his second marriage in August 2011, when his bride-to-be, Dolores Rice, an Irish stage director and writer, tried to plan their wedding from their home in Manhattan while he found a need to sail down the Amazon or climb Kilimanjaro's 19,336 feet.After an eight-year relationship and four-year engagement, McCarthy's need to leave home could be seen as a case of male non-commitment. He says, "The question wasn't so much if we'd get married, but when and how."In his book, his wife is identified only as D. "It's not really about her," he says. "It's no tell-all bio." But a moment later, he calls her "the moral compass in the middle of the story. I'm the idiot failing about."As editor-at-large of National Geographic Traveler, who's had three articles chosen for the Best American Travel Writing series of books, McCarthy prefers to travel alone. He cites one of his literary influences, Paul Theroux, who touts the "lucidity of loneliness."But as part of his version of settling down, McCarthy had his 10-year-old son from his first marriage (to Carol Schneider) join him on an assignment in the Sahara. His 6-year-old daughter with Rice was his companion to Tahiti. The entire family went camping in Wyoming -- "for fun, not work."He recognizes a paradox in his travels, preferably off most tourist maps: "I've traveled in order to feel at home in myself." He sees acting and travel writing as "branches of the same tree," but often when he's writing, "I wish I was acting, and when I'm acting, I wish I was writing."He's also directed, including episodes of two TV series, Lipstick Jungle and Gossip Girl, in which he's appeared.His next acting role is on a Hallmark TV movie in December, Christmas Dance, playing a "corporate guy who has to learn to waltz and falls in love with his dance teacher and learns the meaning of life. You get the idea." He calls it "an irony-free zone, but lovely."His next writing assignment in November takes him to Darjeeling, India, in search of "the best tea in the world."His book's publisher is touting comparisons between the The Longest Way Home and Elizabeth Gilbert's mega-best-seller Eat, Pray, Love."Of course they are," he says with a laugh. "Didn't that sell 6 million copies? I liked it. It was honest, well-told and very atmospheric."What about a movie version of his book?McCarthy laughs and says he'd welcome any interest. But he doubts he'd play himself: "I'm sure they'd find someone hotter," he says and laughs again.--Andrew McCarthy has appeared in more than 70 films and TV series, including: St. Elmo's Fire (1985), Pretty in Pink (1986), Weekend at Bernie's (1989), The Joy Luck Club (1993), Mulholland Falls (1996), Heaven Must Wait (2001), Lipstick Jungle (2008-09), Gossip Girl (2009) and White Collar (2011).For more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ's. To report corrections and clarifications, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones. For publication consideration in the newspaper, send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include name, phone number, city and state for verification. To view our corrections, go to corrections.usatoday.com.