Nora O’Donnell isn’t afraid of much. She’s met and interviewed a range of intimidating subjects, from politicians to popes, the Taliban to businesses titans. The daughter of a military father, she began crisscrossing the globe at a young age, and has since visited 60 countries throughout her career, which includes a former post as NBC News White House correspondent and her current role as co-host of CBS This Morning. She also contributes to 60 Minutes and often appears as a substitute anchor on Face The 

Nation. When O’Donnell’s not facing the camera, she travels for work and fun, just back from a recent family trip with Exclusive Resorts to Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica, with her three children and celebrity chef husband, Geoff Tracy. Here, she shares how career and family contribute to her most cherished job and travel perks memories in the making.

You grew up in a military family, in places from San Antonio to Seoul. How did this early international exposure impact your career choice?

Growing up as an Army brat meant my family moved frequently. We lived in Germany, South Korea, and Texas. My parents always enjoyed travel. That early exposure to the world, as well as my father’s military service, is what led to me to the field of journalism. My job has been a front row seat to history. I’ve now traveled the globe with three Presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. I also logged a lot of miles after the 9/11 attacks with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In all, I’ve visited more than 60 countries.

You've traveled to nearly every continent to cover stories, both for "CBS This Morning" and during your time as NBC News Chief White House Correspondent. Is there one particular interview that has most impacted you?

The most incredible interview I have ever done was with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was nearly assassinated by the Taliban. She survived that attack and has now become an advocate for the 62 million girls worldwide with no access to education. Reading about her courage did not prepare me for meeting her in person. At just 16 years old, she had more confidence, composure, and charm than some world leaders I’ve met. She is still a target for assassination and when I asked her if she is afraid she replied, “I may be afraid of ghosts and dragons, but I’m not afraid of the Taliban.” She meant it. This is not some line. She wants to be Prime Minister of Pakistan someday. I think to myself, how do we empower more girls to have that confidence to lead?

You were one of the first to travel to Afghanistan after September 11. What was the single most important takeaway from that experience?

The most incredible interview I have ever done was with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was nearly assassinated by the Taliban. She survived that attack and has now become an advocate for the 62 million girls worldwide with no access to education. Reading about her courage did not prepare me for meeting her in person. At just 16 years old, she had more confidence, composure, and charm than some world leaders I’ve met. She is still a target for assassination and when I asked her if she is afraid she replied, “I may be afraid of ghosts and dragons, but I’m not afraid of the Taliban.” She meant it. This is not some line. She wants to be Prime Minister of Pakistan someday. I think to myself, how do we empower more girls to have that confidence to lead?

My job has been a front row seat to history. I’ve now traveled the globe with three Presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. I also logged a lot of miles after the 9/11 attacks with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In all, I’ve visited more than 60 countries.

Norah O’Donnell

You've interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Obama, Roger Goodell, and the list goes on. Is there one interview you were most anxious about?

One of the most fascinating people in the world is Pope Francis. And if you want to understand Francis, you don’t have to look any further than Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, and the Pope’s closest American advisor. He rarely does interviews but I was able to profile him for CBS’ 60 Minutes last fall. O’Malley is a shy Franciscan friar who speaks seven languages and sits on the pope’s small kitchen cabinet called the Council of Cardinals. It was an extraordinary interview (and still available on cbsnews.com). Wait until you hear what he says about the role of women in the Catholic church.

Given the success of Sandberg's Lean In, Arianna Huffington's Thrive, and your notable work on the board of the International Women's Media Foundation, what is the crucial next step in continuing to support women in business and media?

You can’t always do it all but you can do the best you can! Women are incredibly resourceful. We only succeed at home and at work by building a strong support system.

Your husband, Geoff Tracy, is a renowned D.C. chef. What dish of his do you most crave?

Chef Geoff makes homemade fresh pasta in the restaurants. I love the shrimp rigatoni no-fredo, which is a bacon, peas, garlic, parmesan and creamy cauliflower sauce. It’s divine and has no cream!

Why is vacation important, both personally and professionally?

My family is the most important thing in the world to me. What is life but the collection of memories? Our vacations are a wonderful way to connect in a special way and create those memories.

If you passed along one line of advice to your three children, what would it be?

Perhaps Walter Cronkite said it best: “I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.”