Linda Cooper, host of "Travel Time with Linda," pictured in her Plano home. 

Linda Cooper, host of "Travel Time with Linda," pictured in her Plano home. 

Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News

Linda Cooper is all smiles.

That's whether she's introducing herself to viewers, digging for turtles in the mud or literally swimming with sharks. 

 "I'm your host Linda Cooper, and it's travel time."

That's how she kicks off Travel Time With Linda, which debuted in January on AXS TV and can be streamed on Amazon Prime. The almost half-hour show makes the normal stops that any tourist would but also ventures off the beaten path.

"People are often very surprised when they watch the show because they see that I am not afraid to get down and dirty," she said, and laughed. "I do tons of adventure activity on camera, which goes completely against my girly-girl look."

It also goes against Amazon's description of Travel Time as a "luxury travel show." And while Cooper visits some luxurious spots, she's working hard behind the scenes. 

"I actually wear a lot of hats," she said, also giving credit to director Chuck Shanlever. " I am the host. And I am the executive producer. I write every single show. I have my hand in a lot of pots, including production coordinator. I even sit in on editing. ... I like to see it through from start to finish."

Add to that her work with IsraAID, an Israeli-based humanitarian-aid organization. After the 2017 hurricane season damaged many Caribbean islands, she wanted to help. (The first season of her show was set in the islands and subtitled Caribbean Dreaming.)

"It was something that happened organically," she said. "I contacted [IsraAID co-CEO Yotam Polizer] because when I was in Dominica, I had created these wonderful relationships. I learned ... that IsraAID had boots on the ground within 24 hours."

Cooper decided to make a public-service announcement, which runs when the show airs on the cable channel AXS. The first season's 13 episodes will air through the end of June on AXS; you can watch the entire season now on Amazon Prime Video.

Cooper grew up in Los Angeles and says she has worked in television since she was 15 years old. 

"I never thought I would move out of California," she said, noting that she and her husband road-tripped to Dallas immediately after getting married. "We made the move and never looked back. We are so happy here. ... We've been here 28 years."

Plano resident Linda Cooper is the host of "Travel Time With Linda," which airs on AXS TV and Amazon Prime. 

Plano resident Linda Cooper is the host of "Travel Time With Linda," which airs on AXS TV and Amazon Prime. 

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One might recognize Cooper from when she hosted local television segments and her statement T-shirt line, which included a "Shopping is my Cardio" option.

She now lives in Plano with her husband, who is in real estate. She's the mother of two children —   "one's in college at UT and one just graduated from San Diego State" — who have their own businesses, too.

"I love, love, love Dallas," she said. "It's the most amazing place to raise a family. ... Great quality of life, too. You just never know what life is going to throw your way. It was meant to be for us to be here."

Home is always in her heart. But her mind is on the second season of Travel Time With Linda, "and the new theme is bucket-list destinations." Plans are for it to air in 2019. 

"It's gonna be places that people wanna go before they die," she said. "It's gonna be Ireland, it's gonna be Dubai; it's gonna be Japan; it's gonna be places that are like, 'Oh my gosh, I have to go there. I have to see this culture, I've got to taste this food, I've gotta experience it.'"

She's always at go and she's ready to take viewers along for the flight.

"I'm incredibly grateful for this opportunity and to be able to share my vision with the masses," she said. "I'm just hoping it comes across as ... a really fun show to watch."

Linda Cooper's top 2018 travel recommendations:

For families: Costa Rica ... is one of my favorite locales that truly has something for everyone. The people are amazing with a zest for life and their iconic phrase pura vida, which means "to live life to the fullest," is how I live my life, so it really resonated with me.

I would highly recommend [visiting] Diamante Animal Sanctuary where you can get up-close and personal with beautiful butterflies in their butterfly sanctuary, and I really enjoyed feeding the sloths and monkeys.

Other notables [include] Vandara Hot Springs for its zip-lining, whitewater rafting and therapeutic mud baths and hot springs.

Also it's just a quick four-hour, nonstop flight from Dallas.

For couples: Turks & Caicos. This place is just sexy. Crystal blue turquoise water and powder white sand. You can do as little or as much as you want. In island speak, it's ideal for "Limin'," which means to hang out. The island fish fry is a must to experience, as are above- and below-the-sea adventures with snorkeling and catamaran sailing on a Champagne sunset cruise.

For the adventure-seeker: Belize. From the jungles to the rainforests to Ambergris Cay, Belize really packs a punch. Highly recommend to experience as many ecosystems as possible. Ambergris Cay offers world-renowned scuba diving and deep-sea fishing and swimming with nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley. In the jungles of Belize, hike the breathtaking waterfalls at Big Rock and Rio On Pools, and don't miss the death-defying jungle swing at Calico Jack's.

For more TV news, views and reviews, follow @DawnBurkes on Twitter.

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