Walking all over the world
Jodie Whittaker explores the globe with the keen, fresh eyes of a tourist - and shares her personal best travel2013
BRITSH Actress Jodie Whittaker has starred in TV series such as Broadchurch, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Wired. She has enjoyed success in film too starring in Venus, St Trinian’s and Good. First holiday memory? Going to Benidorm when I was three. I’ve never been back. It was my first vivid memory of feeling fear, because I fell into the pool and my dad had to rescue me. Best holiday? Going backpacking when I was 18. I set off alone for six months before a friend joined me. I started in LA, did two months around the west coast of North America from Tijuana to Vancouver and back, to work at a hostel in Flagstaff, Arizona. I then flew to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, for my first Christmas away from home, and on to New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.
What have you learnt from your travels?
I think the best thing about travelling is being a tourist and asking questions. The best experiences I’ve had have been because I’ve said yes to a bus trip that could, potentially, have been horrendous. Ideal travelling companion? Lonely Planet guidebooks. I don’t go anywhere without one.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
All three. In Thailand, I stayed in Koh Pha Ngan lying on the beach in paradise for six weeks. In Vilnius, I walked around every museum there is. And, even though at 31 I have a more nervous streak than I used to, I’ve still skydived, bungee jumped and been white-water rafting. Greatest travel luxury? Portable loudspeakers, because I love my music. I would never be that person playing loud music on the beach, but there are some places with no one else around, where you can lie down, chill out and listen to your own music. It means I have an associated song for every place in the world I’ve visited. Holiday reading? American classics. The coolest book for me, in terms of timing, was reading On The Road in Tucson, Arizona, from where Kerouac drives to reach San Francisco. I felt like I was with him! Which city has seduced you? Venice. I was taken for my 30th birthday because I’d never been before. It was amazing. I went at the height of summer too, when everyone says don’t go, and it was still beautiful. It took my breath away. Worst travel experience? When I first got to America, I took the train from Salt Lake City to Ari- zona and fell asleep in my seat, only to wake at 3am in an empty carriage with a man hugging me. He said he was trying to keep me warm. I was terrified, but didn’t want to upset him, so I just moved carriages. Best hotel? My husband (actor Christian Contreras) and I drove up to Scotland and stumbled across one of the most amazing hotels by accident. We arrived on December 30, where by chance they had a cancellation. So we stayed for three nights in The George Hotel, a pub on Loch Fyne in Inveraray, in a room with a log fire and had the most lovely, time. Favourite walk? The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand, past Lake Taupo. It’s an eight-hour, full-day hike over volcanic mountains and sulphur pools. The landscape is extraordinary. At various times you feel as if you’re in a desert, then you see lava and volcanic land, and you’re walking through lush greenery. Best road trip? From New York to Wilmington in North Carolina via the Outer Banks, a 200-mile string of barrier islands. The best thing about it was the Southern food. It was amazing, but utterly unhealthy. Best meal abroad? I was filming The Shooting of Thomas Hurndall in Jordan and four of us had a few days off, so we hired a bedouin guide, who took us across the Wadi Rum desert. We stayed in a camp and ate lamb and vegetables that had been cooked in the ground with hot stones. Favourite city? San Francisco. I love the artistic, liberal, fun, young energy. It also has great food and drinking dens, right on the edge of the wine region, so it’s pretty much my ideal place. Where next? I’ll be in New York over New Year, then we’ll drive up the East Coast to Boston for some clam chowder. I also want to go to Iceland; that’s on the list for next year. – The Independent
AWESOME HIKE: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the Tongariro National Park in New Zealand has brilliantly spectacular scenery, says Whittaker.
BACKPACKER: Jodie Whittaker