Trav­el­ling life

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - INTERVIEW - In­ter­view by Sarah Ewing

How of­ten do you travel?

I’m on a plane at least twice a week at the mo­ment, com­mut­ing for work while film­ing the sec­ond se­ries of Jamestown in Bu­dapest, and I’m in the States at least twice a year for work. I fly so much that I have “gold” sta­tus on all my air­line mem­ber­ship cards even though I fly coach. I re­cently bought a £78 Bri­tish Air­ways ticket and still got to sit in the lounge and use the fast track ser­vice.

What do you need for a per­fect hol­i­day?

I’m a keen diver, so that’s a pri­or­ity for me, and my five-year-old twin sons are great swim­mers. My fam­ily tends to go on all-in­clu­sive hol­i­days, but then they end up not us­ing all the fa­cil­i­ties, so I ques­tion whether it’s worth it. But they loved it when I took them to Dis­ney­land two years ago while I was work­ing in Los An­ge­les. I can’t wait for us to rent out a fish­er­man’s cot­tage on one of the lesser-known Greek is­lands, like Alonis­sos, and then grad­u­ate to ex­plor­ing the Far East and In­dia. They need to be old enough to ap­pre­ci­ate these mag­i­cal places. There was a time when I’d rather do a bad film in In­dia than a good film any­where else, but now that I’ve got kids, things have changed.

Your ear­li­est mem­ory of trav­el­ling abroad?

Fancy ski trips were never on our radar, but my dad used to take us on hol­i­day once a year to posh places in the Al­garve.

The most re­mote place you’ve been?

The north­ern­most point in In­dia, right along the Pak­istan/China bor­der, where the Hi­malayas start. I was shoot­ing a film called The Man-Eat­ing Leop­ard of Ru­draprayag. I was above the clouds and could see all the great moun­tain ranges.

The most un­usual place you’ve been?

The cenotes (hid­den nat­u­ral swim­ming holes) in the Yu­catan Penin­sula of Mex­ico. It’s the most mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, div­ing through the crys­tal blue wa­ter and ex­plor­ing the caves. Or div­ing the Blue Hole in Si­nai, Egypt, a sub­ma­rine sink­hole. Also, Kota Kin­a­balu in Bor­neo, a coastal city sur­rounded by rain­forests. It was a mis­sion get­ting there, but worth the three flights. On that trip we went to the lux­ury Pangkor Laut Re­sort in Malaysia, with tou­cans sit­ting on the edge of the pool.

Weird­est travel ex­pe­ri­ence?

I was film­ing in Jor­dan in May 2011 when Osama bin Laden was killed. Ev­ery sin­gle tourist in the Mid­dle East had left the re­gion – the at­mos­phere was sur­real. I went to Pe­tra and there were about 50 peo­ple there. Back at our base in the moun­tains, we kept hear­ing gun­fire and were never sure if it was cel­e­bra­tions or com­mis­er­a­tions.

Most re­lax­ing des­ti­na­tion?

The Mal­dives. If you can’t re­lax there, you’re in

Most over­rated des­ti­na­tion?

Los An­ge­les ini­tially, but I changed my mind when I dis­cov­ered Sil­ver Lake – the an­tithe­sis to the bling of Bev­erly Hills. It’s got great cof­fee shops and eater­ies and you see more nor­mal peo­ple there.

Most un­der­rated des­ti­na­tion?

Ob­scure Greek is­lands like Sky­ros. In my teens I used to save money to go to Sky­ros for six or seven weeks each sum­mer. I’ve never found any­where I’ve liked as much, plus I love Greek food.

Favourite restau­rant?

The fish restau­rant at the Ho­tel Ta’ Cenc and Spa in Gozo, Malta – sim­ple, bril­liant food and great views across the wa­ter.

Favourite meal?

On a dive trip to Cuba, the di­ve­mas­ter’s wife cooked up a fresh lob­ster (which she’d just caught in front of me) with chilli and rice.

Fun­ni­est travel ex­pe­ri­ence?

I tell my kids the scars across my back are from when I was at­tacked by a shark. The truth is I was par­a­lytic af­ter a night out drink­ing with Johnny Depp while film­ing From Hell in Prague. I woke up to some­thing like the bloody sev­ered horse head scene in The God­fa­ther. I’d col­lapsed through the glass ta­ble and passed out. There was so much blood I’d to pay for a new mat­tress. And that’s why you shouldn’t drink, boys and girls.

Favourite air­line?

Air New Zealand. Its level of ser­vice with­out be­ing po-faced about it is in­cred­i­ble.

Best travel ad­vice?

Take some­thing to re­mind you of home. I take lots of wal­let-sized pho­tos of my wife and kids and put them up around my ho­tel room.

Any­thing you hate about trav­el­ling?

I hate the jour­ney to air­ports. The longer it takes, the more stressed I get.

Where next?

I’ve yet to visit South Amer­ica. Eat Lo­cals, the film di­rected by Jason Fle­myng, will be avail­able on VOD and DVD from Oc­to­ber 30.

Jason Fle­myng Ac­tor

A ‘cenote’ – nat­u­ral swim­ming hole – in the Yu­catan Penin­sula, Mex­ico, above; and the Corinthia Ho­tel Bu­dapest, above right

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