Trip in his 20s to Ire­land cast spell

Hartford Courant (Sunday) - - Living - By Jae-Ha Kim Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

Aus­tralian ac­tor Ben Law­son (“13 Rea­sons Why,” “The Good Place,” “Des­ig­nated Sur­vivor”) loves his home­land but says there are parts he has yet to ex­plore. “The Great Bar­rier Reef is so beau­ti­ful,” says Law­son, 38, who lives in Los An­ge­les. “And I rec­om­mend Uluru, al­though I’ve never been my­self. It’s on my bucket list to go to what we call the Red Cen­ter. Ac­tu­ally, I’d love to drive across the Nullar­bor Plain and ex­pe­ri­ence that part of the coun­try, too.”

An edited ver­sion of our con­ver­sa­tion fol­lows.

Q: What is your fa­vorite va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion?

A: This is a re­ally tough one to an­swer, but in terms of a place that I keep re­turn­ing to again and again, it’s New York City. I lived there for a lit­tle while in 2015 and com­pletely fell in love with it. No other city fills me with ex­cite­ment the way New York does.

It’s not a re­lax­ing place, but I don’t re­ally travel to re­lax; re­lax­ing’s what I do at home.

Q: What un­tapped des­ti­na­tion should peo­ple know about?

A: I think Colom­bia is such a cool coun­try, and I had a great time at the port city of Carta­gena. I def­i­nitely want to go back and ex­plore more of Colom­bia and South Amer­ica.

Q: What was the first trip you took as a child?

A: When I was about 6 years old, my fam­ily moved to South­east Asia — Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong — for my dad’s work. My mem­o­ries of it are mostly of all the new foods we were sud­denly eat­ing. I’m ob­sessed with fried rice to this day. An­other mem­ory is of a pa­rade where men with hooks pierced through their backs pulled a float down the street. I think it’s fair to say my 6-year-old mind was blown.

Q: Have you ever done some­thing on a trip you re­gret?

A: When I was in Bo­livia, my brother re­ally wanted to ride Death Road, a treach­er­ous 35mile road that’s fa­mous for be­ing the most dan­ger­ous road in the world. It’s be­come pop­u­lar for tourists to get on a bike at the top and ride down to the bot­tom. I have a fear of heights and re­ally didn’t want to do it, but even­tu­ally he con­vinced me. On the way there, we made friends with Chris­tian, who was trav­el­ing by him­self from Nor­way. Long story short, Chris­tian ac­ci­den­tally went off the side of the road and lost his life. It’s eas­ily the worst travel ex­pe­ri­ence I’ve had.

Q: What is your best travel mem­ory?

A: When I was in my 20s, I took a bus around Ire­land with a bunch of other tourists, mostly Aussies, Ki­wis and Brits. Ev­ery night, we were in a dif­fer­ent city and in­stead of drink­ing with the rest of the back­pack­ers, I’d usu­ally head out by my­self to wan­der around. In Gal­way I met a girl at a bar, and when she found out I was leav­ing the next day, she took me on a walk­ing tour of the city. It was af­ter mid­night and ev­ery­thing was closed, but we looked through the win­dow of her fa­vorite gallery and walked along the river and saw the swans. I walked her home, thanked her and went back to the hos­tel. That was a pretty good night.

MARIA JOSE GOVEA PHOTO

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