My Life in Travel - Dominic Monaghan
'I had a fantastic trip to Thailand with Orlando Bloom'
Saturday 25 April 2009
First holiday memory?
Lake Garda in Italy; I remember staying in a campsite when I was seven or eight with my parents and a guy coming round with huge blocks of ice for picnic boxes. He would sing this song which I've forgotten now – it was probably "Ice Ice Baby" – announcing that he was coming round.
Holidays are all different depending on the company and time of your life. However I do remember a fantastic holiday to Thailand with Billy Boyd and Orlando Bloom in my early twenties. We were all single, young and up for an adventure. We went to Bangkok then took off to the islands.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
I have holidayed in Penrith, Cumbria, with a very good friend of mine called Mark who has a house there. I've had some amazing times sat around a log fire after a long walk or stalking animals – though we'd never kill them. I also have great memories of Glasgow.
What have you learnt from your travels?
I've learnt that the world over, everyone's essentially the same. We are all trying to have a nice time and get along with things. If I've ever been in trouble on holiday there has always been someone available to help me.
Ideal travelling companion?
John Lennon is someone I'd like to have become friends with and whose brain I'd like to have picked.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I like a combination of culture and adrenalin sports. I like cities but I have become a bit less beach-ified than I used to be. I enjoy being active, doing things like white-water rafting and bungee jumping and anything associated with nature – going to parks and wildlife reserves.
Greatest travel luxury?
My computer so I can have my photos, music and the ability to stay in touch with people.
One of the main luxuries is packing books. I got an e-book for Christmas, which is great for travelling – I can upload about 1,500 books on to it.
Where has seduced you?
I was really enamoured with Cusco in Peru. It's full of art galleries and backpackers and you're quite high up so you can't do too much apart from drink coca tea. The food was fantastic, the weather was beautiful, there were llamas and alpacas wandering around nearby and I got to meet some really inspiring artists. The plane ride in was superb because you fly round the mountains and turn a corner to come into this little valley. You're acutely aware of the isolation.
Better to travel or arrive?
I enjoy the preparatory elements of travel – packing my bags and choosing my outfits – but my favourite part is getting there.
Worst travel experience?
Lima was pretty grim. We were there for a night en route to somewhere else and got in a taxi whose driver tried to rip us off, asking for money halfway through the journey then charging us quadruple the going rate and demanding a tip on top of that.
Oban in Scotland. I went with my parents when I was at the stage when I didn't want to be on holiday with them. It rained all week and we drove each other crazy, playing board games. My brother and cousin had just started reading Viz so we read them, which I think just about saved us.
A hotel I stayed at in Milton Keynes when I was filming. It was horrendous. I can't remember a time when I called reception and they answered the phone. And the food was shocking. I was so incensed that I refused to pay the bill.
I like the George V in Paris. It's traditional and very French and pretentious, but if you're going to spend a weekend in Paris that's the way to do it. The W in San Diego is swanky and cool and Casa de Carmona in Spain is lost in the 1940s and has an incredible charm and beautiful decor.
My favourite drive, from LA via Big Sur to San Francisco, is really beautiful. I also drove from the top to the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand with Billy Boyd, which took about three days. It was like a Beatles Magical Mystery Tour – we got drunk, though not while driving; ate too much; got lost and took photos of road kill on the way.
Best meal abroad?
It was in India. I'd been travelling from Bangalore to Goa and I got to a beach town called Palolem. Everywhere had shut down for the night and I walked on to the beach, which was beautiful. A guy offered to make me some chicken tikka, so I went for a night swim then had the most fantastic meal of my life.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
Get out of the hotel and explore, unless I'm severely jet-lagged.
I'd like to go on a hardcore safari in Africa, something off the beaten track with anti-poaching people and camping out in the savannah. I'd also like to go to the Galápagos Islands, Madagascar, Easter Island and Christmas Island – isolated places.
I think I'm going to go back to Thailand to see some friends in Bangkok, then maybe go up to the north of the country.
Dominic Monaghan stars in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine', released 29 April
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