Naoko Mori: My life in travel

'Everest is so beautiful. I'd go back in a heartbeat'

Chloe Hamilton
Friday 25 September 2015 09:52

An air hostess once gave me her scarf.

It was my first flight, when we were moving to America; I was three and a half. I remember feeling very grown up. The air hostess looked so glamorous, so much so that I was smitten with her. They used to wear scarves so the lady gave me hers, which was designed by a pretty famous Japanese designer because it was a Japanese airline. I actually still have it at home.

I've lived on my own in London since I was 15.

Dad's work took us to America, and initially to London, but then my parents left and I stayed. My dad always brought us up to be independent. I remember when I used to go home for summer holidays after they left, he'd be like, "just get on a plane". So, I'm completely used to travelling alone. Funnily enough I've never been scared, probably because it's just been drummed into me.

I'd never really climbed before I filmed 'Everest'.

It was pretty life-changing seeing that mountain. Mount Everest is just phenomenal. It's one of those things that, until you see it right there, you just don't imagine it to be so beautiful. It kind of flicked a switch in me that I didn't think existed. I've always been outdoorsy; I used to be a real tomboy as well as a child. I really want to go to base camp and I'd love to finish that trek because we weren't able to when filming. We got maybe half-way, to Thyangboche.

Thrill ride: Lukla's short runway isn't for the faint-hearted

Lukla is the scariest airport in the world.

We had a horrendously scary plane ride to Lukla, Nepal. It's ridiculous, the runway is so short, we were screaming in this tiny plane. We started walking from there. We went pretty high up; the altitude sickness was an incredible experience in itself. I didn't care, as far as nausea and headaches were concerned, the scariest thing for me was the sleep apnoea. I'd be asleep and then my body would wake me up because I wasn't breathing. That was really terrifying but I sort of got used to it. The trek was amazing. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

The Amalfi Coast is utterly phenomenal.

It was always my dad's wish to go back to Italy and it was actually my father and my mother's plan to have their 50th wedding anniversary on the Amalfi Coast. Sadly, she passed away a couple of months before the anniversary, so I took him. I love Italy anyway but you can see why the Amalfi Coast is such a heritage site. It's just beautiful.

Tokyo has a very different vibe.

It's a little bit crazy, but still orderly and clean, and it's very efficient, as is often the case in Japan. Kyoto, the old capital, is where all the temples are. What I love about Kyoto is that you really have the mix of the old and the new, with the temples and the history – it's also got the most amazing cuisine.

British Airways should give me a season ticket, I fly back to Japan so often.

I probably go three or four times a year. It's funny because I get to see the same crew members and sometimes I know the menu by heart. I've always had a travel bug but one area that I haven't been to yet is South-east Asia. I really want to go to somewhere like Thailand and explore that part of the world.

I collect 'Do Not Disturb' signs.

I've been doing this for years. I ask if I can take a "Do Not Disturb" sign from each hotel I stay in. I have a huge box of them now. I used to just put them on doors at home but I've run out of doors. I reckon I have more than a hundred.

Naoko Mori appears in Everest, released by Universal Pictures and in cinemas now

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