Laura Linney, the Mr Holmes actress, recalls the beauty and art of Japan, getting blood all over her passport at airport security and reveals her recipe for beating jet lag. She even shares some of her holiday hates and a key travel tip – make meticulous plans and dump them when you get to where you're going.
How often do you travel?
It’s slowed down a little bit since I had a baby last year but I travel a lot for work, which I love. I’ve been so fortunate. I’ve travelled all over the world and have seen places that I never imagined I’d get to see.
I’ve filmed everywhere from Argentina to Australia, Japan and all over Europe. In the last year, I’ve spent a lot of time in London, where I’ve made two films so I’ve become pretty familiar with the city.
Most memorable filming location?
Costa Rica was fantastic where we shot the film Congo. We got to see places you normally wouldn’t have access to, shooting on top of volcanoes and going deep into the rainforest and over gorges.
It was gorgeous. But we also encountered a lot snakes and bugs in the jungle and ended up with some pretty nasty and big bites.
Jindabyne, where the film of the same name was shot, was remarkable. It’s an Australian town that overlooks a beautiful lake, under which it was originally set before the town was flooded. So there was a haunting feeling there when we shot over the lake knowing there was once an entire town submerged beneath it.
The town is set near the Kosciuszko National Park, which is beautiful, and the wildlife there is mind-blowingly accessible. There are kangaroos and wombats and other exotic animals.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
A nice place to stay with access to a shower, as well as comfortable shoes and a good travelling companion – hopefully someone with a good sense of direction. I also need a lot of preparation, all of which I tend to throw out of the window once I get to my destination.
Most surprising destination you’ve been?
Japan is the only place I’ve ever experienced culture shock. Jet lag on top of culture shock is a pretty anxiety-inducing experience.
But once all of that passed, the beauty of the country and the art that you see everywhere you look was staggering, exotic and exciting. The temples were beautiful; the architecture is unreal.
There’s a sensual quality to the whole country that is very visceral.
Worst travelling experience?
When we were shooting the film The City of Your Final Destination in Argentina, we were out in The Pampas area where the roads were very, very bad and many cars flipped over because the roads were not maintained. The gas tanks were all in the trunks which was pretty nerve wracking.
A few actors were in some pretty bad car accidents there but I managed to survive. I always told my driver that I was in no rush and to go very, very slowly.
What do you hate about holidays?
I get very nervous going through airport security. I don’t know why but I just get very unnerved that there are people ahead of me, people behind me and everybody’s rushing. I get very unsettled and I start dropping things. I get very knocked off my game.
I’ve never been pulled aside by officials but once I was so nervous that I sliced my thumb with a paper cut and blood was all over the place. My passport has blood all over it.
I’m not normally a nervous person but when I’m at the airport, I just feel like everyone behind me in the line is annoyed with me. Or I think I’m the one that’s holding up the line.
In London, I like to stay in the Firmdale Hotels, which are beginning to feel like home to me. The staff really get to know you and they all remember you. It’s a really lovely feeling.
I don’t really want to plug an airline one over the other but I would certainly say that a flat bed makes a huge difference. It’s a huge luxury to have that. And honestly if I’m doing a short trip, I have no problem flying in coach [economy] class.
What’s your best piece of travel advice?
I firstly pack everything I want to take into the suitcase and then I take half of it out. I also follow a very specific recipe for beating jet lag, at least for whenever I travel to England.
I always take a night flight and I eat before I get on the plane. When I get on the plane, I immediately go to sleep. I try to sleep the whole night through.
Then I wake up and have a cup of coffee on the plane but I don’t eat. I then get to the hotel, take a shower, go for walk outside and then I sleep from 2pm to 4pm. You feel like hell when you wake up but then you’re pretty much on track.
What has travelling taught you?
It’s taught me a lot. You learn more about yourself than anything else because when you’re stripped away of everything familiar, you behave in a different way and you figure out weaknesses and strengths. It all becomes pretty clear.
I'll be going to Telluride, Colorado, where I’ve spent a lot of time before, at the end of the summer. It’s not the most easily accessible place in the world, but boy is it worth it when you get there.
I’m enjoying being in Manhattan where I’m filming at the moment and I have another movie opening in the UK later in the year so I’ll be back in London in the autumn.
Mr. Holmes, starring Laura Linney, is out in cinemas this month.
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This article was written by Nick McGrath from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.