My holidays: Damien Avery

Damien Avery.
Damien Avery.

What was your greatest holiday?

I travelled a bit on my own in 2012, to the US, England and through Europe. Apart from the beauty and majesty in all those places, I made it my mission to see as much theatre as I could. Between New York, London and a couple in Europe, I clocked in at 14. It was incredible.

And the worst?

Actually as a kid, when my parents took me to the States for the first time - we headed to breakfast in the hotel lobby. Being the young, trusting Kiwi I was, I left my wallet in the room thinking we would go back to brush our teeth before heading out for the day. All my spending money was stolen from it by housekeeping. I was heartbroken.

If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing?

Probably walking, looking around - not at where I'm going. Exploring a museum or exhibition, a place to eat or waiting outside a theatre to see a show.

Such a tourist.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever done when travelling?

Was performing a show - a Shakespeare - in Beijing, China. And while walking around exploring Hutong, I decided to cool down with a refreshing iced drink from a hole-in-a-wall vendor. Apparently it had three massive shots of Bacardi in it ... Needless to say it was an interesting show that night.

Complete this sentence: I can't travel without ...

A camera - this one seems obvious. I don't usually take a lot of photos, but I just have to while travelling. And plasters ... heavy duty ones. I am fairly accident-prone so it helps to have some on hand, rather than trying to find a chemist in the middle of a Greek Island while climbing rocks to get a better photo ... for example.

What's the best travel tip you've ever been given?

Take a foldable bag of some description. I throw it in the bottom of my day bag - you never know when you might over-shop or want to have a picnic somewhere and need something else to help carry all the things. Or if your checked baggage is overweight and you need another carry-on bag. Doesn't always happen but saves a lot of stress when it does.

What was the most memorable meal you've had while travelling?

My partner organised a 10-course degustation lunch at the incredible Pied a Terre restaurant in London for my 30th birthday. All the flavours were incredible but the 36-hour slow-roasted beef and the chocolate slice dessert were like nothing I've ever tasted. As was the bill. Once in a lifetime.

What's the best thing you've brought back from a trip?

The Venetian masks I have hanging on my wall at home. They are beautiful, but getting them home was a challenge. Problem 1: they're made of paper. Problem 2: it was pouring with rain for the two days I was in Venice, and Problem 3: they are incredibly difficult to pack. I'm really proud that I managed to get them home.

Damien Avery performs in As You Like It from February 14 to March 11 at the Auckland University Clock Tower, as part of the Auckland Outdoor Summer Shakespeare Festival.

- NZ Herald

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