What was your greatest holiday?


And the worst? Paris the first time. The second was no better. It was cold, the people were rude and unfriendly and I had to remind the security men at the Comedie-Francaise when they wanted to check my backpack for bombs that I was from New Zealand and that the Rainbow Warrior was a major part of my whakapapa. Paris and I made friends last northern winter during the Charlie Hebdo incident and I'm now as madly in love with the city as everyone else seems to be.

If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing? Sightseeing, dining, galleries and performances - and if there's a dojo nearby: karate!


What's the dumbest thing you've ever done when travelling? Not to check whether travelling through the Czech Republic on the way to Rome from Berlin required a visa. That required a special kind of talking.

Complete this sentence: I can't travel without ... Great walking shoes. At least two pairs.

What's the best travel tip you've ever been given? Decide what you need to take. Lay it all out on your bed. Now halve it. Halve it again. Now you have twice as much as you'll ever need.

What was the most memorable meal you've had while travelling? A Japanese banquet at a hotel in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan hosted by a revered karate Sensei. Tastes to die for - and sake too.

Lexie Matheson (centre), with partner Cushla and son Finn in the caves at Mt Fuji. Photo / Supplied
Lexie Matheson (centre), with partner Cushla and son Finn in the caves at Mt Fuji. Photo / Supplied

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

A beautiful medallion from the Sengaku-ji Soto Zen Buddhist Temple in Tokyo, the final resting place of the 47 Ronin. Perhaps the best known example of bushido (the way of the warrior) in Japanese history, the medallion has the names of all 47 men inscribed on the back and an engraving of the temple on the front.

Favourite airport to land at? Naha Airport in Okinawa.

What's the next trip you've got planned? China. The Shaolin temple, home of Shaolinquan kung fu, in Henan Province, then back to Okinawa with a side trip to Tokashiki Island, the most beautiful place on the planet, followed by a trip to Kyoto, Japan to visit the five exquisite Zen temples.

Lexie Matheson, who lectures in events management at AUT, appears in an all-women version of Shakespeare's Henry V at Auckland's Pop Up Globe Theatre this month.