What was your greatest holiday?

My greatest holiday was when I quit my job and ran off to Paris to meet a lover I had only known for three months. We met in Auckland and fell in love but he left to live in Paris for the rest of the year. I was unhappy in my job and he was sending me hand-painted postcards every day. So I quit and moved to Paris. It was glorious and six years later we got married!

And the worst?

The worst was when I was with my family in the Himalayas. We were in a car being driven down from Shimla and had to get to a train so we could get back to New Delhi. The driver was going pretty fast and we had a few scary blind corners, but things got worse when suddenly it was black as night and hail stones as big as your fist were pelting the car. I thought I was going to die. My legs went completely numb. On one side was the mountain, on the other was a cliff. We realised we had driven straight into the middle of a storm cloud. Thankfully we got through, the sun came back, the hail stopped and we made our train.


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

I'll meet you at the nearest wine bar to the art gallery.

If we could teleport you to one place in NZ for a week-long holiday, where would it be?

I'd like to spend some time in the Marlborough Sounds. It's somewhere I haven't been yet.

How about for a dream holiday internationally?

Get me to Berlin, straight away.

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

Left a pair of scissors in my carry on while already late for a flight in Amsterdam. It dawned on me as I was in the line that they were in there and I knew I'd be taken aside. We were already late and were barely going to make it. So I told my husband, "just go without me!" We made it in the end.

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

Something to write in. Travelling inspires me to write.

What's the best travel tip you've ever had?

Sleeping pills for long-haul flights.

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

Heaven is being on a bridge over the River Seine with a bottle of wine, a baguette and some Roquefort, and an eclair. All of which only cost €5.

What's the best thing you've brought home?

The best things I bring back are generally books. I tend to hoard programmes and leaflets and buy books on the artists I discover in each country. These objects and documents give me constant inspiration for years after the trip. I learn the most about any place through the art it creates and collects.

Favourite airport to land at?

Wherever my lover is waiting.

What's the next trip you've got planned?

I might go somewhere in Southeast Asia next, Malaysia or Vietnam. It's an area I haven't been to yet. And I'm dying to get back to Europe; Berlin, Paris and Brussels. And New York, New York! And Shanghai where my brother lives. A fascinating place. All the places!

Nisha Madhan performs in the latest Indian Ink production, The Elephant Thief at Auckland's Q Theatre until July 2. Tickets from qtheatre.co.nz