What was your greatest holiday?

It's a tie. One was the week I spent at the Kamalaya resort on Koh Samui in Thailand, in December. I had spent the majority of that year traveling all across the United States in an RV showing the film [

Walking The Camino: Six Ways to Santiago

] in more than 50 cities, doing more than 200 question-and-answer sessions - and I was absolutely exhausted. After hours of internet research, my mother and I splurged to have a special Christmas vacation there for a week and it was truly magical - the most amazing massages, fantastic food, wonderful meditation teachers, beautiful accommodation and incredible natural beauty. It was truly paradise.


The other was when I had the opportunity row down the Grand Canyon for 18 days in 2011. My stepsister and a couple of our friends, managed to get a permit and it was incredible to be on the river for almost three weeks, with no internet or phone service and just ourselves for entertainment. We made up songs and games and life became very simple - setting up camp, preparing food, rafting, going on hikes and sleeping. Most of the river is flat water and is incredibly peaceful and beautiful. I did end up flipping in the biggest rapid on the river, Lava Falls, but no one was hurt and nothing was lost except my pride.

And the worst?
I've been racking my brains trying to think of what was the worst vacation I've ever had and I haven't been able to think of even one. I've always loved to travel (especially internationally) and even when plans go awry, wallets get stolen, planes get missed - there is always a gift and a new experience to learn from.

If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing?
Walking and reading - not at the same time.

If we could teleport you to one place in New Zealand for a week-long holiday, where would it be?
South Island - doing the Milford trek and a multi-day rafting trip. I've been to New Zealand twice and did the Routeburn Track and a rafting trip down a river so clean you could drink straight from it. We put in by helicopter, which was a totally new experience for me.

How about for a dream holiday internationally?
See above.

Lydia Smith on the Camino trail in Spain. Photo / Supplied
Lydia Smith on the Camino trail in Spain. Photo / Supplied

What was the dumbest thing you've ever done when traveling?

Would have to be when I went to Pamplona in my 20s for the San Fermin festival, the Running of the Bulls. We took an overnight train to get there and upon arriving, my friend convinced me that we should join the party and start drinking immediately. After a very wine-heavy lunch complete with brandy and green apple chupitos afterwards, my friend scored a ticket to go see a bullfight and I was happy to head to the park for a "siesta". I used my backpack as a pillow, but when I woke up (came to) my backpack was gone along with my passport, wallet and all my money.

What's the best travel tip you've ever been given?
Would be the one I learned the hard way - if you are going to drink copious amounts of alcohol, make sure you tie your belongings to yourself and don't pass out in public.


Favourite airport at which to land?
Portland. As much I as long to travel, I love my city and my home. I live on a floating home on the Willamette River and it is my favorite place in the world. Even if I didn't live there I think Portland would still be my favourite airport as it is so beautiful, light, airy, great stores (which are mandated to have the same prices as their stores in town) and has very fast free wifi.

What's the next trip you've got planned?
In November, I will be going to Japan for six days to do screenings, then Myanmar for a boat trip and then returning to Kamalaya for 10 days.

Lydia Smith's film Walking The Camino: Six Ways to Santiago is released on Thursday.