The Royal New Zealand Ballet principal Laurynas Vejalis reveals his favourite travel memories.
What do you miss most about travel right now?
I miss travelling to Japan to see my family. It's been more than a year which is the longest length of time I have been away from them. I miss being there with them - chatting, having dinner and watching a movie. It really makes difference connecting with people physically instead of video-calling.
I also miss having a little break from my hectic daily life. Travel gives me new and fresh ideas.
What are your strongest memories from the first overseas trip you ever took?
My first overseas trip was when my family moved to Japan from Lithuania. Since I was only three at the time, I don't have clear memories from it but that was my first time meeting my Japanese grandparents.
What was a standard family holiday like when growing up?
My family used to travel to Lithuania every year to see my Lithuanian grandparents and I enjoyed spending time at their house in the countryside.
Who has most inspired your travels?
My family inspired me to explore the world. We travelled a lot when I was young and I got many chances to see different countries.
What is the greatest trip you've ever been on?
Some of my favourite trips were performing ballet in Paris, a trip to Barcelona to watch football, and visiting Queenstown with my girlfriend.
And the worst?
I was on a holiday in Fiji in March 2020 when I found out they were closing the border because of Covid-19. I was almost unable to come back to New Zealand. It was a nice, short trip but also very scary.
What's your approach to packing for a big trip?
I always check the weather of the destination, so I can pack the right clothes. I also make sure I bring the right plug for the country.
What destination most surprised you - good or bad?
I was very surprised when I visited New York City for the first time because of course all the streets are named with numbers. I got lost so many times walking through the streets and using the subway.
What was your most memorable sunrise/sunset?
I was in a place called Nida, which is a popular holiday destination in Lithuania. I walked the waterfront with my grandpa and we watched the sunset together.
What's the first thing you do when you get home from a long trip?
Have a hot shower. As a dancer, it's important to maintain our bodies, so having a hot shower is the first step to relaxing and recovering, especially on tour.
What do you miss most about home when you travel?
I really do miss my own bed when I'm away. I am very picky about mattresses and pillows.
Where is the one destination you must see in your lifetime?
I've always wanted to visit Africa and do a safari. I would love to see animals in the wild and the natural beauty.
What's your favourite thing about travel?
My favourite thing about travel is experiencing different cultures and lifestyles. I love learning the history of the places I travel to, and meeting new people.
Laurynas Vejalis stars in the Royal New Zealand Ballet's production of Giselle, touring New Zealand from May 12 to June 9. rnzb.org.nz