Mischa Barton, the actress, on sleeping on the beach in India, swimming with dolphins in Australia, and why she’ll never take a Ryanair flight again.
How often do you travel?
Quite a lot. I’m constantly travelling and probably can’t tell you how many flights I take in a year. I rack up a lot of air miles travelling all over the world, from New York and Australia to Dubai, Mumbai and other parts of Asia. When I was younger, my family and I travelled a lot as well. I was born in London and my dad took our family all over Europe before we relocated to the US. We travelled a lot around the States, too, including to New York and Miami, and we’d spend Christmas in Aspen, Colorado. We also visited the Bahamas. So I had a pretty varied existence growing up, travelling through America and Europe.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
I like a good hotel – it’s where your adventure begins and ends, really. I’m usually up for mostly anything on holiday as long as I can go back to a good hotel at the end of the day.
I love Baur au Lac in Switzerland and the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, which are both very good. In London, I like the smaller boutique hotels – a recent favourite has been No. 11 Cadogan Gardens in Kensington.
Favourite filming location?
I have very fond memories of Canada, especially Montreal, where I’ve shot so many films, and also of filming in Kentucky when I was younger. I also did a film in Australia, where I spent time working at Sea World on the Gold Coast, swimming with dolphins every day, which was incredible. I loved the beach in Goa, where I shot a film called Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain. It was quite a Zen experience, following a vegetarian diet there, meditating and sleeping in a hammock on the beach for a week. I’ve also done some amazing modelling shoots in Australia, along the east coast. I had an incredible time visiting the Great Barrier Reef and got to see manta rays and so many tropical fish.
Best city for shopping?
It depends on what you’re after. When it comes to high-end fashion brands, such as Chloé and Louis Vuitton, it’s always great to buy them from where they originate in Europe, but it’s definitely not the cheapest place for them. Tokyo is a very interesting city for shopping if you want to find really offbeat designers. But I have to say I like New York best and it’s where I do a lot of my shopping, on Fifth Avenue and downtown Manhattan. I love all the department stores and how they’re all easily laid out for you. I always try to bring back something relevant to the place I’ve visited, so when I went to China I brought home some beautiful silk pyjamas.
The ones based in Dubai, such as Emirates, are fantastic.
Least favourite airline?
I took a Ryanair flight once and I will never do that again. I was made to combine two bags of luggage into one at the boarding gate, which didn’t seem physically possible but I was forced to try. So I was totally stressed out by the time I got on the plane. [Ryanair now allows passengers to take a second smaller bag along with their carry-on suitcase].
Worst travel experience?
The worst episode I had was in France when I fell quite sick with an ear infection after swimming in the ocean. I went all around the country trying to find a doctor on a Sunday. I’ve also stayed in some terrible hotels while filming, too. I remember filming a movie once in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and decided to stay at a house instead of a traditional hotel. I ended up digging myself out of the snow every morning just to get out of the driveway.
Best piece of travel advice?
Always bring a good book. It helps time pass more quickly, especially when you have delays at airports, because you can just find a corner and read. And always come prepared with little snacks and a bottle of water, too, for any flight delays you might face.
What do you hate about holidays?
The paparazzi. They are always my least favourite part of a holiday. You could be on the most gorgeous beach, but if there are paparazzi there, it’s no longer such a fun place to be. You would not believe the lengths they go to in order to get a picture. I think they once actually let the air out in my tyres on purpose while I was on a trip to Formentera with my boyfriend at the time. So we were forced to come look at the car while the paparazzi, of course, took pictures of the whole scene. That is probably why I prefer holidays in the mountains because less of this usually goes on.
What has travelling taught you?
I go through phases where I hate travelling and take it for granted, while at other times I’m so grateful to be able to go to the places I get to see. But it’s so important to see different places and put yourself in other people’s shoes. That’s how you grow and learn as a person. So I think travelling has taught me so much.
My sister is a lawyer and she works in London, so I’ll probably be there to visit her and my niece soon. I’ll also be spending some time in Canada and Alaska this year, shooting a new movie called Butterfly Love. I’ve seen pictures of some of the filming locations, so I’m really looking forward to seeing them in the flesh.
Mischa Barton uses Bonuit® Sleep Aid, a herbal medicinal product used to relieve sleep disturbances. For more information, see www.bonuit.co.uk.
Article via Telegraph.co.uk