The actress recalls the hidden pleasures of Hong Kong, scenic Romania, kindness in Rwanda and menu charades in Moscow.
I was a nomad in my 20s
...constantly travelling for work in places such as South Africa, Berlin, Warsaw, Romania, Russia, Italy, Prague and Budapest. When I had my daughter Rose in 2010 [with peace campaigner Jeremy Gilley], I cut down my travels a lot.
Rose is insatiably curious
...about the world and is a great traveller. I definitely don’t want to pass on a fear of travelling to her, given changing times and security issues. I love being able to explore a whole different way of life over the weekend and be back in time for school on the Monday morning.
There was nothing exotic
...about my childhood holidays. We never went skiing, although we did take the train to Pisa one stifling summer when I was seven. We usually went to our cottage in Dorset.
Hong Kong is all contrasts
I was filming there for six weeks at the end of 2017, staying at the Regal Hotel at Causeway Bay, and Rose joined me for a fortnight. I discovered the absolute beauty and chaos where East meets West and old traditions jostle with massive skyscrapers. When you look at the city from the harbour it is vibrant and modern, but a short boat ride away are pristine islands with golden beaches, giant Buddha statues and breathtaking fishing villages. Find a small private tour to help you uncover the hidden side of Hong Kong.
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I’m a curious traveller
...so while it’s lovely going on a relaxing holiday, I like knowing I’ve had a cultural experience. I love just walking, getting lost in a city.
Ibiza is about more than just clubbing
...and my parents were shocked when I told them I was going. You must try horse riding in the spring in the north. Rose loved it. The wild flowers and orange blossoms make every breath magical. It is unadulterated farmland, the total opposite of the south.
The Borneo jungle
..was once the haunt of a Victorian lady. I found that out two years ago when I delved into the depths of the Sarawak forest for a documentary about the botanist and painter Marianne North, who painted rare plants in their natural habitat. It was very hot, but fascinating to retrace her steps and find the pitcher plant among the limestone mountains.
I like testing my limits
...which I did when I lived in the Costa Rican jungle for eight days for Bear Grylls: Mission Survive. It was mud and rain the whole time, and we had to build our own shelter and eat rather unsavoury things like tarantulas and scorpions. I found it exhilarating.
Rwanda is the loveliest country
...with the kindest people. I had expected it to be depressing because of its history of genocide. It’s a very young country in a way because of the aftermath of the turmoil, but it’s now very peaceful with lush, green landscapes rich with fruit and excellent coffee. I visited three years ago with the charity Hope and Homes For Children.
Don’t dismiss Romania
It has a beautifully diverse countryside, beaches and lakes. I fell in love with it when I was filming Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
My waiter acted out
...every single piece of food at an African restaurant in Moscow. There was a cattle dance for beef, a pig dance for pork and a chicken dance for chicken. It was hysterical.
The best food I’ve ever had
...was at the Rainbow Restaurant on Lamma Island in Hong Kong. It was very simple but incredibly fresh and mouth-wateringly delicious.
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I dreaded Disneyland
But as a parent, I felt I had to take Rose to let her experience it. And you know what? We had the best time.
I was locked up in Moscow
...while filming The Soul Keeper. My hair was dyed black for the part, but I was blonde in my passport. As I put my haphazardly packed bags through the scanner, I caught the eye of the security guy and knew something bad was about to happen. I was dragged to a room in an obscure part of the airport where officials flicked through my passport, sneering at me, before my phone rang - it was Ralph Fiennes and he came to my rescue.
...a secret jewel. It’s such a romantic, quiet, old-fashioned city, with the most delicious food.
Dorset is a great love
The Jurassic coast has untouched countryside and is great for sandy beaches, fossil hunting and wildlife.
I’d love to go travelling for six months
...without stepping on a plane, to see where it takes me. I’ve never been to South America or India. They’re next on my list.
Interview by Sarah Ewing
Emilia Fox is an ambassador for the Own Your Fears campaign for AXA PPP Healthcare (axappphealthcare.co.uk/ownyourfears).