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Oct 25

Celebrity Travel: Simona Brhlikova

Posted in Where to Travel to Now

The Gallowwalker star, Simona Brhlikova, demonstrates why she's more than just a pretty face. The speaker of seven different languages, Simona talks with Seb King about her stays with Eskimos in Alaska and the Masai tribe in Kenya.

Q: Let’s say you’re packing light for a trip. Apart from toiletries, what can you not travel without? 

Ha, water? 

Q: Let’s assume you have water shall we? Would you be lost without music on the road? 
Ok, I’ll be good. I’m not too fussed about having my ipod with me but what I really can’t do without is a newspaper. I’ve got a fetish for current affairs and I can’t live without a copy of The Sunday Times. 
Q: If other travelers should abide by one golden rule what do you think that should be? 
It would be to respect local cultures and customs. Travel with an open mind. 
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
I’d go to Thailand. But I really want to explore South East Asia, Cambodia and Laos as well. I’d have to say that if I could be transported anywhere in the world I’d love to meditate somewhere up in the mountains in Brazil. I’m itching to get out to South America. 
Q: You lived with Eskimos in Alaska and the Masai tribe in Kenya. What brought to these places? Was it your own choice to live in these extraordinary conditions? 
It was very much my own decision to visit these places. I travelled to Alaska on my own when I was 17 because my grandma always talked about it. In fact, now you’ve got me talking about it, this journey only happened because I saw a sign in a shop window while I was in New York advertising trips to Alaska and I just said to myself  ‘I’m going’. That was that, off I went.  
Q: Where exactly did you stay in Alaska?  I’m guessing that you didn’t just hang about in an igloo. 
I stayed in a local Eskimo village. There were a few American there, more than I expected to be honest but it was very interesting for me to see how these incredible people live. Eskimos are very self sufficient, they struck me as being happy with what they had. I saw a couple of hunters catch a whale and feed it to the entire village, either way it was a tremendous tribute to my grandma. 
Q: What about your visit to the Masai tribe in Kenya? 
Again I was travelling on my own. I dyed my hair black so as not to cause any unnecessary excitement. I didn’t book a safari until I arrived in the country and booked a tour with a local guide. I ended up with my very own Masai guide and a truck all to myself. I managed to stay with the tribe when I asked the guide where he slept. To which he replied, ‘I walk 14miles across the desert to sleep’. I didn’t want to seem as though I was going to visit the tribe and treat them as a tourist attraction and in the end the guide allowed me to come back and stay with his family. I watched them build their shacks out of cow dung and shave their heads with naked razors. It was an incredible experience. 
Q: When you lived with the Masai tribe in Kenya what did you miss most of all? 
I didn’t miss a thing. Of course you can say ‘Oh I miss my duvet’ or ‘Oh I miss my under floor heating’ but I didn’t expect any of that stuff where I was going. I just wanted to blend in. I found it really eye opening to discover how self sufficient the Masai tribe were. I really wanted to join in the warriors’ hunt for food, but unfortunately they put their foot down on this and wouldn’t let me hold a spear. When you hear of wealthy people shooting animals for fun and compare this to tribesmen hunting to feed their village it makes you question the world around you. 
Q: What are your travel nightmares? 
When I stayed in Majorca with my Mum and cousin we thought we’d booked a pretty nice hotel. It soon turned out that it was infested with cockroaches. It all goes back to what I was talking about previously with what you expect before you travel somewhere. If your expectations are high because you’re told the place is clean and stylish, you expect it not to be infested with bugs. My other travel nightmare would be when I was in a Tunisian airport and had my passport confiscated because the inspectors wanted a bribe.  I waited for nearly half an hour before I had to threaten that I would call the British embassy. I think they read my second name and made assumptions. 
Q: You studied at UCL. Do you have a favourite bar or restaurant in London? 
I love the Notting Hill vibe and like to make it to the Electric Bar (on Portobello Road) with my friends when I can. 
Q: What would you say the most romantic city in the world is? 
Rome without a doubt. I’d also say that Prague is very picturesque, but most importantly it also serves the best hot chocolate! 
Q: What was Wesley Snipes like to work with on Gallowwalker? 
Wesley? He’s very soulful. Very spiritual and also very generous. A great actor to learn from. He deals with his fame in such a humble way, it was something I had to admire.
Q: Ideally, which three actors would you like to work with in the future? 
Do they have to be alive?
Q: Not if you don’t want them to be.
Okay. In that case then I’d choose Marlon Brando, Angelina Jollie and Jack Nicholson.  
Q: You play a rather disturbing character (Kis-Cut) in Gallowwalker. Do you ever find it hard to escape the characters you play?
Not really. The first thing I do after work is take all my clothes off and jump in the shower or meditate. I find if I just take some time out after work it helps me to reprogram my mind. Of course this all depends on the surroundings, but I usually just need a bit of personal space before I’m back to the old-Simona! 
Simona Brhlikova was talking to Seb King 
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