Maggie Grace filmed her thriller Taken, which recently opened number one at the box office, in Paris, and her next movie, Malice in Wonderland, in various parts of England. The former cast member of Lost shares her travel highlights and tips.
Q: Where have you been recently that you liked or were surprised by?
A: I recently did a TOMS shoe drop (a giveaway program for needy children) in the Misiones province in Argentina. The kids were so excited to get a new pair of shoes. It was also inspiring motivation to study Spanish, because you so want to have longer conversations with the kids, who are just amazing.
Q: What's the best place you've ever visited and why?
A: One of my first times away on location was in New Zealand. Maybe it was the heady combination of feeling like I'd "made it" with a nice role in something, or being so far from home on my own at a young age, but that country just knocked my socks off. The black sand beaches, the wonderful sheep to people ratio — 3 to 1, was it? — the pervasive sort of innocence and openness of a place that has so little crime, where you actually greet strangers on the street, I was so taken by all of it.
Q: What's the most surprising/unexpected place you're ever visited and why?
A: I spent much of January in Chilean Patagonia; I had no idea what to expect. I probably saw about six completely different terrains, all just stunning. The area I first visited had sadly been ravaged by fire for basically all of the 60's, so when I first got an eyeful of the virgin jungle farther north, I was utterly mesmerized. I was a canoeing-kayaking-hiking-bouldering-camping-fly fishing fool for the rest of the trip, but in the back of my mind there was this surreal feeling. The place is so Tolkien-esque, with these big foreboding mountains and hanging glaciers watching over everything.
I visited the Lago General Carrera, the biggest lake in Chile. I think the coloring is related to how much limestone is in the lakebed, but somehow, it is neon blue. It looks like one of those old Technicolor photographs. You're just blinking at it thinking, "Surely this isn't real." The area is extremely remote. Driving the Carretera Austral is basically like off-roading. And you won't see any sort of crossroads or village for several hours. It's not an easy or quick trip, but you feel like you're a world away.
Q: What's your favorite vacation spot and why?
A: For pure R&R, I still like to head back to Oahu, to visit my old cast mates from Lost and go kayaking. Mostly I like to explore places I've never been before. High on my wish list now are Vienna, Thailand and Tallinn, Estonia.
Q: Can you offer an insider tip or recommendation for your favorite vacation place?
A: I am a devoted fan of bed and breakfasts, especially when doing wine country or Europe. You get such an intimate experience that usually reflects more of a sense of place than a hotel that strives to be consistent all over the globe. I love Karen Brown's Bed and Breakfast guides. My first was a gift from my father, the B&B expert. I've done a couple trips on her recommendations.