Johannesburg – Contiki knows that their travellers are the world’s best storytellers, and now the leading travel brand for 18-35’s has enlisted the talent of famed British actress Natalie Dormer to turn one incredible story into a film epic.Contiki, who has been showing young travellers the time of their lives in over 50 destinations since 1962, recently launched the #ContikiLegends project , gathering real traveller stories dating back to the brand’s launch 52 years ago. Incredible tales of adventure, hilarity, friendship and love rushed in, several of which were given a creative treatment by artists around the world, plus one standout story that was gifted the Hollywood treatment by Natalie Dormer.Known for her integral roles in HBO’s Game of Thrones, The Tudors and the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay film, Natalie Dormer is quickly becoming a household name amongst Contiki’s 18-35 demographic. As the face of the #ContikiLegends campaign, Natalie got behind the camera once again to retell an incredible story of a young blind woman who leads her fellow travellers through the cobblestoned streets of Rome, finding their way back to the hotel simply by using her other senses. The story represents what Contiki is all about – connecting young people through shared adventures, challenging the ordinary and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone to make every moment count.Natalie dishes about travelling in this Q&AQ: What sort of traveller are you? What are your favourite types of holidays?A: I love all sorts. I love walking holidays and skiing with friends, but in recent years I've been so busy with work that I’m only able to go on holiday once a year. Lately it’s tended to be somewhere hot to unwind on a beach and scuba dive.
Because of my job I get a lot of opportunity to grab a few days here and there in many cool cities for press commitments, magazine shoots and premieres —Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Paris, Stockholm, New York, Berlin. I always try to get to a gallery or museum if there's time.
Q: What’s been your most memorable life experience? A: Travelling down the western coast of India. We travelled down from Mumbai and into Goa and then much further down into Kerala. I loved Kerala – fresh coconut juice every day! The train system in India is chaotic and fun – it's the best way to see the landscape. Being in with all the families and also being the odd animal is a colourful experience you’ll never forget. I would love to go to the Himalayas and cross over into Nepal to do the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Q: Tell us about your partnership with Contiki - what attracted you to this project and why did you want to work with a youth travel brand? Now that you're here are you enjoying playing the role of a Contiki legend and giving it the Hollywood treatment?A: Travel is so important in its capacity to expand the mind. It’s exciting to start as young as possible – you get to see how other cultures live, challenge your senses and try different cuisines. Travel also shows you the diverse wildlife we share this planet with and gives you perspective on just how huge the Earth is. It was great to meet the Contiki group, all enjoying themselves SO much. My first time to Rome was when I was backpacking with my best friend around Europe for a month at 18 years old, so I remember that excitement of being away from home properly for the first time. I could have done with a Contiki Trip Manager though!
Q: You're from the UK. Can you recommend your favourite places in London for our Contiki travellers: i.e. restaurants, bars, shops, galleries – hotspots and highlights in your opinion?A: I love the South Bank – there is always something going on down by the river there. Its home to some of our greatest cultural institutions like the National Theatre, the Hayward Gallery, the British Film Institute, the Royal Festival Hall. There’s also the famous outdoor book stall and the skate park with its funky graffiti and groups of young skaters. You can check out the food market down there, hit up great bars and restaurants and visit the Christmas market in December. Plus, you get incredible views of The Thames, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and central London. You can just stroll along and take in the view. Q: What is one thing you cannot leave home without and why when you travel?A: There are two things. First of all, my yoga mat comes everywhere. Keeps me stretched out after sitting still on all those planes, trains and road journeys. You need a great hat too. If it's hot it'll keep the sun off your face, if it's cold it will keep the heat in, if you need to sleep you pull it down over your eyes and if your hair is starting to get a bit greasy from all the travelling, it hides it when you're in desperate need of a shower!
Q: What’s the most amazing shoot location you’ve been on for Game of Thrones?A: The most amazing set where I’ve shot Game of Thrones is definitely Croatia, in Dubrovnik. It’s such a stunning country with lots of good watersports there as well. Just a beautiful, beautiful place.
Natalie also asked Contiki a cute question of her own…
Has Contiki considered running trips around Westeros? I really think they should consider it.
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