■ The former Misfits star talks about road tripping in the Rockies, catching the acting bug in Japan and eating the best fried chicken in New York
What is your favourite on-the-road moment?
My boyfriend and I recently explored the Canadian Rockies on a road trip from Banff to Jasper called the Icefield Parkways. The route’s been named one of the top ten road trips in the world and it definitely deserves that ranking — it was jaw-droppingly beautiful. You drive up into the mountains surrounded on either side by the most amazing scenery: bright turquoise glacier lakes and towering mountain ranges. We were even extremely lucky to spot several grizzly bears feeding on berries on the side of the road.
What’s your favourite city?
I have two: New York and Vancouver. Vancouver in the summertime is a beautiful place to be as it’s surrounded by mountains and sea, so there are endless outdoorsy things to do, such as cycling around Stanley Park, hiking up Grouse Mountain and kayaking in Deep Cove. Once autumn hits, the weather turns and Vancouver doesn’t have much of a cultural scene to retreat to, which is where New York steals my heart.
I love Red Rooster, an amazing soul food restaurant in Harlem that often has a live blues band playing. The atmosphere is incredible and so is the fried chicken (mains about £24, redroosterharlem.com). Before dinner, a sundowner at The Standard High Line hotel in the Meatpacking District is a must. It has an incredibly beautiful art deco hotel bar with the most extraordinary views across the city (cocktails £11, standardhotels.com).
What has been your most life-changing experience while travelling?
When I was 13, I joined the National Youth Music Theatre and got to tour Japan with the musical Pendragon. We took the tour to Fukushima and performed at an outdoor theatre surrounded by emerald-green countryside. We also went to Tokyo, which blew my mind with its buzzing atmosphere and bizarre vending machines selling absolutely anything.
I remember instantly finding the country incredible as it was so different to home and utterly beautiful but it was stepping out on stage there that really gave me the performance bug. The Japanese audiences were so responsive and generous in their praise that the tour solidified my dream to pursue acting.
When have you been most frightened while travelling?
In Cairo a few years ago with a group of friends. We thought we’d avoided the scammers but somehow, thinking we were being taken to a taxi office, we ended up following a man down a series of dark alleys. Realising something wasn’t right and that we were in quite a non-touristy area all of a sudden, we made our excuses and ran back the way we’d come. It might have been fine but we were definitely feeling uncomfortable.
What’s the best souvenir you’ve come home with?
I like checking out vintage shops, as the type of clothing you come across from country to country is so different. My favourite find was a beautiful pair of brown leather boots in Rome six years ago. I’ve never stopped wearing them and keep having to get them re-heeled.
What’s the worst meal you’ve had abroad?
I went to Bruges and totally missed the advice not to eat in the tourist-trap restaurants in Market Square. I chose a restaurant and ordered a burger but was presented with a bun-less patty, a miserable piece of lettuce and a bill for £35. I wasn’t impressed.
And the best place you’ve spent the night?
In a beach cabana right on the sea at the Nomade hotel in Tulum, Mexico. There’s nothing better than waking up and stepping straight out on to the beach for a morning swim, and falling asleep to the sound of the waves (cabanas from about £192, nomadetulum.com).
Where are you going next?
Kerala. A friend of mine is getting married there and I cannot wait. India has always been top of my list, and I am so excited to soak up the culture and eat all the delicious food.
■ Thomas stars in The Good Doctor on Tuesdays at 9pm on Sky Witness and NOW TV