Ben Mingay is an actor and singer who has had roles in the TV shows Packed to the Rafters, Wonderland and Home and Away, played the role of Billy in the stage version of Dirty Dancing in Australia, the UK and the US, and is now starring in the stage show Shrek The Musical, which opens at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney in early January, with seasons in Melbourne and Brisbane to follow.
NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED
New Zealand, London, Germany, Scotland, Italy, USA, Canada, Bali, Costa Rica, Fiji. I've also been to Nice ... and the Isle of Greece ... but I've never been to me ... with apologies to the opening song of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
MY WORST PASSPORT MISHAP WAS ...
when I first started travelling to London and the US with Dirty Dancing, I would get pulled up every single time. I've been questioned, put in quarantine ... even strip searched. Must have just looked dodgy in my youth.
I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT WHEN I WAS
about 10, so I could get my British citizenship. Thanks Mum.
MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS
I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO
Bretti Reserve, on the Barnard River, near Gloucester in NSW. My sister and her hubby have a farm in Walcha on the Northern Tablelands and the drive through Bucketts Way [the 151-kilometre road that links Gloucester to Taree and Raymond Terrace] is one of my faves. I've been driving that road for over 20 years and every single time I stop for a swim at Bretti Reserve. The clean, fresh mountain water is amazing and, rain, hail or shine, I'll stop for a dip in the river. The last time I drove through I had a few mates with me. We found some old pots and pans on the side of the road, so we bought some snags and a few tinnies of VB on the way, stopped in at Bretti, made a fire, cooked up the bangers, cracked a beer and sat in the river. Living the dream.
MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS
Brisbane for the Brisbane Festival. I performed along with three of my stage friends – Michael Falzon of We Will Rock You, Luke Kennedy who was the runner-up in The Voice Australia 2013, and Matt Lee from So You Think You Can Dance, for a show called Swing On This performing Bris-Vegas style. We did five shows to rave reviews in the Spiegeltent. It was awesome.
MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS
Tasmania, for a wedding.
I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO
Hobart. I love it; its old-world charm gets me every time. I've always been interested in the colonial era because I studied it at school, so this trip will hopefully involve some exploring of new places. The reception is at an apple orchard ... and I love apples, too.
WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS
to finally achieve that perfect balance between what I want to take on a trip ... and what I actually need.
I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE
the world is wonderful. Meeting new people and sampling their way of life really makes me feel alive. I particularly like road tripping a foreign country on a motorbike/scooter.
MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS
Life's too short and you can always make more money. Live the dream.
THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS
overpacking! It is a disease.
THE ONE THING I REALLY DO GET RIGHT WHEN I TRAVEL IS
picking good routes and booking great hotels last minute.
IF I HAD TO SIT IN THE MIDDLE SEAT THE OTHER PASSENGERS I'D WANT ON EITHER SIDE OF ME WOULD BE
[Hollywood actors] Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks. Then I'd truly be sorted in an emergency.
THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS
[US actor and TV personality, who often hosts dining shows] Adam Richman. Never fails to impress me and make me hungry. He is also a top bloke and loves footy.
THE ONE FAMOUS PERSON I'D LIKE TO TRAVEL WITH IS
[British comedian, actor and creator of the TV comedy The Office] Ricky Gervais. It would be an absolute riot. He loves dogs, loves a laugh and loves a pint.
AIRLINE FOOD IS
better in Business Class.
AIRPORT SECURITY IS
not fun when you forget you have a Bear Grylls Survival Knife in your carry on.
HOTELS ARE …
Awesome. I never have a bad experience in a hotel – even when the room is crappy and you find more than one curly hair in the bed. It's always an experience.
I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO
Ireland. My Mum was born there and I love Irish music.
I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO
Papua New Guinea. I just never felt like I should go there. Then I did go there for a gig, and I got dengue fever.
AISLE OR WINDOW?
Aisle. Because I've been trapped in a window seat by two sleeping fat dudes on a 15-hour flight to LA ... and that can never happen again.