The five places that made me: Pip Edwards, actor


My older brother lived in Japan for nearly 15 years. Visiting him in my early 20s, he showed me his life and love for the country, and I learnt why he chose Japan as his home. Japan has a unique ability to be vibrant and intense, while maintaining a core of gentleness and humility. My time in Japan allowed me to bond with my older brother as an adult. Getting lost in a new city is one of the great joys of travelling, and feeling lost in places like Harajuku and Shibuya filled me with excitement and awe. Tokyo struck me as a monument to human capacity – a celebration of both the individual and the collective.


At 19 I saved my coffee-making cash and embarked on my first ever trip overseas. South-east Asia was both an exciting destination and a place I could afford. Of all places, my time in Cambodia had a significant impact on my entire outlook on life. Its turbulent history and the horrors of the Khmer Rouge are so frighteningly recent, and the residue still evident. Yet there is such strength and resilience in the Khmer people. Fresh out of high school, my time there helped me do some "growing up", showing me the power of gratitude, love and the value of community.


The Daintree is a place of sublime natural beauty. Spending time there gave me an understanding of the enchanting power of the natural world. A very spiritual place, my time in the ancient rainforest taught me the value of stillness, self-reflection and rejuvenation.


I adore the buzz of LA. People either love or loathe it, though my feeling is that it's a "choose-your-own-adventure" city. I love LA's hunger, warmth, reverence for the film industry, its dreams, its Mexican food – and its yoga. I've done the "Aussie actor living in LA" thing, and I'd do it again in an instant.


We went "up to the caravan" every school holidays, and on the weekends when basketball training was cancelled. I have great memories of long summers spent having barbecues, fluorescent zinc on our noses, bitten by mozzies, waking on hot mornings to the sound of sulphur crested cockatoos, walking 15 minutes to the toilet block, wishing the water level in the lake was high enough to put the boat in and go water skiing, but at best only ending up with a muddy paddle. I often fantasise about spending one more summer there, though I'm afraid it won't be as I remember it. I think I'd rather leave it as a dream.

Pip Edwards is appearing in Melbourne Theatre Company's production of Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party at Southbank Theatre March 17-April 21. See