Italy has a special place in my heart. Everywhere I went, I was left in awe: the Pantheon that pre-dates Christianity in Rome; the tranquility whilst hiking from Minori to Maori along the "Sentiero dei Limoni" on the Amalfi coast; being struck by the power and beauty of Michelangelo's "David" in Florence. I spent my time there joyfully and quietly, able to tune out the noise of my surroundings, to bask in the history and greatness.
My family moved to Belmont, just outside San Francisco, for two years when my brother and I were in primary school. The endless play-date and dinner party invitations were pretty special and ensured we never got homesick, like the family that had us over for Thanksgiving dinner – a very foreign concept to an Australian family in the '90s. San Francisco is a beautiful, non-judgemental, multicultural city with a history that captured my young imagination.
My husband's family used to own and run an oyster farm in Ceduna South Australia, Denial Bay to be exact. I only got to visit there once, about a year after we started dating, and was instantly struck by the natural beauty of the area. The land was so stark and dry, the ocean so vivid and full of life. Going out on the boat, fishing for Tommy Ruff, standing in waders next to the oyster lease and eating my body weight in fat pacific oysters fresh from the water. At low tide, standing in the sand and pulling razor fish out - they put up a fight once they sense your hands on the shell, you have to be swift, or end up playing the greatest game of tug-of-war. Everything we needed was provided by the sea. It made me even more aware of how precious our coastal areas are, how much we need to look after them.
Sure, it's a cliche, an actor getting excited about New York. But there is so much to see and do there: galleries with some of the greatest modern art, world-class restaurants, parks, plays, and don't even get me started on the shopping. It doesn't necessarily make for a relaxing holiday, but it'll light a match under you like nowhere else. And New Yorkers have a strength of character that inspires you to speak up, or get lost in the crowd.
Zoe Gertz has been working in Australian and international musical theatre for two decades. She is now appearing as Beverley and others in the acclaimed Come From Away, which is playing in Melbourne's Comedy Theatre till February 16. See ComeFromAway.com.au