Go Away With … Idris Elba

Idris%20-%20press%20shot Photo credit = PerouBy Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
December 16, 2014

Idris Elba is famous for his acting. Nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his starring role in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” Elba is also known for playing Russell “Stringer” Bell on HBO’s “The Wire.” He’ll next be seen reprising his role of Heimdall in 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

But it was his role playing Nelson Mandela that spurred him on to record “mi Mandela,” a CD that was inspired by both Mandela and his own late father, Winston Elba.

“Yeah man, if you’ve never been to South Africa, this album gives you a little taste,” says Elba, 42, who goes by Big Driis DJ when he performs live. “It’s a bit of a journey from start to finish. It was a very special project for me and I hope that people enjoy it.”

Fans may listen to some of the music on Elba’s soundcloud page.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I love South Africa. I also love Jamaica. I love swimming. I’d like to try rock climbing. But on vacations, I love to relax. And it’s easy to relax (in both places).

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Definitely Ghana. It’s beautiful and great down there. The people are wonderful and the weather is really lovely.

Q. Did you travel a lot with your parents when you were younger?

A. No man, not really. When I got my passport at around 22 or 23, that’s when I started traveling a bit. But it wasn’t something we did a lot as a family when I was young. Once I got started though, I really enjoyed it and looked forward to visiting more places.

Q. Does your celebrity get you special treatment at airports?

A. (Laughs) No. You pay for upgrades and things to make your flight more comfortable and that’s worth it to me, because I am always late for the airport.

Q. If you had advice for someone going on their first international journey, what would you say?

A. Don’t be late for the airport! (Laugh) It’s really important to give yourself enough time so that you don’t feel rushed. And then just sit back and enjoy it. The world is amazing.

Q. Are you an adventurous eater on the road?

A. Yes, as long as everything is fresh. I love fresh fish that’s really good. In Rwanda, they do this really nice beautiful white fish grilled with onions stuffed inside. The fish was huge and flavorful and delicious. I also loved the seafood in Jamaica, which was very rich. In general, I do like to try food in different countries, whatever their specialties are.

Q. Where have you worked that you enjoyed so much that you think you could live there?

A. I could live in South Africa, for sure. I really liked it there. I think it’s a great place for my career and also a great place to film. The people there are laidback. They do get excited when they see (a celebrity) they like, just like anywhere else, but they’re very respectful.

Q. Besides going sightseeing, what else would you recommend that tourists do in South Africa?

A. I can’t tell people what to do. But I would recommend that they go hear some live music. They have so many talented musicians in South Africa. When we were there making “mi Mandela,” we did that a lot. I can go into just about any club and listen to the music and just enjoy it. I’m pretty open to any kind of music and can enjoy whatever they have to offer.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. That everyone’s culture is different, obviously, but we’re all the same in nature. And, a smile goes a long way, especially when you can’t speak the local language.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. If I have two or three days to myself, I like to go to the countryside. Going to rural France or parts of Italy are really great. I like going to places like that, although I end up wanting to stay much longer than two or three days.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. London and New York, definitely. Paris, for sure. I had a great time in Kingston, Jamaica. Tokyo was really cool. I had some great times there and ate some great meals.

Q. What is on your travel bucket list?

A. Hawaii. I’ve not been there yet.

Q. What do you always bring on your travels?

A. Headphones, laptop and hard drives. My music is on my hard drives. I also like to read.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. All my vacations have been really lovely. And I don’t know that there is a worst. I can say, though, that I travel so much that it seems like every other trip is a bit horrible with some of the things that go wrong. It’s hard for anyone to stand out in that respect. I have had travel nightmares with everything falling apart, but it all gets straightened out and you just go on.

© 2014 JAE-HA KIM


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