Bread-smuggling and Sushi Faux Pas with Teresa Palmer

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May 22, 2017

by JESSICA IRVINE, Associate Editor

Teresa Palmer is guilty of smuggling bread into a fruit-only retreat and giving her toddler nonstop screen time... When the Aussie actress travels, she does it her way.

Where are you right now? 

I’m in the Adelaide Hills. I’ve just bought a property here. It’s beautiful – I love the area. 

Los Angeles, where you’re usually based, is very different to Adelaide...

One hundred per cent. LA is such a creative city. There are so many opportunities and there’s a real vibrancy to it, which I love and crave. But at the same time, I find it hard to slow down. There’s a lot of self-imposed busyness: you go from one thing to the next. And there are so many activities for children. Bodhi [Palmer’s three-year-old son] is doing swimming, soccer and breakdancing on top of preschool and play dates. Adelaide is just so beautifully simple. I can calm my mind; I feel it’s very meditative and tranquil.

You travel a lot for work. What do you do when you first arrive in a city?

Our family has such a gypsy lifestyle that we need to make each place feel like home. That means bringing toys with us and cooking. We usually buy incense and candles from local stores; Mark [Webber, Palmer’s actor-director husband] likes to buy a humidifier. Then I’ll find organic, vegetarian and vegan restaurants as well as yoga studios and a great gym. We’ll look for local things for the kids to do [their second son, Forest, was born in December] and immerse ourselves in the culture.

What do you like to find in a hotel minibar?

My husband and I don’t drink. I feel like I’m going to be breastfeeding for the next 10 years because I want so many more children and I never stopped breastfeeding Bodhi before I started with the next one so I just don’t drink alcohol. But I love having my sugar fix so chocolate almonds would be a plus. Or kombucha and coconut water.

Which destination was a surprise to you?

Costa Rica. We went on a fruitarian retreat [laughs] so we just ate fruit. We loved the luscious greenery of Costa Rica, the people, the aromas and being able to hike and jump off waterfalls into these natural pools. It was very adventurous. But I got sick of the fruit after about three days. You go to the local market as part of the retreat and you’re not allowed to buy anything but fruit. My mum and I bought bread and we ran back to the retreat while everyone was still at the market and ate the entire loaf. 

Is there anywhere you’d like to go with your children?

As a family, we want to go to Jamaica. We’re interested in the music, the vibe and the weather. I like the way people describe how the sun feels on their skin.

Some parents are reluctant to fly long-haul with babies and toddlers. But you often do. What are your strategies?

For ages two and over: TV. Bodhi doesn’t watch TV in his everyday life so for him, a flight is so exciting because he gets to watch movies and it’s a free-for-all. And with the baby: breastfeeding. We try to keep a normal routine. I put him in a swaddle, breastfeed him and he feels like he’s having a normal night-time sleep. If they get fussy, I take them for a walk up and down the aisle. We always fly Economy.

What’s the greatest road trip you’ve done?

I’ve driven the Great Ocean Road about three times. I love seeing the ocean crashing against the rocks. I took Mark the first time he came to Australia and he fell in love with it. We also have a big road trip from California to Austin, Texas, where Mark’s film [Flesh and Blood] is premiering. I’ve started making my playlist. We’ll stop at motels and see how we go with the baby.

What’s the worst place you’ve been lost?

I once got lost hiking up to a waterfall with a friend in Hawaii and it was kind of horrifying. We never found the waterfall and then the sun went down and we had to figure out how to get back to our car, which we eventually did using our phones’ flashlights. It was so scary.

Which destinations do you keep returning to?

We go back to Paris a lot. It was one of the cities where Mark and I fell in love; we went there at the very beginning of our relationship. We want to go back to Berlin [where the family lived while Palmer filmed Berlin Syndrome]. It’s such a family-friendly city and the real estate is really cheap so we’ve toyed with the idea of buying a place and Airbnb-ing it out.

What is your most memorable dining experience?

Do you know the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi? It’s about this man, Jiro [Ono], who has a famous sushi restaurant in Japan but it’s very hard to get a seat. I was there about four years ago with my mum and was like, “How can we get in?” We didn’t get in but we went to Jiro’s son’s restaurant [Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo]. Mum doesn’t know how to use chopsticks and it was very formal. Everything has to be done the right way, no-one speaks English and you’re not allowed to choose the dishes you want – you’re just fed until you’re full. We got a piece of very expensive fish: each sliver was worth $150. I could tell it was the Holy Grail of what they were giving us. My mum tried picking it up with chopsticks and flung it across the room and onto the floor. They were mortified.

What’s your No. 1 travel annoyance? 

I hate the inconsiderate plane farter. That’s always a buzzkill [laughs].

If you could be anywhere else in the world right now, where would you be? 

The Maldives. Friends say it’s heaven on Earth. It sounds dreamy and relaxing. 

SEE ALSO: Travelling with Claudia Karvan