Before moving to London at the age of 22, Sam Heughan studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The Scottish actor has returned to his roots to portray Jamie Fraser on the hit Starz series, "Outlander," which is filmed in Scotland. Based out of Glasgow, the 37-year-old philanthropist also is the founder of My Peak Challenge (https://www.mpc2017.com), a charitable foundation that advocates for a healthy lifestyle. Fans may follow him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/samheughan) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SamHeughan).
Q. If you've ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. I went to Thailand a couple of years ago, over Christmas and New Year. I trained Muay Thai twice a day for four hours. The rest of the time I relaxed on the beach or island hopped. Their New Year's fireworks are amazing -- and terrifying!
Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?
A. I draw on my Scottish roots and the scenery and culture every day on "Outlander." I hope my next project will use the location and imagination just as much.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Isle of Skye in Scotland. (It's) beautiful and peaceful. I would say take a ferry. See the island from the sea -- the wildlife, eagles, dolphins and whales and the jagged peaks of the mountains in the distance.
Q. What's the best meal you had during your travels?
A. I went to the oldest ramen bar in Kyoto, Japan. (There were) huge bowls of delicious bone broth, noodles, pickles and cold beer. I finished a bowl and ordered another immediately.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Europe -- Amsterdam and Paris.
Q. What would you recommend that people do in Amsterdam?
A. Wander the streets of Amsterdam, stay in a canal houseboat, cycle a bicycle, eat great food, tasty beer, excellent clothes shops, museums and enjoy the people. The Dutch are fun and crazy!
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. I once spent a week sleeping outdoors with gauchos -- cowboys in the Andes. It was remote and magnificent.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. First time abroad was as a teenager to Eastern Europe. (It was) a rather scary train ride to St. Petersburg (Russia). At that time, it felt very different to the United Kingdom -- like going back in time. Crossing the border felt like being in a James Bond movie.
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. Don't worry. You're never alone.
Q. What is your best vacation memory?
A. I climbed the second-highest peak -- the Petit Piton -- in Saint Lucia. I didn't stop and went as fast as possible in high humidity. It was an amazing view and remarkable climb. That afternoon on the beach, I celebrated with too many rum cocktails. The dehydration and sun made me never want to drink rum again, or climb a peak -- at least for a day or so.
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. If it's the right company, anywhere.
Q. What are your favorite kinds of hotels?
A. Anywhere homey and low key. I had an amazing hotel in Zermatt (Switzerland) with a wood fire and big blankets looking out at the Matterhorn. Perfect ski location.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. In no order, Cape Town, New York, Santa Monica, Montreal and Amsterdam, (which) is so great!)
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Canada feels familiar, like Scotland, but much bigger.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Boringly, I always take my running shoes, a foam roller for muscle release and healthy snacks. And water, because there's never enough water on planes.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. Everest, but I feel it's become a little touristy and not respectful.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. I spend a lot of time on planes. They are where I catch up on sleep and movies I've missed.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I usually look online or ask friends for recommendations. But the best way to know a city is to strap on your running shoes, go out and get lost. You'll eventually learn the city, one way or another!
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)(c) 2017 DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.