by Jae-Ha Kim and Tribune Content Agency, Celebrity Travel, December 29, 2017
Stuntman, musician, boxer and active supporter of The Red Cross/Impact Anti-Bullying Campaign, Aleks Paunovic's acting resume includes "War For the Planet of the Apes," "Personal Effects" and Syfy's "Van Helsing," where he portrays an aggressive vampire named Julius. The son of a Croatian mother and Serbian father, the 6-foot-5-inch Canadian actor may next be seen in the Keanu Reeves feature, "Siberia," and Liam Neeson's "Hard Powder." Fans may stay in touch with Paunovic via Twitter (https://twitter.com/alekspaun) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/alekspaun).
Q. You filmed "Siberia" in various parts of Canada. Having been raised in Canada, did you see any new parts that you hadn't experienced before?
A. What's interesting is that they shot "Siberia" in my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Instead of sightseeing, I did a lot of friends-seeing and entertaining the cast -- who were not from Winnipeg -- with everything Winnipeg has to offer. I'm a big fan of my hometown! It was truly a gift to be able to shoot in my hometown and to work with someone like Keanu Reeves, who is just an all-around great guy.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Vienna -- the bike lanes are amazing! Rent a bike and explore. You can bike everywhere in Vienna and it's so rich with history, music and the arts. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. Stanley Park in Vancouver. It's one of the biggest parks in Central America. It's absolutely beautiful and filled with beautiful forestry.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. The first trip I took as a child was to the old Yugoslavia -- which is now Croatia -- to visit my grandparents. I absolutely loved it! I've been back a few times over the years and it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. Everyone wants to communicate. Everyone wants to have a conversation and when you allow yourself to start one you learn so much about yourself and where you are.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Whistler is one. I wish I could get there more often! It's just a couple hours outside of the city, and it's an amazing winter getaway in the winter and terrific summer getaway in the summer.
Q. If you've ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. Puerto Vallarta. I love it so much that I decided to buy a condo there.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
Q. What are some of your favorite cities?
A. New York, Los Angeles and Vienna.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. Chicago, because of the influence that the arts and music have on the culture. Obviously, those are areas I'm heavily involved in, so it naturally peaks my interest.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Bali -- because I've had friends who visited there and raved about their experience. My sign is Cancer, so naturally I love being close to the water.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. My Marshall portable speakers, my noise-canceling headphones and my boxing gloves.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. Probably it would be five of my closest guys all going to an exotic location where we can train, drink and be merry. Sounds very bro-mantic, doesn't it?
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. That's a tough one. I love the Artisan Cheese Gallery (http://artisancheesegallery.com/menu/) in Studio City, Calif. There's also a bar in New York City that I love called Jimmy's Corner (https://m.facebook.com/jimmyscornernyc) in Times Square, which has the most amazing boxing memorabilia on their walls. They actually have a bell from the old Madison Square Garden that rang for Muhammad Ali, Joe Lewis and Rocky Marciano. I just had to touch it and have a shot of whiskey.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I don't do any research. I let the city guide me.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. My best vacation memory is probably traveling to Japan with my bromance boys and watching one of our buddies -- Josh Barnett, a UFC heavyweight champion -- compete in an (mixed-martial arts) event. Josh is a massive celebrity there! We went to a bunch of great restaurants and clubs and were treated like rock stars because we were with him.
(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.)
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