“I moved to Los Angeles in late 2018,” said Lexie Duncan, who is one of the stars of the NBC series, “Young Rock.” “However, when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, I returned to the safety of mom and dad’s home (in Sydney, Australia). I plan to return to L.A. as soon as possible.” Duncan said Sydney is one of her favorite places. “It is very safe,” she said. “That is one thing that I probably took for granted. Sydney has a very outdoor climate and doesn’t get cold enough to snow here. It’s absolutely beautiful.”
Q: Tell me what it was like growing up in Sydney.
A: (Sydney has) spectacular mountains, impressive vineyards and glorious beaches. It doesn’t feel like a crowded city. The beautiful harbor makes the city feel open and you don’t need to travel far at all to experience peace and tranquility. My parents live close to the city, so one of my favorite things to do is walk across the Harbour Bridge in the morning with my little dog, Poppins, and get coffee or breakfast in the city. There are incredible cafes and restaurants on the waterfront near the Sydney Opera House. The Aussie brekkie is the best. My favorite is scrambled eggs with tomato and avocado on toast, topped with chili flakes and feta. Perfection!
Q: Was it difficult to get used to the United States after growing up in Australia?
A: My mother is American and although her career took her to Australia in her early 20s, all her family still lives in the United States. So, I have been traveling to the U.S. to visit my American relatives since I was very young. I can definitely point out some of the differences! In Australia we drive on the right side of the road. Now that took some getting used to when I moved to L.A. I used public transport and Ubers for the first year, because everyone drives very fast on Los Angeles highways, faster than I’m used to in Sydney! Skiing in America is incredible. The U.S. is the clear winner on that one. The U.S. is the country that never sleeps. I definitely noticed and enjoyed the convenience of many stores being open 24/7. Lastly, the United States offers so much variety in everything. I remember being stunned in the grocery store aisle, staring at all the different cereal brands you have. Everything from the fast-food chains to all the clothing brands – I love the variety you get with a large population like the U.S.
Q: How did Australia handle the pandemic?
A: Australia had state border closures. This was an incentive for people to discover their own state – in my case New South Wales. I went on an incredible road trip up the coast from Sydney to Byron Bay with one of my best friends. It was my first road trip that was longer than a day to get to the final destination. It exceeded my expectations. I actually really enjoyed being in the car, getting fast food on the road, blasting good tunes and singing with my friend. Byron Bay is stunning! Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and the area had a really specific trendy personality. It was really cool to see places that I probably would’ve never ventured to if not for the pandemic. Australia has so many beautiful areas that I think some places are easily forgotten in smaller towns. These trips were highlights of 2020.
Q: What kind of safety measures do you have to take to film?
A: I recently lived in Brisbane, Queensland, while filming “Young Rock.” The pandemic state border closures required the cast and crew entering Queensland to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days. Obviously, I am grateful to be in a country that handled the pandemic so well, but I am looking forward to when freedom returns so that the quarantine is no longer a requirement. It was a test of enjoying your own company!
Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?
A: New York City. I feel like it’s my home away from home. I come from a musical theater background, which is how I initially got into acting professionally, so I love Broadway! Live theater is already so special, but there is nothing like a Broadway show. I make it my mission to see as many shows as I can. It’s almost a competitive game in my family of who can find the cheapest tickets.
Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A: Bora Bora! I’ve seen so many amazing pictures on social media and since I love to swim and be out in the sun, I think I would absolutely love it. My parents had the opportunity to go to the Maldives and still rave about that trip. So, Bora Bora and the Maldives are on my bucket list.
(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.)