Image: Jane Seymour
Rene Macura  /  AP
Jane Seymour, known for her acting and dancing prowess, is also a world traveler. “Nature is what does it for me, not high-rises, spas and fancy restaurants,” she says.
Special to
updated 1/9/2008 11:10:56 AM ET 2008-01-09T16:10:56

Jane Seymour is not only known to TV and movie viewers as “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” an elegant recent contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” and “Kitty Cat,” the boozy wife of a politician who tries to seduce Owen Wilson in “Wedding Crashers.” She’s also a wife and a mom, an accomplished painter, fly fisherman and golfer and a possessor of priceless rock n’ roll street cred because her English castle of a home — St. Catherine’s Court — hosted the recording of Radiohead’s critically acclaimed album, “OK Computer.” In addition to all this, she’s not surprisingly a seasoned world traveler. We got her on the phone recently to talk about where she’s been.

Q: What’s the most memorable trip you’ve taken, and why was it so unforgettable?

A: I would say it’s a toss-up between Africa and Tahiti. I went to Africa with the American Red Cross and I saw people with no water, no food, no sewage — just absolute abject, horrendous poverty to a degree that it’s incomprehensible that they exist. But I also saw the most magical things in the continent (including) the Ngorongoro Crater and the Masai Mara. We took a safari there that was extraordinary, especially because we were staying out in tents and being guarded by the Masai guys. I mean, you were taking a hot shower under the stars in a tent! And Tahiti is just so beautiful and Bora Bora, too, just amazing. You walk into the water and you’re in an aquarium at SeaWorld. It’s so beautiful and relaxing, the food is great and the people are beautiful. I don’t care for huge eels, though. I jump out of the water for those.

Q: So what do you like to do when you’re away?

A: Well, I don’t like to just lie down in the sand and just put the sunscreen on and vegetate with an umbrella. That’s not my idea of vacation. It’s got to be active. We go skiing, we fly fish and we play golf. I love the mountains, I love the ocean. I’ll go anywhere that has water.

Q: So you’ll go to Detroit? It has water.

A: Hey, I like Detroit (laughs). Mackinac Island is in Michigan and it’s beautiful!

Q: Any other secret places we should know about?

A: Nova Scotia is one of those secret hidden gems, and I’m told that Newfoundland is even more secret. I love fly fishing in Alaska. There’s a place called Kulik Lodge. It’s literally in the wild, with bears and salmon. I took my kids fishing for trout there.

Q: Did you see any bears up close?

A: Oh yes. A bit too close. We were fishing one day, and they say when you’re fly-fishing that if you see a bear, you need to stop, face it, back up and don’t run. And you should be saying, “Hey bear, hey bear,” the whole time. So of course I have a fish on my line and all of a sudden everyone says, “Turn around,” and then, “Hey bear, hey bear.” I had to lose the fish.

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Q: Better than losing something else, right?

A: Definitely. I met a bear specialist up there once, a guy who lectures about bears. And I’ve heard since that he was attacked and killed by one of those bears. I guess he really felt he was at one with the bears.

Q: Sounds horrifying. Any other scary travel stories?

A: Almost too many to tell you. On our last day on safari, a lion made a kill literally right outside our camp. I think it was a gazelle, and it was right while we were having a wonderful barbecue. But as wonderful as it is, the safari didn’t stop just because we were having dinner. Another time, I was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and thought it would be really nice to go for a swim. Well, I was attacked by a jellyfish and had to get peed on. That was embarrassing.

Q: Wow.

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A: No kidding. Then, to top it off, we go on a horseback ride, and I’m a little nervous to begin with. I tell them I want a quiet horse, but they give me one that ends up being pregnant. A 10-year-old kid is leading the trip, and I’m in a tank top with no bra. So of course our horses go completely out of control, and my top went. So here I am, absolutely naked on top, the 10-year-old sees it and I’m sure he’s thinking, “These white folk,” and I guess he figures maybe he should leave, and he does, leaving our horses completely out of control! The ride ultimately ended with me clutching for dear life, screaming near the ocean, and I had no idea where we were in relation to where we were staying. Fortunately the horses ultimately got hungry enough to head back. Needless to say, I don’t think we’ll be going back to Cabo anytime soon.

Q:OK, so what’s your next trip?

A: I’m looking forward to going somewhere with my kids, and I promised them that our next trip will go to the Galapagos Islands. I’d like to go down the Nile and visit Macchu Picchu, too. As you can tell, there’s usually a theme with my travel: get back to the origins of man and nature and to everything that’s not man-made in the world, everything that’s been created by whoever created it all. Nature is what does it for me, not high-rises, spas and fancy restaurants.

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