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Five Miles Up: Actor Billy Campbell goes cathedral climbing

Bekah Wright
Compass
7 January 2014
five miles up
(Photo: Courtesy of NBC Universal and Sony Pictures Television)

When the series “Helix” premieres on SyFy this Friday, Billy Campbell takes on a deadly virus outbreak as Dr. Alan Farragut, a pathologist with the Centers of Disease Control. If anyone can save the world, Campbell can. After all, the actor frequents Danger Island and breakfasts on Bacillus subtilis. Now if he’d just stop scaling the Notre Dame…

What’s something you never fail to pack in your suitcase?
Books, Birkenstocks, and the most versatile article of clothing ever invented: a sarong.

Carry-on or check-in?
Carry-on!

Window or aisle?
Aisle. Rather get up to let my seatmate out, than otherwise.

What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
Sailing the Barque Picton Castle onto her anchorage at Pitcairn Island, South Pacific. Or Danger Island (yes, it exists). Or Mangareva. Or Vanuatu. Or...

Tell us about a vacation you’ve taken that’s come close thus far.
See above.

What’s the worst travel annoyance you’ve experienced?
Nothing much annoys me, but I did fly to the wrong side of Norway once. Met some lovely people quite by accident.

Where’s your favorite destination for filming on location?
As of this week, Montreal. Love that city!

What's the most unusual souvenir you’ve ever brought back from a trip?
Climbed up the outside of Notre Dame with some crazy Parisians one night. Kept a small souvenir – a piece of the structure that had already broken off.

Ever try a food you wished you hadn't?
Nattō, a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis. Basically rotten, but popular, oddly enough, as a breakfast food in Japan. Powerful smell, strong flavor, slimy texture. Actually I now quite like it. Just not for breakfast.

Favorite accommodations?
Easy: as above, the Barque Picton Castle. Sailed around the world most of twice with her. Adventure of a lifetime.

Favorite restaurant you’ve discovered while traveling.
Impossible to pick, but most recently, Dominion Square Tavern and L'Orignal; both in Montreal.

Biggest regret you've ever had while on vacation.
Didn't get up to Scotland while I was close enough to do so. And I'm a Campbell. Shameful.

The one thing you're willing to splurge on when traveling above all else.
Wine, women and song. (I consider these to be one thing.)

Three songs on your travel playlist?
Mike Sheridan, a genius, Danish kid. His album “I Syv Sind,” which he made when he was 14, has topped my list for years. My favorite three songs are all on this album.

Where would you take someone visiting your hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia for the first time?
To Mr. Jefferson's hilltop home, Monticello, then to his winery to drink of grape grown in the very dirt he trod.

You only get one more trip in your lifetime. Where will it be?
Home to old Virginia.

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