Up-and-coming actress Romola Garai hit on a novel way of deciding which career path she should take - she went travelling on her own.

The English I CAPTURE THE CASTLE beauty, 20, admits she was unsure about whether to persevere with acting when the roles dried up early on.

But with a little patience - and a break in Italy - she came through the tough times.

She says, "I didn't work for several months. It kind of drove me mad for a while.

"I went to Tuscany on my own and plodded around with a rucksack. I flew to Florence and then toured. I had never travelled on my own before.

"I got followed home once, and that was kind of scary, but other than that I spent the time walking, eating and reading on my own. It gave me a chance to think and consider what I wanted. I decided to hang in there and hope."

27/05/2003 02:11