Oamaru

Oamaru is a steampunk city in New Zealand’s South Island. I would love to visit this city. Look how awesome it is!

While there, you should definitely check out Steampunk HQ!

This would be a great addition to a Lord of the Rings tour.

If you are interested in booking a trip to New Zealand, you can contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

John Rhys-Davies

John Rhys-Davies was warm and talkative with everyone in line. A real class act!

We had planned on asking him something, and promptly forgot when he noticed Jen was pregnant. He asked if it was our first, and said we were in for a treat. He said his only regret was not having more children. It was hard to concentrate, we were so mesmerized by his voice.

He loved the TARDIS and was impressed that Jen had designed the pattern herself. He told us about one of his first roles in theatre. The director saw him reading a book between rehersals, and got really huffy. Apparently this director thought reading was overly intellectual, and did not like intellectuals. (*eyeroll*) Mr. Rhys-Davies asked one of the actresses to teach him how to crochet, and during that run, he crocheted his son’s first baby blanket!

It was so fantastic to talk with this amazing man!

Johnathon Rhys-Daviessmall

News in Montreal

Montreal (well, an hour outside of Montreal) has a Hobbit House that you can stay at. I read this news last week and promptly got so excited that I almost fell off my chair. (Exaggeration. I sit on a couch.)

House House. Image from entrecimesetracines.com
House House. Image from entrecimesetracines.com

This cute little place means that you can visit Middle-Earth without travelling to New Zealand! However, it is already booked solid until the new year. (Who is surprised? Not me!)

If you are interested in booking this cute little hotel for a short trip within Canada, you can contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

To a Hopeful 2016!

Happy New Years Eve,

It is the last day of 2015 and whether you’ve had a great year, a terrible one, or something betwixt the two; we all feel hope for 2016.

That’s what I wish for all of you, my imaginary friends, a 2016 filled with hope.

There’s nothing more powerful than hope combined with determination. Sometimes it hurts, but when it’s properly fulfilled it’s the greatest feeling.

It’s not easy to be hopeful, it opens you up to the pain of failure, but it makes your world a better place.

Work towards fulfilling your dreams, work towards helping others fulfil theirs. That’s what hope should be. Together we can make this crazy, messed up world a better place.

Borrowed from the New Yorker.
Borrowed from the New Yorker.

There’s a weird psychological effect that happens to people. You’re sitting there in front of your TV and miraculously have a few hours to yourself. You think, “I could watch a movie, but that’s like 2 hours…” Sometimes you watch the movie but many times you decide to watch a few episodes of a TV show. Suddenly you’ve watched 6 hours of shows.

Why does this happen? Two reasons that I can see the first is size. A show is 22 minutes or 42 minutes long. That’s nothing compared to 1.5 hours or 3 for some movies. It’s easier to do something small than commit to something large. The second has to do with familiarity, we probably know about the show and know it’s structure better than a movie.

When I tell you to work towards hope and a hopeful world. I’m not telling you to watch the Extended Edition of Lord of the Rings, I’m asking you to watch a few episodes of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. (Metaphorically… Although it is a great show)

The small gestures of hope, a kind or encouraging word, help immensely. Look for the good and don’t be afraid to feel sadness. It’s only in feeling it that we can get through it.

I’m not curing cancer by writing a fun adventure story, I’m not saving the world by making a pretty book, and I’m certainly not feeding the hungry with this blog, but if I can make one person smile, think, or see that there’s beauty in the world, then I’ve succeeded.

So, my Imaginary Friends, with 2015 at an end, I thank you for the hope you’ve brought into my life.

 

May you have a hopeful 2016,

Éric

New Zealand

Chances are, you’ve seen the beauty of the New Zealand landscape in a movie or TV show.

New Zealand, picture from Discover Down Under. This is my number one place I want to visit. Look at this view! www.discoverdownunder.com
New Zealand, picture from Discover Down Under. This is my number one place I want to visit. Look at this view! www.discoverdownunder.com

A brief selection of movies that were filmed in this picturesque location include The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, King Kong, Bridge to Terabithia, and Avatar. One of my favourite TV shows also comes from this beautiful county: The Almighty Johnsons. If you haven’t already seen it, you DESPERATELY need to. Like, right now. Norse gods in New Zealand? What could be better?

New Zealand recently started their very own Comic Con, with the inaugural event occurring on July 17-19 of this past year. Armageddon Expo is also happening on October 23-26, 2015. They’ve got quite the line-up of guests. Auckland would be an excellent place to visit in October this year!

As a fan, if I were to travel to New Zealand, I would want to see movie sets as well as the scenery. Lord of the Rings/Hobbit sets have been left intact in various locations, and there are a myriad of tours that you can take, some of which can be found here. A tour that I found of particular interest is run by Film Scouts. They are hired by film companies to scout out locations, but they also run a tour company. You’d definitely get some pretty unique experiences with them!

Weta Workshop, New Zealand’s amazing prop and model creators have a 45 minute guided tour through their Cave. I think I would spend the entire time with my jaw on the floor. They amaze me.

You should read Sail Evenstar’s blog about their stay in New Zealand (Part 1, Part 2)! Great stuff, and quite the thorough exploration! (Facebook, website)

New Zealand has a lot to offer and I can’t wait to visit. If you are interested in going, contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca