My Back Garden Does Look Like it Belongs to Bilbo

If The Lord of the Rings had you yearning for New Zealand, or Julia Roberts on a bike made you fall in love with Bali, you’re not alone. But did you grab your passport and start packing? The Guardian’s Kitty Drake introduces you to the people who did.

“I grew up in Manchester in the 80s – but in my head I lived in a hobbit hole in the Shire,” Jason tells the publication. “I was in my early 30s when Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings came out … I was binge-watching the DVDs with my wife, Sarah, when it hit me: Middle-earth does exist, and I don’t need a portal. I can fly there in 23 hours. I turned to Sarah and said, ‘Shall we move to New Zealand?’ Six months later we were in Auckland.

“My back garden does look as if it belongs to Bilbo Baggins,” he says. “There are rolling hills, everything is lush and verdant, and all you can hear is birdsong.”

Original article by Kitty Drake, The Guardian, December 2, 2023.

Photo by Jessie Casson.

Tags: emigration  Guardian (The)  The Lord of the Rings  

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