So where to begin? How can you begin asking someone who you might not even know to possibly give you a spare buck here or there to help your dream become a reality?
I was worried about losing friends and followers. I've never even had any fundraiser applied to my name before. I was taught to always try to work hard for something. But this is something that we can't seem to do by ourselves, no matter how hard we try. It's something I've pondered over, debated against and had fit-filled dreams about. But here I am, throwing caution to the wind.
My name is Nadine and I run the Jack-of-All-Creative Trades freelance "company" entitled 'Celtic Ruins Designs
'. It's not much, but it's something I can claim my own. I make costumes, jewelry, graphic art and more. I've had it for nearly 10 years now and I hope to one day make a name for myself. But, moving on...I share the costuming part with my other, better half; Chris.
Some of you know the story, others do not. Our story has been featured on CNN and in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, amoung a few other sites out there. But for clarity's sake, I'm more than happy to tell it again:
2001 started a new life for me, in more ways than one. A little old movie entitled 'Fellowship of the Ring' debuted, and though I had run into Tolkien's works through my childhood, I was never able to fully set myself down and divulge into the world. This movie allowed me to divulge over and over again. It opened my eyes to a world and a writer that changed my life, forever. I was in my last year in highschool at the time, and I was trying to figure out who I was, like we all do during that time. Tolkien and Peter Jackson's vision of his world helped me through this difficult time. They brought my new and dear friendships. Tolkien brought love back into my life, and in 2004 I found a love I could keep all to myself. Chris and I attended a convention by the name of Dragon*con that year. We met through a LotR group called 'Arms of Middle Earth'. He was dressed as Legolas, I as Arwen. We had met briefly through out the convention, but on the last night of the con we finally were able to formally introduce ourselves. I left the following day not knowing if I'd ever hear back from him again or if I even had a shot. The next day, he was the first person to contact me out of all the friends I had made that weekend. After that, we didn't go a day without speaking online or on the phone. In 2006, I moved from San Antonio, TX to Augusta, GA, where he lived.
Tolkien and Jackson's movies helped bring us together. Other fandoms have come into our lives since then, but they never stuck. They never brought the joy, the hope, the friendship and the love we gained from these stories. Chris, himself, vowed to keep these stories alive in younger minds, by becoming a literature teacher. He now teaches 'The Hobbit' every year to 8th graders. Each of them growing a new found respect for Professor Tolkien, and his beautiful stories. No matter where we go, these stories are never behind. We have made deep connections with each other and others due to these the professor's stories. The movies helped strengthen that bond even further.
A long time ago I vowed to try to make it to New Zealand before I turned 30. I'm turning 29 this year and neither of us have been able to go. We kept spending any money we had to going to Dragon*con ever year, as that is where we met. Unfortunately the convention is not what it used to be. The place we met no longer feels the same, and we're growing up. It's not a fulfilling trip up to Atlanta anymore. Our eyes shine on a bigger, better frontier; our hearts yearn for adventure.
Money has never come easily for either of us. We know we can't accomplish our dream by ourselves.
Since moving here Chris and I haven't seemed to catch a break in life. 2 years after we moved into our first apartment together, we both lost our jobs. Chris was able to semi-get on his feet again, while I've only had a small amount of luck with my freelancing. Since meeting, we vowed to save up for a trip to NZ. A much like Samwise, it will be the farthest either of us has ever been.
Over the past four years we've tried saving, yet money doesn't seem to like to stay in our grasp for any amount of time. Something large breaks, our only car has problems, a bill might be over due. You name it, it happens to us as it happens to many. And after a rough few years, we vowed this year would be the year to make it to NZ; to make it to the second Hobbit movie premiere! We were cutting out making more costumes for ourselves, going to Dragon*con (which we've gone to every year since we met), and any other expenses just so we could squander away for our dream trip.
Unfortunately the rug has been ripped out from under our feet again, and the money has to go elsewhere.
This trip meant the world to us. Our hearts hurt and our brains are fried. We needed something to keep our love strong and our minds fresh and hopeful. I know that might not mean much, but for two people who are deeply in love and work hard, we need miracle in our lives.
We need hope again. Even if it's just a dollar from a stranger, you have given us hope that someone out there cares for others well being.
We need a transcendental trip that will allow us see not only a foreign place, but a beautiful one to boot! It might not mean much or make much sense to some, but for us it's a matter of hope. We've been without it for a long time; in a dark cloud that we never wanted to be in.
Our goal is to have enough by atleast 2 months before the second 'Hobbit' New Zealand premiere in New Zealand. Again, I'm turning 29 in 2 months, and I vowed to have a life-changing adventure before 30! We also have several friends, whom we met through Tolkien, who will be down there at the same time, and we'd love to share the experience with them too. We would love to attend the premiere, along with touring all over island and seeing all the places where the movies were filmed! I've set a goal of $5000, as plane tickets to New Zealand are so beyond our budget, especially for 2 people. This is a once in a life time experience, that we do not want to miss again!
We want to see mountains, Gandalf! And as a wonderful character from another fantastical story once said:
"There is no nobler cause than love."