My family doesn’t have a lot of traditions. We do have one, though. Every year the day after Christmas we have a Lord of the Rings marathon. Yes, you read that right. We watch all three extended versions (approximately 3 ½-4 hours each) in one sitting. We’re sort of abnormal. But what does this have to do with travel, you ask? Everything. If you are a fellow Lord of the Rings fan, you know that they filmed the movies in New Zealand. Now, before LOTR, I never paid much attention to New Zealand. I knew it was somewhere on the south side of the world. I know, my geography was pretty impressive. The scenes from the movie absolutely took my breath away, though. Tall mountains. Slow and steady rivers. Gushing waterfalls. Greenery everywhere. It was the kind of place you imagine when you create a “happy place” in your mind. Judge me if you will, but I have already found tours and guides to visit all of the filming locations. But I have to be clear: I don’t want to visit them so I can kiss the ground Frodo Baggins walked on. That’s weird. I’m simply using the movies as a guide to explore New Zealand’s natural beauty. They just did the work for me by finding these places. However, there is one place that I do feel the need to fangirl over: Hobbiton. If you don’t know LOTR, this is where hobbits live. It is a quaint town built into hillsides that is still there today. Complete with small, round doors and wooden fences, it is probably one of the cutest places in the world. And let’s be real, it’s one of my top places I want to go in the world and the initial reason I chose New Zealand.