A few years ago, just before my wife and I were heading to Europe for a four month holiday we had been planning for years, the two of us went to Comic-con in Melbourne. It remains the best one we ever went to. The guests were terrific that year, we were able to sit in on so many great Q&A’s and see some really amazing stuff. But the thing that made it extra special to us was meeting Billy Boyd.  

It’s no surprise that I am a massive fan of the LOTR movies and Billy’s performance of Pippin is flawless. In person he really does seem like the exact same character! His laughter is infectious and his take on life is so refreshingly wonderful. Lining up to get his autograph, my wife and I were watching the people before us step up, say a few words, get his signature and move on. As our turn approached, my excitement grew. Honestly, I was more excited than any other star I had met at a Comicon, including William Shatner.

We stepped up and handed over the picture of Pippin we wanted to get signed and I decided to ask Billy a question. The first stop in our four month trip was going to be Scotland for a few weeks, as we were flying into Edinburgh. So I told Billy this and asked if he had any particular recommendations for two travelers visiting his homeland. Well…

Billy’s eyes lit up, he looked up with a gleaming smile and turned the picture we had given him around. The excitement with which he talked to us about his favourite spots and recommendations will stay with us forever. As he explained where to go and what to see he drew us a tiny map that sits in the frame right above my computer, a little easter egg that you would only see if you took the picture out.    

Billy’s Map

Whilst the people in line behind us were clearly peeved at us spending close to 5 minutes talking to Billy, it is a moment that has had such an influence in our lives. On our trip we stopped off at his recommendations and drank the whisky he claimed was the best. Scotland remains one of our major highlights and we have BIlly to thank for that. To this day we almost always have a bottle of Balvenie Doublewood in our cabinet and each time we have a glass we remember that day and the joy he brought us.