15 Minutes Of Fame

The Camera...

The Camera...

A few months ago, when I was backpacking in Brazil, I received an email from a woman who was interested in my travels. I replied and we started chatting.

The woman turned out to be Aga Magdolen, a global soul currently located in Toronto, who was doing a documentary about “Third Culture Kids” (kids who grew up in foreign countries). Although I’m just a traveler by choice, we talked and she was still interested in my story, and wanted to interview me for her documentary.

Aga arrived in Ottawa Friday evening with Max, the cameraman. We headed to Fatima, a North African restaurant in Quebec. We had a whole room for ourselves and shoot while eating (Gosh, the food is good!).

I’m more a behind the scenes kind of person: I love writing, drawing and taking pictures. I don’t mind being in a few pictures, but I don’t necessarily enjoy posing. And I’m used to ask questions to people, not being interviewed! But strangely enough, I didn’t hesitate to do the documentary.

Aga’s enthusiasm, for a start, is quite contagious. She is a global nomad herself so she knows what she is talking about. She has one idea a minute and follow up on them. She is creative, energetic and inspired… and God, she even speaks more languages than I do: we chatted in English, French, Spanish, and I had to stop here because I didn’t speak Polish, nor Italian, nor German… she beats me!

Max, the cameraman, was the sweetest guy. He obviously knows what he is doing (which I quite admired, considering how many wires they were everywhere!) and is well-traveled himself.

Basically, two people to make you feel comfortable.

So, we sat and chatted, and I forgot to be self-conscious, shy or even mute for a second. Aga asked me about traveling, looking for place to call home somewhere in this world, and how I decided to eventually move to Canada. We talked about living the global life, its ups and downs. Before we even realized it, it was close to midnight.

The next day, we met early nearby the Big Spider, one of my favorite place in Ottawa. Then, we moved to one of her friend’s place to shoot my blog, my drawings, passport and my business cards (each of them has a different picture of mine printed at the back). Finally, we shot in Chinatown and had lunch at a small Vietnamese place.

A very interesting experience, and it got me thinking a lot. I’m still not sure why I need to travel the world for a few months, once in a while, to feel alive. I still don’t know what pushed me to move abroad instead of making my life in France. I don’t even know why I like to be a chameleon in this world.

But apparently, I’m not the only one. It is strangely comforting.

Shooting At Fatima's

Shooting At Fatima's

I Have Wires Everywhere!

I Have Wires Everywhere!

Early Morning Shooting

Early Morning Shooting

Max, Always Focused...

Max, Always Focused...

The Big Spider

The Big Spider

Arranging My Business Cards...

Arranging My Business Cards...

Here I Am!

Here I Am!

My passport, business cards, cigarette box...

My passport, business cards, cigarette box...

Fortune Cookies Reading At The Vietnamese Restaurant

Fortune Cookies Reading At The Vietnamese Restaurant

Shooting In Chinatown

Shooting In Chinatown


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. You definitely are documentary material with those trips, languages, eclectic interests, not to mention your sophisticated blog. Very good! Will the documentary will be released soon?

  2. We your readers recognized you for an exceptional person a long time ago. I’m glad to know that a person like Aga has recognized you and is shining a light on you. Someday when you are famous we will say, “Ah yes, we knew her back when.” Good for you Zhu.

  3. Salut Zhu,
    This is SO COOOOL !
    You see, you never know when oppurtunities will knock like this !
    I’m really happy that you took advantage 100 + %
    Now, you have to let us know if this documentary will be viewable on the net one day !

    Bises à toi, la star .

  4. It’s good to see that you’re sharing your experiences with the non-blogging audience too. I’ve been on TV a couple of times for snippets in the local news but whenever I see myself I cringe. urrghh.. sends a shiver down my spine just thinking about it.

    Good to see you moo cards cards. I made some a while back and they’re pretty cool. I keep mine in this.

  5. silverneurotic on

    That sounds like a really fun experience. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable participating in something like that, but I guess it would be an interesting experience.

  6. You are not the only one! I echo your sentiment of traveling for a few months once in a while to feel alive. I approach travel that way too. Because it is the stability, the rhythm, the solid process that simply living in one place has. Of course, it is impractical to move here and there to add flavor to life, so people take vacations instead. People can feel like robots whenever they are at work, doing the same thing day in and day out. Even myself, I like what I am doing in my lab, but still, I need a break every now and then.

    I would love to see this documentary when it is done. Can you let us know how we can get our hands on it?

  7. It sounds like a fun and exciting experience. The sign of a good reporter if she makes you feel comforable and at home so you can shine your best in the conversation. I don’t see that it is important to wonder why you are the way you are, life is that way. You are unique and interesting and you are enjoying your life. That is all that really matters isn’t it? I feel if we are fortunate enough to be born into a situation where we have the opportunity to live life to the fullest then we should do so without hesitation. Think of all the people in the world that have the desire but don’t have the luxury.

  8. same here! I just got home from an-hour interview with a journalist. No fancy filming though! 🙂

  9. This is a fascinating example of how small the world has become with all the Social Media and it’s fantastic. I love travelling and as you know; an active network evangelist. The other day I was Google chatting with a friend from Germany (she is an SEO specialist and wanted me to StumbleUpon one of her blog post); it ended up with an agreement of that Diane and I will visit them for a wine feast in Sep/Oct. I might also mention that we are going to a blog gathering in south France in August and in two weeks, Diane and I am going to a friend of mine’s flat in Budapest.

    I’m also planning a blog gathering in Oslo, Norway in August next year. Are you coming? 🙂

  10. Wow you!! What a great experience for you. And how interesting to be able to discuss with a person who shares your same wanderlust. I love that Big Spider sculpture – very cool.

  11. How cool! I think it’s wonderful that you are following your passion. Even if you aren’t sure why you are attracted to the traveling… by the way, is the cigarette box the one with the communist imagery? looks like a very cool image, I love red, white, and black color schemes, usually makes for very powerful images.

  12. yay, but i don’t believe you.
    surely that took more than 15 minutes!
    and i wondered by what you meant
    by the big spider. i didn’t know it was real!

  13. Wow! You are now a very famous person ! Great !
    Too bad…I am not sure I will be able to watch the documentary!
    Warn me if they put it on YouTube!

  14. Hey, that’s so exciting! Let us know where we can watch it! I’m sure it will be more than 15 minutes, even after editing…

    I’m hoping to make a trip to Ottawa next month, but I’m running out of weekends to go, it might end up being July. Will contact you in advance in case you decide to take off again!

  15. @Agnes – Thank you! I still think I’m better behind the keyboard.

    @Final_Transit – Aga is working on it, probably at the end of the year.

    @Mardé – Thank you! As I said… end of the year I think.

    @Tulsa Gentleman – You are so sweet! Each and every one of your comment keeps me going. And makes me want to stop by Tulsa 😉

    @barbara – It was a really unexpected opportunity, and I’m so happy I got to work with Aga, she is great!

    @Khengsiong – It will be on a Canadian channel, so not sure… I’ll let you know.

    @Adem – I’m used to hear myself because I often tape my students for oral practice. Seeing myself… not so much. I decided not to be self-conscious and I guess that’s the only way to do it!

    What were you interviewed about? Sounds pretty cool!

    I keep my Moo cards in a Chinese cigarette box 😉

    @Nigel – It should be ready at the end of the year.

    @silverneurotic – I didn’t think I was going to be comfortable either, but Aga and Max were so sweet, I forgot the camera.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – I will! Due at the end of the year…

    It’s funny, we are the same age exactly I think, and going through the same process I feel. Where to live, when to quit studying, what to do… Let’s keep in touch!

    @DianeCA – I think Aga makes everybody comfortable! She is just so enthusiastic… she was born to be a good reporter!

    @the writer – Nice! What was the interview about? Just curious…

    @Bluefish – At the end of the year, it’s for OMNI TV. 😉

    @RennyBA – I actually thought of you and your networking theories a lot lately. I’ve been trying to seize every opportunity, and I live by your rules. So far, it’s been great! 🙂

    @Guillermo – Gracias! Autograph are every day downtown Ottawa 😉

    @Lis of the North – The big Spider is a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, real name is “maman”. There are severals around the world… one of my favorite place in Ottawa.

    @Seb – The cigarette box was bought in China last summer. I keep everything in it BUT cigarettes 😆 It is an old propaganda poster printed on it… I love it!

    @Seraphine – It did took more than 15 minutes, but only because I’m so talkative!

    @Sidney – Maybe! It’s for a Canadian channel, but I will let you know.

    @Gail at Large – I love Moo cards… You gave me this idea!

    The documentary is for OMNI TV, it’s due at the end of the year.

    @Angela May – Thank you!

  16. That’s really great! I’m glad you enjoyed the experience too. Hope there will be some way to see it outside Canada.

  17. Do you know the artist Shepard Fairey? He did the Obama poster, but he uses a lot of that propaganda imagery, specially from China. He is not very original sometimes, but some of his work is interesting.

  18. I am in the presence of a celebrity! I bow to you my honourable Zhu 🙂 The thing is, you are so interesting, you have had such a full life already and still have many many many years ahead of you. You have lived more than most people could ever dream of living. And the really magical thing about you, is that you appreciate everything around you, and you have the most wonderful and warm way of sharing your experiences with your readers. I am so pleased that your and Aga’s paths crossed and she included you in her documentary.

    G xx

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