After travelling to more than 120 countries around the world, Paul Romhany has decided Qualicum Beach is where he wants to settle down with his wife and son.
Romhany, who is originally from New Zealand, has spent the past 25 years travelling around the world as a magician and Charlie Chaplin impersonator.
It was when he was eight years old that Romhany said he saw a Charlie Chaplin movie — and he was hooked.
“It’s all I’ve ever really done,” Romhany said of his professional career. “I jokingly say that I wasted the first eight years of my life.”
In his 25-year career, Romhany has travelled all over the world for his shows, which include the Charlie Chaplin show, comedy magic and Murder by Magic, an interactive mystery show.
The Charlie Chaplin show, Romhany said, can work anywhere in the world.
“It’s a silent act. There’s no barrier with that show,” he said.
Romhany said he created a name for himself in New Zealand during his 20s.
“I was quite fortunate doing (magic) in such an isolated place, but today, there’s so many young kids doing magic now which is great,” said Romhany, adding that the popularity of magic goes in phases.
Romhany said the Internet has been a big help in getting international work and recognition. However, he said some of those international gigs may be mere minutes.
“I do corporate work around the world, but it might only be a 10-minute spot. I could fly to China just for one night, do the show and come straight back, which I’ve done.”
Romhany said he remembers being flown to China for Montblanc (a high-end retailer for pens, luxury watches and jewelry) event where he got to do close-up magic for celebrities. He said it was the first time a company was allowed to use Princess Grace of Monaco’s name or image on a product.
“They flew in everybody for this huge thing, and they actually turned a little part of China into Monaco,” said Romhany.
Although the travelling isn’t always fun — Romhany said one year the airlines lost his luggage 14 times — it’s all about the audiences’ reactions, according to Romhany.
“I could do the same trick a thousand times, but each time it’s completely different. It’s the same trick for me, but it’s different because this person has seen it for the very first time and so it becomes new for me,” Romhany said.
Romhany said he used to think he should have been a doctor in order to give back to people.
“It took me a while to actually realize and understand that with humour, you actually are giving something special to people by entertaining them.”
While it took Romhany some time to find the meaning in his career, he said sometimes he can’t believe he actually gets to do this for a living.
“We fly into China and I still have to pinch myself. They’ve hired me to do this?” Romhany said. “If that thrill goes and it becomes mundane and a job, then I’ll have to do something else.”