I was very hesitant about my trip to New Zealand during Nov/Dec 2012 for The Long Expected Journey. Having a chronic illness, and two weeks before the trip having so badly blistered my feet I’d been on crutches for a month, I was rather anxious about how I was going too kept up with my fellow travelling companions on our epic quest to conquer the filming sites of Lord of the Rings and Narnia.
I need not have truly worried as much as I had—because Mike was our guide and Mike was awesome.
From the moment our group met Mike was fabulous, including everyone in on the tales and sights of New Zealand and his local knowledge to do with the films we so dearly loved and the stunning country around us.
While I could not climb mountains (Mordor defeated me so easily) with my friends, nor run around taking goofy photos, Mike was perfectly understanding of my situation and I was incredibly grateful.
During our stay in Wellington we took a trip to Weta Workshop, a place I had been so excited about. Since I could not climb my mountains, I could, at least, buy something right? Well, the place was packed and so I rushed in and out as quickly as I could—thus forgetting that I could get a free Gandalf Hat like everyone else. I must have looked overly sad about missing out on a Gandalf Hat, because just before our bus was set to leave, there Mike was presenting me with my very own Gandalf Hat. He had quickly rushed in to get me one.
I have never forgotten that special little moment—because Mike is the guide that understands what true holidays are about, sometimes they aren’t all about climbing mountains, they’re also about special moments and special things…
And I was the most grateful traveler to have a guide who understood that.
And thanks for the Gandalf Hat.