Howard could hardly believe his eyes when he saw the advertisement for “the ultimate Tolkien experience.” The holiday package was being offered by a company called Gandalf Excursions based in Australia, and it featured an all-inclusive deal at an incredibly reasonable price.
With images of vacationing in some ideal Hobbit Hole in New Zealand, Howard rang the number and booked the very next opening with the agent.
The flight to Christ Church was long and tiring, and it may have been the fatigue of the first leg of the journey that made it so he didn’t wonder why his connecting flight was on a seaplane. Although he didn’t want to miss a single moment of the experience, exhaustion got the better of him once the transfer was made, and he quickly fell asleep.
He woke to the revving of the plane’s engines, and he felt the shutter as the aircraft bounced on the waves as it landed. It maneuvered into its moorings and the Tolkien fans were ushered onto a rickety wooden dock. As they looked on in disbelief, clouds of thick yellow-green sulfurous smoke drifted across the bleak volcanic landscape. Black sand and pumice ash covered the pathway to the rusty World War Two vintage Quonset huts that would serve as their accommodation during their stay. A badly painted sign at the end of the dock read, “Welcome to Mordor.”
Travel Thursday #1: Your challenge today is to conjure up the best or worst trip imaginable and write a story or poem sharing it with the world.