“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
These words are often quoted by travelers and Lord of the Rings fans alike for they are linked by the true spirit of what traveling and adventure means to so many people.
Spoken at the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins was teaching his nephew Frodo about the spirit of adventure, not knowing in the slightest the adventure Frodo would come to have with the One Ring.
For the sake of this article, imagine yourself as Bilbo Baggins prior to his adventure to the Lonely Mountain.
For decades, he lived out his life unaware about the world outside his round hobbit style door. Today and in our world, there are many who live lives such as these, afraid or unwilling to leave what they know.
Baggins, otherwise known as the Ring-Finder, Barrel Rider, Elf-friend and many other names, started his journey as a huffy hobbit who enjoyed smoking his pipe.
Thirteen dwarves piling into his Bag End hobbit hole would have been one of those disruptions he hated. You’d think after all that Old Toby, he wouldn’t be quite so uppity.
As the burglar for the ragtag bunch of dwarves, it would be this quest that would sweep Baggins off his feet and into Middle-Earth on a journey he could barely believe.
Baggins, once xenophobic about the Big People near Bree, would become one of the most progressive hobbits since that one who stopped all those wolves attacking Hobbiton.
Yes, the road is a dangerous place and once you set off down such a path, you’re never really sure where it is going to take you. J.R.R Tolkien had that right.
While there are no roads that lead to Middle-Earth, many of the themes written about within the Red Book of Westmarch can be applied to our every day lives.
Such a journey made Bilbo wise to the dealings of other people as well as the problems Middle-Earth was suffering through. Through traveling in our world, one can have their eyes opened to new sights, new issues facing other peoples and the beauty of our world.
If you don’t travel, it’s almost easier to forget or truly not care about the dealings of the rest of the world, much like the occupants of the Shire. But, if you have friends in other countries, you begin to understand how different, yet similar our lives are.
I found myself on much the same road Bilbo Baggins found himself on. Just as he had no idea he would be stumbling through Goblin tunnels and the paths of Mirkwood, I had no idea I would be sharing pints of ale with a wizard and one of the stars of Coronation Street.
On his return from the Lonely Mountain and Laketown, Bilbo finds the Shire has barely changed. However, all of his stuff is on the lawn being auctioned off.
When you return from a trip, seemingly nothing has changed around you. But you, yourself have been altered by the sights seen and experiences you’ve had.
When traveling, you can never really be sure what stories or situations you will find yourself a part of. However, just like Bilbo Baggins and his adventures to the Lonely Mountain, that’s when the true tales begin.