For Tolkien fans, the word “adventure” usually brings to mind an image of Bilbo Baggins running out his door as fast as his little hairy feet will carry him (no matter how late it will make him for dinner). Tolkien’s works explore many different themes, but one of the central takeaways of his stories is that even the unlikeliest of people can have the grandest of adventures. And you don’t have to be a resident of Middle Earth to engage in the dangerous business of going out your door.
Adventure awaits in the most everyday of activities, from trying out new restaurants to going on weekend getaways. Although mountains and dragons certainly add some spice to the mix, adventures are more about a mindset—an openness to experience—than the backdrop they occur on. You can have as great an adventure in a local suburb as in the Misty Mountains of Middle Earth.
So what are you waiting for? If a hobbit who can barely contemplate the idea of missing a meal can manage to leave the comfort of his hobbit hole and embrace the unknown, then can’t we all?
Here are eight J. R. R. Tolkien quotes to inspire adventure:
8 'Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost'
Often, the most well-worn path in a forest is the one that gets you from one side to the other as quickly as possible. But it can be nice to get off the beaten path and explore the hidden nooks and crannies of your surroundings (you might even find some jewelry lying around).
The same holds true for life in general. We often feel we have to stick to the path society lays out for us, the one that all of our friends are following. But if you wander off of that path, it doesn't mean you’re lost. The greatest things in life are often found when you step into the unknown.
7 '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'
In the fast-paced world that we live in, it can be tempting to plan our days out to a tee. That way, you get as much done as possible, right? But the thing is, some of the best experiences come from having no plans at all. If you step out your door without a set destination, there’s no telling where you might end up.
Just by exploring different paths and talking to new people (preferably dwarves and wizards, but humans will do in a pinch), you might find yourself in the most unexpected of places. If you let it, life has a way of sweeping you off on the grandest adventures.
6 'Home Is Behind, The World Ahead'
We all love the comfort of home. Being surrounded by cozy sofas, loving people, and good meals (seven per day, of course) is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. But it’s only by leaving behind our comfort zones that we can find out who we truly are.
When we push ourselves into areas of discomfort and explore the unknown, we discover new parts of ourselves and gain confidence in our abilities. Who would have thought a little hobbit would be able to take on a dragon? But if he’d never left home, he never would have known of how much he was capable.
5 'Little By Little, One Travels Far'
Long journeys can seem daunting. But just like everything else in life, they’re completed one step at a time. Whether it’s a grueling hike or your undergraduate degree, the only way to get to the end is to keep moving, even if it’s slowly.
No matter how small your stride is, as long as you take enough steps, you’ll be able to travel further than you ever imagined. After all, even the tiniest of hobbits were able to traverse the entirety of Middle Earth (but they did have to skip a few meals).
4 'The Wide World Is All About You: You Can Fence Yourselves In, But You Cannot For Ever Fence It Out'
No matter how many walls you build, you can’t keep life out. Although facing the wide world out there can be scary, it’s something we all must do in our lives. Cozy armchairs are nice for a Sunday afternoon, but adventures cannot be had while you’re snuggled up at home (well, unless a copy of The Lord of the Rings is in your hands). But despite how joyous reading about hobbits may be (trust me, I know that joy), there comes a time in life when we all must embrace our inner Bilbos and run off on an adventure of our own.
3 'Then Something Tookish Woke Up Inside Him, And He Wished To Go And See The Great Mountains, And Hear The Pine-Trees And The Waterfalls, And Explore The Caves, And Wear A Sword Instead Of A Walking-Stick'
Every one of us has something “Tookish” inside of us. Although part of human nature is to crave stability, it’s not a love of routine that led us to cross oceans and explore lands unknown. Pursuing adventure is as much a part of our genes as seeking security, and the key to living a full life is finding a balance to these two intrinsic drives.
Meeting different people and having new experiences can lead to entirely new perspectives — but part of the joy of adventure is returning home to your loved ones and sharing your experiences with them over a couple pints of ale.
2 'Don't Adventures Ever Have An End? I Suppose Not. Someone Else Always Has To Carry On On The Story'
For those of us who love adventure, it can be scary to imagine our escapades coming to an end. But even if you do eventually settle down in your hobbit holes and put down roots, the adventure never truly comes to an end, as long as it lives on in your memory and you share it with others.
Who knows? Maybe your tales will inspire someone else to pursue an adventure of their own. Someone will carry on the story, as Frodo did for Bilbo.
1 'The World Is Not In Your Books And Maps, It Is Out There'
For those of us who love the written word, it can sometimes be difficult to peel ourselves away from our cozy libraries to venture into the wide (and often, rather chilly) world outside our door. Thanks to the great authors we’ve been blessed with, it is easy to have the grandest of adventures while enjoying a steaming cup of tea in the comfort of our armchairs.
However, reading about the adventures of hobbits isn’t the same as having your own (but reading articles about them is definitely worth your while, so do keep going). Eventually, adventure will call, and when it does, put down your books and chase it like a hobbit who’s late for dinner.