"Hobbit" for the "Holidays"

I’m a little late on posting this. I was in the middle of Lord of the Rings marathon and kind of forgot that life existed outside of Middle-earth and my bed for a few days. I’m not going to apologize because I literally regret nothing.

So, let’s get started. Entirely in-relation to my week in Middle-earth, this week’s post is dedicated to my main man, J.R.R. Tolkien. J Tolks, as I call him.

“Not all those who wander are lost,” is, undoubtedly, the quote Tolkien is most known for today. It’s a great quote, really. Just aces. It’s favored by twenty-something dudebros and “free spirits” to describe just how “free” and “transient” they are in a “stationary” world. I, myself, love the quote, but not for that reason. I love it because its true meaning is dark, sinister, and much more exciting than hippie college students on “journeys” of “self-discovery” realize (air quotes are my new thing, apparently). It is meant as a warning; warning against ringwraiths and people in cahoots with evil (cahootists, I believe they are called). Not all who wander are lost. Some of them want to literally suck the soul from your body (ringwraiths, dementors, whatever).

But there is a quote of his I like even better—a quote which, really, serves as the “point” of this week’s blog. In The Hobbit, as Bilbo is crying, moaning, complaining, and being an all-around inspiration to whiners like me, Gandalf tells him to get over it.

“Home,” he says, with top-level sass “is behind, the world ahead.”

This quote is important to remember when you head home for the holidays.

I love coming home. I love not having to do my own laundry, I love my mother “fretting” over me, I love the fact that I don’t have to get out of bed if I don’t want to. I even love the torrential blizzard my home is currently having. It’s easy to see myself wanting to stay home. Bilbo doesn’t want to go on a dangerous adventure with a merry band of dwarves and Dumbledore. That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates. And I don’t want to go on the “adventure” of being an adult. Because I’m an adult but not really. I’m more like an “adult”—I shouldn’t be trusted to go on “adventures”. No Modor or Misty Mountains for me. I’m more equipped to stay home with my books and Star Trek box sets.

Which is exactly why I have to leave.

Being home for the holidays is great but it can’t be permanent. That’s not how it works. Bilbo and Frodo, the little hobbits that could, changed the world when they left. College is about the transition from home-to-world. College narrows down your definition of “the world”; you figure out who you want to be with, where you want to go, and what you want to do. You are a hobbit and you are getting ready for your adventure.

So, to summarize:

Not all who wander are lost. Some of them are just on their way to meet the world.

Happy holidays, readers.



I know that the right word for “cahootist” is cohort. Please don’t write letters.


Ashley is a Junior Creative Writing major from Payette, Idaho.