Saturday, August 11, 2012

Step by Step: Hobbiton to Bree

“It’s a dangerous business going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Bilbo Baggins

Hobbiton to Bree 135 miles; ETT: 30 days

Frodo Baggins and his fellow Hobbits set out from Bag End heading for The Prancing Pony in Bree.  Excitement is mixed with trepidation as they set out on this journey especially since Hobbits (with the exception of the "eccentric" Bilbo Baggins) are not exactly know for their adventurous spirits. 

On their second day out they become aware of the evil presence of a Black Rider that appears to be stalking them.  Despite this ominous shadow, the Hobbits still seem to have plenty of time for singing, resting, eating & sleeping.  They share a beer with Farmer Maggot, stay the night with Tom Bombadil (who rescues them from Old Man Willow) and have their first encounter with the Elves.  Updon reaching Bree, Gandalf is nowhere to be found but they do meet the Ranger Strider who becomes their guide as they continue on their trek to Rivendell.  Even though they appear to travel at a rather leisurely pace they manage to finish this first phase of their journey in seven days.

Travelling Music: Concerning HobbitsThe Black RiderAt the Sign of the Prancing Pony

The Journey Begins

No matter how many times I've previously read The Lord of the Rings, I always love setting out on this journey with Frodo and his friends.  Truth be told, the beginning is probably my favourite part of this quest.  Life in the Shire is good, the countryside is beautiful and the brand new adventure makes for excitement & enthusiasm.

Harnessing some of that same excitement & enthusiasm at the beginning of your own quest for fitness can certainly help to propel you out of a sedentary lifestyle towards a happier & healthier life.  And though I prefer to concentrate on the positives that an active lifestyle delivers, recent studies seem determined to also remind me of the negatives which I am fleeing.  Articles such as Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? lead me to believe that many of us are being stalked by our own Dark Riders and we're not even aware of it.

And so the journey begins.  Filled with our new-found motivation now is the time to start developing habits which will stand us in good stead for the long haul.  After all, Frodo (and Bilbo before him) may have gone "There and Back Again" but for us the pursuit of an active lifestyle is a never-ending endeavour.

I choose to walk 10,000 steps a day (approximately 4.5 miles given my stride) because the two hours it takes is the minimum daily requirement for an "active" lifestyle.  I supplement this basic minimum with both regular & incidental activities that do count as active time if not actual steps.  I'm not sure when, if ever, this regular activity will become a habit but I'm determined to keep working at it until it does become "hard to give up".  Step by step, as the saying goes.

If you're interested in beginning your own walking challenge, How to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day has some good tips & information to help you get started. Also, you should note that even Frodo & company take it rather easy on the very first stage of their adventure so pace yourself and remember to enjoy the journey!

Actual Travel Time

I began my walking challenge on February 27, 2012 and reached Bree on March 26, 2012 for a Travel Time of 35 days.  I'm quite pleased with this result considering that I didn't even know that I was on the road to Mordor at the time (in fact I wouldn't make that connection until I was already past Rivendell).  I was determined to start Sneaking up on Fitness but didn't know exactly what that meant in terms of steps/miles per day that could actually be accomplished on a regular basis.  As it turns out, 10,000 steps per day is something that I actually can incorporate into my daily routine.  It's not easy for me, especially on those days where I have other activities (Pilates, yoga, gardening etc.) that don't contribute much to my step count, but with planning & some extra effort it's achievable.

Previous Stage: Walking to Mordor Challenge (Introduction)
Next Stage: Bree to Weathertop
Pinterest: Walking to Mordor

I'm delighted that a number of people have joined me in this walking challenge.  Feel free to jump in at any time whenever & wherever you please.  Comments on these posts are always welcome and I would encourage you to keep your own journal as well.  If you are blogging your adventures we can cross-link our observations, tips & results.  Happy Walking!

Photos & Illustrations: Bag End; Hobbiton by Karen Spink; Bree; Middle Earth original by Christopher Tolkien

Find Tatiana Dokuchic on Google+


  1. I think this looks fun and will try to join in. I had a 1 yr old so my progress may be a little slow but I need some more fun ideas to motivate me to make those extra steps each day. I'm a little confused by the blog. If i join in now should I count as starting out roughly in Hobbiton or pretend I'm Strider and join you in Bree?

  2. Nice to hear from you, Evie! Wow, has it already been a year since Steampunk Duo became Steampunk Trio? Time sure flies.

    You are free to start wherever you like but I would suggest that you start at the very beginning i.e. Hobbiton and go from there. Since we are all going at different speeds & starting at different times I think that's the most practical approach.

    We can stay coordinated by placing our comments on the post related to the stage that we are currently working on. So, for example, during the first 135 miles you will be commenting here (Hobbiton to Bree) with any information that you would like to share. Even if it's just "Finally arrived at Bree" when the first stage is done :)

    I will be posting my own 'Actual Travel Time' along with observations for those that would like to compare their experiences to mine.

    My main goal is to stay motivated & have some fun along the way!

    1. Its been over 18 months actually and family like if VERY busy so time does indeed fly by in my world thus my still nonexistence presence in SL. :)

      I love this idea but will probably be lagging behind because I had to order a new pedometer so i can't even start yet (my old one must be lingering in a drawer somewhere). I also had problem's saving the spreadsheet to use it. I can save it to my desktop but still can't edit it. Is there a trick to it or is my mac just being fussy again?


    2. Take your time, Evie. It really doesn't make a difference when you start. I actually started logging my walking distance back in February 2012 so I'm starting from there (couldn't stand the thought of not using all those steps!) but I will be posting the results gradually.

      The spreadsheet worked well for me but you're the 2nd person that has told me they are having trouble with it. If you can't get it to work you can always create your own or even do it manually. All you really need is to record your daily distance and sum the total.

      Make sure to give us a shout when you start out from Hobbiton :)

  3. Wow, now this is an idea I've not come across! How cool! I definitely need to increase my daily steps and have been reading those same articles about sitting with some dread (since I sit all day for my day job and my favourite hobby -- the blog -- involves sitting too). Trying to get the daily steps in makes sense as a good place for me to start because it is much easier than trying to squeeze in a particular fitness class. You've given me the nudge I needed! I am going to get a pedometer and get this going ... thanks!

    1. You are most welcome, Julie!

      What I've found is that those scary articles are good to get you started but it's the fun things that help keep you going on a daily basis so I'm a big fan of gamification in whatever form it works.

      Like you, my favourite hobbies are mostly sedentary & I was shocked to see how little I was actually moving. Making 10k steps-a-day a priority wasn't all that difficult and I'm thrilled with the benefits.

      Happy walking! I'm looking forward to hearing how it's going :)

  4. I finally got to Bree and am on my to Weathertop. It took me about 50 days but i started at 3500 steps a day and now average 6000 steps a day. My initial goal was a modest 5000 steps and I've lost 3 lbs. My goal for this next leg is 7000 steps.

    1. Congratulations Evie, that's great news!

      Isn't it wonderful when you start seeing those gradual improvements, especially when they start to pay off.

      Looking forward to seeing you in Rivendell. It's a beautiful place to celebrate 7K steps a day :)