During my trip to the Bay of Plenty in North Island, New Zealand, one of my ultimate geeky dreams came true when I visited Hobbiton in Matamata. It was as if I got transported straight into Tolkien’s fantasy world. At 1.6 meters tall (5’2” for imperial system barbarians), running around shouting “I’m going on an adventure!”, I felt right at home.
While at Hobbiton, the peacefulness and the hobbit way of life really got me thinking and reevaluating my own lifestyle. So here are six life lessons from Bilbo Baggins, everyone’s beloved hairy feet shorty.
1. Explore the world
“I’m going on an adventure!”
You can even one-up Bilbo by not waiting for a wizard to show up at your doorstep to start your journey. Do unexpected things, even if no one thinks you can. Go see the world beyond your maps and books. Go find some dragons. Just don’t pick up strange rings along the way, and you should make it back in one piece.
2. Know who you are and be proud of it
“I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me. I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.”
Never let anyone put you down for being yourself. You be you. Be proud of your shortness and hairy feet. Never feel the need to apologize for or justify who you are.
3. Remember home
“I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my armchair, and my garden. See, that’s where I belong, that’s home. That’s why I came back… ’cause you don’t have one, a home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can.”
You can take a Baggins out of Bag End, but you can’t take Bag End out of a Baggins. You define what your home is, and it also defines you. You can roam foreign horizons, but should never forget your nest.
4. Don’t give up
“Go back? No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
Quitters don’t get three movies based on one book. To quote the great Robert Frost, the best way out is always through.
5. Make friends
“If ever you are passing my way, don’t wait to knock! Tea is at four; but any of you are welcome at any time!”
Don’t discriminate against anyone just because they are different from you. You never know when you will need help from the wizard again. Be open-minded and you will find pleasant company in kind strangers, who will have your back if you will have theirs.
6. Don’t laugh at live dragons
“Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!”