So, finals are over. My freshman year at NDSU is officially complete and my summer has begun, to everyone’s disbelief (including mine); gone now are the rushed days of writing that final paper, or worrying about final grades. Now is the time to get to work while enjoying the few months I have off before I plunge back into a 17-credit work load as I begin my second year at college.
Right away, I would like to apologize for the lack of posts for What’s Up Blue. It’s been a while since I have talked to you all! Understandably, the week before and of finals I was not able to make blogging a priority during precious studying hours; however, I think it is worth noting what I have been doing now in the week after finals, now that school is over and I am trying to get into the swing of things with how my summer will look.
As of May 17th, last week, I officially started to track my journey to Mordor, a Lord of the Rings themed walking challenge that encourages geeks like me to follow the characters from the books and put on the miles they walked from the Shire to Mordor and back again. Having known about the challenge for over a year now, it was actually my mom’s support that I decided to take it on myself and join her in the journey to destroy the (figurative) one ring. Now over a week into my travels, I have finally made it thirty-three miles, but I’m still a long ways away from my destination: four-hundred and twenty-five miles from Rivendell, to be exact. Taking into account that getting to Mordor alone is just under a two-thousand mile journey, I will be doing this challenge for a while. Therefore, I have decided to make a series about my thoughts throughout the challenge and my experiences along the journey there and back again.
To really talk about the start of my journey, maybe it is best to refer to Tolkien’s own words with one of his most memorable quotes:
“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can.”
Though I myself am not in the wonderful world that Tolkien created, the challenge itself lends to creating its own atmosphere, if you let it. When starting on my trek to Mordor, I outlined an initial playlist for myself comprised of a few tracks from the Lord of the Rings soundtracks and a few more from The Hobbit. I really believe that this music help put me in the mood during my first week of walking and helped me set myself on track, leading me to walking almost five miles a day between my two jobs and my normal errands for things for the apartment. I realized my first weekend into the walk, while out with my mom at one of the parks in my home town, that, while the playlist set the right atmosphere, it did not set a good pace. See, a walking playlist, to me, needed to be a mix of fast and slow-paced songs and most of the soundtrack for Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit are set at a slower pace than that of which I am walking. Thus, I ended up tweaking my playlist and adding more than a few selections from my favorite orchestra, Two Steps from Hell. Within my first morning walk on Monday, I saw an immediate difference in my pace while still achieving the atmospheric mood I wanted to set. Listening to my new playlist, it was like I was actually off on an important journey, off to save King and Kingdom–or the entire world.
Music aside, I started to really enjoy my daily walks almost right away. It didn’t feel like a chore when I began to
attribute certain places to places in Middle Earth. For example, my home was my shire; going to work at the school was like I was Gandalf visiting the hobbits and best of all, working at the campus library has been like my own personal Rivendell, a wealth of knowledge and a peaceful, calm place to spend the middle of my day. I didn’t really think things could get any better until I spotted two ducks in the tennis court yesterday after the overnight-rain. While that little scenario distracted me for a while (as the picture proves), I did get back to my walk shortly after the two little fellows waddled on their way around the net. For me, it was more than just getting to work that day, it was continuing on the journey I had set out on, putting on more miles that I could enter int my excel spreadsheet to find out where I was now on the journey the Hobbits made. It turns out exercise can actually be fun if you imagine you are off to save Middle Earth from an evil tyrant who is trying to come back from the dead. Too bad my Physical Education teacher didn’t try this while I was in High School. Oh well. I’m on the journey now and I don’t plan to stop until I have made it to Mordor and followed the hobbits to Mordor and back to the Shire–
Even then, I don’t know if I’ll be quite finished yet. There’s no telling where I might be swept off to.
The link to the LoTR walk can be found here:
The nifty little tool that I have been using in conjunction with my excel spreadsheet can be found here:
Two steps from Hell’s music can be found here (I suggest their albums “Invincible,” “Archangel,” and “Battle Cry”):
Until I see you all again, here’s one for the road.
-This is blue, signing off.