Tolkien News

My Own Shire: Living a Hobbit Life in the Modern World

When I ask those around me which place in Middle-earth they prefer, I often hear, “The Shire”. With its sweeping green views and cozy Hobbit homes, it’s no wonder it captures the hearts of so many.

However, my love for the Shire goes beyond its brightly-painted round doors. It encompasses a Hobbit’s way of life, the culture Tolkien created around them. They harbor a love for all growing things, good food and ale, they care for the land around them, spending time together enjoying one another’s company. And let’s not forget, they certainly know how to throw a good party!

The world many of us are surrounded by today resembles more of the machines and chaos Tolkien depicted when describing Sauraman and his destruction of Isengard. A world of concrete and pavement, with more screens and machines than he ever foresaw.

And, please don’t get me wrong. Not all of our advancements have been bad. We have the ability to save lives, bring people together, and educate using that technology. While it is not physically possible for everyone to suddenly pack up and move off grid into Hobbit homes, I think it is entirely within reason to be able to modify our lifestyles for the betterment of the environment, ourselves, and those around us.

For as long as I can remember, I have always held a fondness for green things. Even as a young child, looking out over a rolling country landscape brought tears to my eyes. I suppose that is why a Hobbit’s way of life is so appealing to me. It is a perfect blend of living a simple life among nature with the comforts of friends and family by your side.

My passion to somehow meld the quality of a Hobbit life in with the modern world we live in, grew until it was more than an interest to me. I really wondered if I could enjoy those simple things within the heart of US suburbia. What a challenge! And, where to start?

Once I had made up my mind that I fully intended to see if I could incorporate those ideals in my life, I began writing out my goals. My list started with acquiring my own residence, and grew out from there to include planting a garden and living in a way that would have less of an impact on the environment.

It took me several years, but this summer I finally managed to check the first item off my list, and bought a home of my own. To say the home is modest, is an understatement. It is older, small, and doesn’t have a brightly painted round door. But, what it does have is the exact amount of space for my needs, a roof over my head, and most importantly, a large yard. In short, it has everything I need to begin incorporating the lifestyle changes I feel are so readily needed.

Hand-painted by your's truly on old pallet wood. It hangs between two tall bookshelves above my TV.

Hand-painted by your’s truly on old pallet wood. It hangs between two tall bookshelves above my TV.

Throughout the coming months, I will be sharing updates with all of you on this grand adventure I have willingly stepped into. Look forward to content regarding the environment (our impact and how we can give back), gardening (it really isn’t as hard as it seems), cooking and baking (hobbit-style), and most of all, bringing a little bit of faerie into every day life.

As this is my first introductory post to this new “My Own Shire” article series, I believe the following quote sums things up quite nicely.

“But, today of all days, it is brought home to me, that it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.” – Bilbo Baggins

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  1. Penny Young says:

    Looking forward to all your advice! I’m searching for my own Smial myself….

  2. these are going to be interesting! 😀

    i agree with you on how modern technology makes it very easy to get out of touch with the simple pleasures (seeing something grow, making something on your own) as well as the big picture (where does our food come from? can we continue making things like we’re doing right now?). being able to live life without needing to exert thought on every facet can be a blessing and certainly is a great privilege, but it’s no free pass to living thoughtlessly on principle.

    can’t wait to read your stories!

  3. Beautifully written Arwen & I admire your step onto this wonderfully green & hobbity journey, “it’s a dangerous business going out your door” all the very best for your trip & I’m looking forward to reading more articles xx

  4. I built a hobbit hole for my guinea pigs 🙂 sadly, I’m not a natural gardener, we plant stuff, and if it survives – all well and good. Looking forward to following your hobbit dream.

    • Coolest guinea pigs ever! Do you have a pic? I’d love to see it! Gardening was such an unknown to me – learned a lot through trial and error. But once I found my pace and learned some tricks of the “trade” it seemed to come a lot more naturally. Can’t wait to post more on the subject! 🙂

  5. I’ve still not given up on the search! I lived as part of an Amish/mennonite community for four years…and its proof that an alternative communitarian ( not communist!!) Lifestyle is possible. We dont have our farm in Ireland anymore, because the hard times came and blew it away. But everyday i wake up i’m working towards that goal.

  6. ” I’m going to live as Narnian even if their is’nt a Narnia’.

    C S Lewis