“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
I can remember growing up always being fascinated with the realm of the supernatural. Running around with sticks pretending they were swords, fashioning bows out of branches and twine, and creating cardboard medieval helmets were on my daily to-do list as a child. Let’s be honest, that list hasn’t changed much. Dipping into the imaginary lands of Middle Earth and fighting its great battles will always hold a special place in my heart.
These memories were rekindled the other night when the Dropout Anglers went to see The Hobbit. Having both been raised on the tales from Tolkien, we couldn’t have been happier sitting there watching the events of the book being brought to life. It wasn’t long though, before we both realized the shocking amount of similarities between characters in The Hobbit, and us.
At first, it was just funny how we happened to gorge ourselves in an identical fashion as the dwarves. Or how we just so happened to be equally (if not more) gassy to the dwarves. Come to think of it, we had more in common with the dwarves than most people would ever care to know. But as we sat there laughing at our dwarven counterparts, a thought crossed my mind: Maybe our childhood fantasies were starting to come true.
Looking back at it, I think the reason I loved pretending I was part of the fellowship that trekked Middle Earth was that I wanted so badly to go on adventures. Yes, being Legolas with my make-shift bow in my backyard was bad ass, but what I wanted more than anything was to experience an “Unexpected Journey.” Most of my life I didn’t grow up to do what I wanted…until now.
The past three years of my life have been spent relentlessly pursuing fly fishing with my best friend, Karl. In those few years, we have gone on more adventures than I can count. Whether we are spending a few pathetically homeless nights in my car on the south shores of Lake Erie, almost being devoured by a bear in the Porcupine Mountains, or wearing our waders to the bar (stay tuned for those stories), I have been on the edge of my seat the whole time.
I feel so blessed to have found my passion and to be able to share it with other people. Though I am not one for many words or feelings, I can say that I have never been happier. For the first time in my life, I am more excited about what the future holds than the past.
So the other night, as I gazed at the movie screen, I realized that I wasn’t being taken back to my childhood dreams; I was living them. As Karl and I explore new realms, my curiosity for the mountains and forests of Middle Earth is satisfied and then amplified. Though I am not a master archer or swordsman, I have found a new skill. Bringing me more joy and adventure than one man could ever hope for in a lifetime, fly fishing is, and forever will be, my “Unexpected Journey.”