The books “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien are stories about epic journeys, and they rank among my very favorite books of all time. Lately, they remind me of what I’ve been missing during this ever-worsening pandemic; travel and adventure.

Travis Naughton

I might be a Baggins. Like most Hobbits, I am usually quite content to spend days on end in the comfort of my own home, yet I do occasionally get a powerful urge—like Bilbo Baggins did as his 111th birthday drew near—to hit the road in search of adventure. Years earlier, Bilbo was a reluctant adventurer when Gandalf and the Dwarves recruited him to join their quest to take back the Lonely Mountain from the vile dragon Smaug. But after his journey there and back again, he was a changed Hobbit. For the rest of his days, Bilbo felt drawn to the world beyond the borders of his home in the Shire. 

I, too, feel that pull. Aside from a few socially-distanced camping trips last summer, our family has not strayed far from our mid-Missouri home since the coronavirus changed everything last March. My one and only New Year’s resolution for 2020 was to attend more live concerts, yet I managed to go to only one show in February before the rest were all cancelled. And although I have found countless classic cars for sale online, located from coast to coast, I have not gone to inspect a single one in person for fear of inadvertently bringing the virus home to my family.

~ Read more in today’s Journal ~