The Road Goes Ever On And On

A path leads to the sea, under a stormy sky, at the edge of Nólsoy an island 4 km east of the Capital, Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands.

Do the words "The Road Goes Ever On And On" ring a bell? They form the basis of a walking song featured in The Hobbit (There And Back Again) and The Lord Of The Rings books and films. In the films Gandalf mutters the first line or two when he first appears in the Fellowship of the Ring. Later Bilbo sings a few lines as he lives the One Ring behind and heads off to Rivendell to finish writing his book.

Here’s my favorite part and version of the song.

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,

Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
— The Lord Of The Rings, The Fellowship Of The Ring

While photographing in this forested area near Twizel on the south island of New Zealand I was reminded of 'Gollums Song' from the LOTR The Two Towers movie.

Tracks, Pathways And Roads

While we often have a choice over which road we take in life, it is the road that provides the adventure and allows us to navigate our way from the journey’s beginning until its end.

Of course the road can take many forms from humble sheep trail to a major freeway. But it doesn’t stop there. The famous Road To Mandalay refers to the journey along the Irrawaddy River between Rangoon (i.e., Yangon) and Mandalay in Myanmar.

Thinking a little out of the box the word road can simply come to stand for the journey itself, as in "His Road Is A Difficult One".

A beautiful day and a narrow road for my exploration of Suduroy, the southernmost island in the Faroe Islands.

The Call Of The Road

It was beautiful, but extremely windy when I made this seemingly peaceful image on Suduroy, the southern most island in the Faroe Islands. The wind was blowing a near gale, yet the landscape was caressed by a soft sunshine. The road offered a way forward and the promise of adventure. I had no choice but to get back into the car and follow its call.

I'm very much interested in metaphors associated with the road and the journey. You can explore these metaphors in some of the classic John Ford westerns films where settlers travel, by wagon train, through hostile country on their journey west to California, the promised land.

The path, up through the snow, on Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain) in China.

Music Inspires Great Photography

I love the song Are You Going To San Francisco by Scott McKenzie. It's such a beautiful and positive song. Yet a coin has two sides and George Harrison tells a different story about the reality of the half starved, drugged out, spotty faced teenagers he observed when he visited the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Fransisco during the days of Flower Power.

I also love the Bee Gees song Massachusetts which talks as much about looking back, to home in the East, as it does to the dream of a better life suggested by the journey West. Again, it’s the other side of the coin and a reality check for many that the dream may not always turn out the way we want it do.

Songs, films and memories from my childhood often flood in and spark my imagination, particularly when I'm putting myself through physically and emotionally difficult times on my travels. The road is not always easy, but the experience of the journey can be profound and, from that experience, creativity can flourish.

Deep snow and encroaching mist almost hide a path, clinging to the side of the mountain, on Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain) in China in the middle of winter.

Living Life, With Each and Every Step

This image features part of the trail I followed on my journey hiking across Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain) in China.

I was happy with the depth of blue in this image as it portrayed the feeling of trepidation I felt being out in the landscape during a sudden change in the weather. However, I was prepared and that gave me confidence to continue my march forward. I knew where I was going and I was dressed appropriately. As long as I stayed on the path I’d be fine. It was exciting and I was very much living life, as I puffed and panted my way up and down the seemingly endless trail, in the moment.

It’s great when our photos have meaning. Sometimes the audience finds a sense of connection or understanding in the story associated with a particular location or the person/s depicted in our images. I also love photos that explore the experience of the journey.

Meaning and experience, it’s what we all desire, particular when it’s purpose driven. My own reason for marrying travel and photography is so that I’m able to share the beauty of our world and its people with an ever wider audience. To Heal the World, One Photo at a Time is the personal mission I’ve embarked upon. It’s why I do what I do.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru