Tag Archives: Apps

An Update on My Walk to Mordor

Do you remember a few months ago when I blogged about my plans to walk to Mordor?

That is, I signed up for an app that lets you track how many miles or kilometres you walk every day and gives you updates about what Frodo and Sam were up to when they’d walked a similar distance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Someone I know also signed up for this app when I blogged about it back in May, so I’ve had a buddy to compare journeys with every time I log in to update my account. That was a nice surprise, and I’m always open to connecting with other people on this journey if anyone else wants to start it.

The cool thing about this challenge is that it almost feels like I’m walking alongside Frodo and the other characters from Lord of the Rings as I log my kilometres walked every day and read about the people they met and the places they visited during their question.

Now that I’m a third of the way through this experience, I thought it was time for an update. 

A Long Journey

Screenshot of the Walk to Mordor App. It shows a green bar filled one third. It also says that there are 38 km to go before I reach the next milestone in Sam and Frodo's journey. What I’m enjoying the most about this walk to Mordor so far is fully realizing just how much walking it required. On average, I log between 9 and 10 kilometres a day. Those numbers are nothing compared to what Frodo and Sam must have done on most days in order to make it to Mordor on time.

It’s one thing to read about characters walking a long distance.

It’s quite another to walk that same distance yourself. Every time I read a new update on their adventures, I wonder how these characters kept going day after day. What I’m doing for the sheer fun of it they did because they really had no other choice. Either Frodo needed to destroy the One Ring at Mordor or see his entire world be destroyed.

To be fair, I have a warm, soft bed to sleep in every night, a sturdy pair of sneakers, plenty of food to keep me going, and no Nazgul hunting me down. So my experiences with this fitness challenge are obviously going to be much easier than the real journey was.

Although I will always be a little jealous of the fact that Frodo and Sam got too eat lembas.

Non-Competitive Exercise

The non-competitive nature of this challenge is something I’m also really liking about it. Other players might make it through all 3109 kilometres (1932 miles) faster or slower than I do. Honestly, this isn’t something I’ve taken the time to google or spend energy thinking about.

There’s nothing wrong with other people competing with each other on distance walked or how long it takes to finish the game, but I’m completely content to keep chugging along at my usual pace. The storyline provides so much fodder for the imagination that I honestly don’t want to rush this experience.

I’m currently estimating that I’ll complete this challenge in March of 2020 if I keep up the same pace. In my first post in this series, my best guess was that I’d be finished by late winter or early spring. It will be interesting to see if that same prediction holds in a few months when I share another update on my progress!

This post is going to be shorter than usual, but I really don’t have much else to report for now. The walk to Mordor is going well and I’m feeling good so far.


Have you ever taken up a fitness or other challenge based on a book? If so, what was it? This experiment has been well worth my time so far, and I’m definitely interested in trying similar games in the future if anyone has recommendations.

4 Games You Can Play While Listening to Audiobooks

Someone found my blog recently by searching for games one can play while listening to audiobooks. This turned out to be a much better idea for today’s post than the one I was originally working on, so I decided to go for it.

Three of these games have science fiction or fantasy themes woven into them somewhere.  It wasn’t originally one of the criteria for this post, but I did think it was kind of cool. Most of them also don’t require the player to make any quick moves in order to do them well.

What I was looking for when I selected them were games that could be played by someone who was multitasking.

As always, this is an ad-free site. I am not being compensated in any way for what I’m about to discuss. They’re simple but enjoyable apps I’ve enjoyed quite a bit over the years that can be played while simultaneously doing something else with your time.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a puzzle game set in a magical world where all but one member of a society has disappeared. The physics and geometry of this place isn’t the same as ours, so some of the solutions can take a while to uncover. Your goal as the player is to solve the puzzles and gradually lead Princess Ida, the main character, closer to the truth about what really happened to her people.

The beautiful thing about this game is that there is no spoken dialogue or time limits on any of the sections. While there is background music, it can easily be muted.

Rarely, certain scenes will contain a small amount of written dialogue, but the vast majority of one’s playing time involves doing nothing but directing the main character around a map at your own speed in order to figure out how to get from the beginning to the end.

Cost: $4.99

Available on iOS and Windows.


Raise your hand if you loved colouring when you were a kid! I adored it so much that my grandmother kept a big stack of colouring books at her house so I’d always have something quiet and amusing to do there.

Of course, it helped that some of my aunts and uncles hadn’t grown out of using those colouring books yet by the time I was big enough to join in on the fun. Two cheers for large extended families that are used to keeping children amused!

Colorfy provides all sorts of designs for you to colour, ranging from flowers to animals to black-and-white prints of famous paintings.

Is this really a game, you might be asking? Well, I can’t help but to tell myself a story about the characters or scenes I’m colouring when I use it, so I think that’s close enough to a game to be included in this list.

Cost: Free

Available on iOS  and Windows


*Creative or peaceful mode only unless you enjoy living dangerously.

Minecraft is a sandbox video game I’ve been playing for so many years now that I don’t need to give it my full attention, especially if I’ve switched to a mode that prevents the monsters from attacking me as I build a house or explore a brand new seed in it.

There is something incredibly relaxing about doing repetitive tasks like that while also working on some other project.  You could even match these two experiences by:

  • Building a castle while listening to a epic fantasy novel
  • Exploring the ocean biome while listening to a pirate’s tale
  • Recreating a crime scene while listening to a mystery

The possibilities are endless, and I can’t praise this game highly enough. It’s one of the first things I turn to when I’m need a happy distraction. There is background music and other noises, but if you stick to creative or peaceful mode it won’t be necessary to hear the moans of a zombie or other monster behind you.

Cost: $9.99

Available on iOS, Mac, and Windows


Is there anyone left on Earth who doesn’t already know what Tetris is?

On the small chance that you exist, know that it’s a puzzle game that requires you to arrange various shapes of tiles into solid horizontal lines in order to earn points. It requires concentration but not much thought. There are usually more chances to repair an unfinished line if you keep going.

I’ve played it while simultaneously listening to all sorts of things, from music to audio books. It’s a great way to completely shut out the world and concentrate on something fast-paced but fun for a while.

This isn’t a game I’d play while listening to something dense or hard to understand, but I think a lighthearted plot would work well for it.

Cost: Free

Available on iOS and Windows

What games do you like to play while listening to audiobooks? I’d love to get more suggestions!

Why I’ve Decided to Start Walking to Mordor

When I was a preteen, one of my uncles gave me copies of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I read and enjoyed The Hobbit immediately.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy took longer to get into. The vocabulary in it kept making me pause to look up words I’d never heard of before, and the pacing was slower than I was used to in the other stories I discovered at that age.

Still, reading about the roughly 3109 kilometres (1932 miles) that Frodo and Sam walked during the course of this adventure did grab my attention. I was the sort of kid who liked the outdoors in small doses before I ventured inside again to cool off and have a snack.

The thought of walking – and occasionally running –  as far as they did while being hunted down by all sorts of malevolent creatures and skipping second breakfast made me shudder.

As an adult, I wonder what it would be like to walk that distance for the sheer fun of it. There have been various points in the past when I’ve run across accounts of people who made spreadsheets that tally how far the characters walked to get to each each milestone in the plot  and when they as a fan can pretend like they’ve reached the next one based on how far they’ve walked in real life.

It was only recently that I discovered a site that keeps track of this information for you. Walk to Mordor offers free cellphone apps and also has a space on their website for people who prefer to log their miles that way instead.

The best part about this game is that it gives you notifications about what is happening in the story as the distance you’ve travelled reach specific plot points. It starts in Bag End, Frodo’s home and the opening scene for this tale, and it goes all the way through what happened in the Grey Wood after the battles had all ended. I like the thought of that.

The man who created it developed it out of his love of these books, and I’m talking about it today simply because I think it’s an incredibly cool idea that I thought some of my bookish followers who also enjoy exercising might want to check out.

As always, this blog does not feature sponsored content and I am not being compensated for this post in any way.

Why Mordor, Though?

Because it’s a challenge.

Over the past five years, I’ve been keeping track of some of my fitness-related statistics. I’ve walked an average of 9.7 kilometres (6 miles) a day since I first began recording this stuff. This includes days when I didn’t move much due to illness or injury, so that number is higher when I’m feeling well.

Weight training is my other main source of exercise. I still find it challenging, and there’s nothing I’d change about my lifting routine at the moment.

As much as I enjoy walking, it doesn’t give me that same sense of accomplishment that moving up to a heavier set of weights or noticing how my body changes when I lift weights and eat a good diet.

By no means am I bored with walking…but I do like the idea of seeing all of the distance I put in on the average day add up to something tangible.

There’s also the fact that Walking to Mordor has a definite end date. If I continue at my current pace, it will wrap up at the end of winter or beginning of spring in 2020. I like the idea of starting something new while knowing that it won’t and can’t last forever.

(Relatively) Calm Entertainment

Photo Credit: Dawn Endico

This style of storytelling appealed to me, too. I’ve been looking for a fitness app that was somehow tied to science fiction, fantasy, or speculative fiction for a while now, but I was selective about what sort of adventure I was going to be signing up for.

First of all, It needed to be something that wasn’t going to track my location in the real world or sell my personal information to other companies. There is far enough of that happening in the world as is!

I also wasn’t interested in an app that tried to get me to move faster or for longer distances because of a storyline that involved anyone being chased by zombies or other dangerous creatures.

While I can see how that would be very motivating for some players, it’s not the sort of thing that I personally find appealing. Tell me a good story, but do let me move at my own pace while everything is unfolding.

Knowing how it ends for Frodo and his many companions was yet another reason why I decided to sign up for this game. I was definitely not feeling calm the first time I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but there is something to be said for returning to a world you’ve visited many times before even if it’s plot isn’t exactly what most people think of as a soothing one at first glance.

I was willing to pay for what I was looking for, by the way. The fact that I found a free app that fit my criteria was icing on the cake.

Join Me

If anyone reading this wishes to friend me on Walk to Mordor, do a search for Lydia Schoch. I kept my username there simple on purpose, and I’m happy to share my journey there if we’ve talked before and you’d like to link up.

Either way, I may be blogging about this game and others like it again in the future as I move through the various scenes. The thought of turning exercise into a non-competitive game appeals to me very much!