I first read 'The Fellowship of the Ring' when I was nine or ten, and I remember having to get a permission slip to borrow it from the adult section of the library (followed by the wait for 'The Two Towers' and 'The Return of the King' to come back into stock). This means that Middle Earth has been part of my life for thirty-five years or so, and it seems as real a place to me as any other.
I've felt that sense of place numerous times - mostly playing role playing games, and of course when I saw Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. Now that I have a computer with the wherewithal to run, I decided that I would have a go at Lord of the Rings Online, so I set the download going. Umpty gigabytes and updates later, I was able to create my first character and play through the opening sections.
However, it was only when I left the fairly restricted starting area and actually set foot it the Shire that the game opened up for me. I accepted a quest to take a message to Bree and found myself skirting the Old Forest, following the course of the Withywindle before cutting up to Barrow Downs and then down into the town itself. I then looked at the clock and realised that it was nearly eight o'clock and I had been absorbed for well over two hours in just following a path to see where it lead.
I'm not particularly fussed about MMORGs such as World of Warcraft, but I think I shall be spending some time in Middle Earth ...