Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What's Your Hobby?

I don't remember who it was that set my most recent existential crisis in motion, but whoever it was did so by asking me one simple question: "What are your hobbies?"

I immediately drew a blank. The blankiest of blanks. Hobbies? As in, like, the things I do in my free time? Hobbies, as in amusing activities that have nothing to do with my job, my platform, or my financial security? I mean, writing used to be my go-to hobby, but now it's my livelihood. And I don't knit or sculpt or do zumba or write letters to a pen pal in South America. So...do I actually have any hobbies?

This question haunted me for a while until I approached my husband with it. "You have hobbies," he assured me. "They are just slightly untraditional."

And he's right. And when you think about it, who really has traditional hobbies anyway? Here's a short list of mine:

-Listening to podcasts
-Antiquing (alright, this one's pretty traditional, and by "traditional" I mean that it's what old ladies like to do.)
-Watching documentaries
-Improv, standup, storytelling -- all of the bits of comedy I do
-Reading short stories
-Trying different kinds of ramen of varying levels of spiciness
-Taking pretty pictures
-Singing showtunes in my apartment to the delight of my unsuspecting neighbors

See? I've got hobbies! I'm an interesting person! I swear!

But recently, what I've come to realize is that I have one hobby which really seems to trump all of the others. In fact, I'd say this one crosses the line into passion territory.

Friends, I love to travel. To be more precise, I love to explore. It's just my favorite way to spend my time. In fact, I would say that my heart of exploration is the reason I'm living in New York City right now. Three years I've lived here, and I have never grown tired of discovering all of this city's nooks and crannies. I just love a good nook, and I adore a good cranny. New York has several of both.

And I feel so profoundly lucky to have a best friend who shares this same thirst for adventure. His name is Daniel. He is my husband. And together, we are so committed to a life of discovery that when we decided to move here, it didn't even cross our minds to get rid of our car. In a town dominated by public transportation, we know it's crazy to park our Ford Focus on the street every day, but what can we say? We're explorers.

And honestly, our car (and our flexible schedules) gives us the opportunity to see New York in a way that few people have the chance to. Such was the case this last Monday when I woke up and suddenly asked, "Hey, do you want to go to Beacon?"

The answer, of course, was yes. Beacon is an artsy village about an hour and half north of NYC, and it's been on our list for a while now. We had heard that there is a phenomenal art museum there, Dia Art Foundation, so we set that as our arrival point, hopped in our Focus, and just left. Nothing could have prepared us for how unique Dia was, and the whole town of Beacon was positively brimming with charm. I could ramble on about the events of our day, but a picture is worth a thousand words, isn't it? Man, as a writer, I hope that's not totally true, but still, here are some pictures from the day:

While I love the destinations, one of my favorite things about these day trips we take is the experience of driving. I will never take the experience of driving over the Brooklyn Bridge for granted, nor will I ever feel anything but amazement whenever the landscape suddenly shifts from skyscrapers to mountains. This time, I decided to film our drive to Beacon as well as a bit of our visit to Dia. Warning: I just got this fancy camera, and I have legitimately no idea how to use it, but if you're into the concept of moving images set to an Avett Brothers song, have at it:

I guess I was reluctant to even consider exploration a hobby because, I don't know, it's just what I do. Also, now that I've written it about a thousand times in this post, I think I kind of hate the word "hobby," but that's neither here nor there. Discovering new places truly is the ultimate way to spend my time. It revives me in a way that nothing else does, and if that's what a hobby is, then I guess it's my hobby.

What's your hobby?


  1. I was in Beacon this past weekend. We rented an Airbnb. Infact took that EXACT same picture



  2. also your video was lovely! And I am equally obsessed with Beacon & travel!

  3. This. I was recently in a job interview where they asked me about my hobbies. "Wandering around new places" just doesn't seem like an appropriate response, but it's true!

  4. I always ask people this exact question because it reveals their true interests. Travel is a great hobby -- not only is it fun in itself but it opens the door to discoveries and personal growth. Your other hobbies are equally rewarding.

    Hey, I didn't know you live in NYC! If you ever want to chat over coffee, give me a holler. I'm in the city all the time. (I live on Long Island.)

    1. I love your approach! I never think to ask people this but you're right, what a great way to learn about someone! :)

  5. I used to be in the same boat, back when I worked like 4 jobs. I didn't have any hobbies, whhaaa?? Now I'm overloaded with hobbies and always looking for more. Flying trapeze and gymnastics on a regular basis (adult beginner status, hello!), I picked up crocheting some stuff for me (and my cats) this winter, hiking/kayaking, and of course traveling! I also decided to cluelessly start up this travel blog about 6 months ago which in my case is still a hobby. You never know where you'll be in a year :)
    Also, you take the most adorable pictures! Have fun!

  6. Unfortunately I can not watch your video here in Germany (some licensing issue...) but I loved your text. I recently thought about what my hobbies are and really didn't come up with a sufficient answer as well. Because can you say watching TV shows is a hobby?! I do love to craft and sew and take pictures but I don't want to do it every day. I think my hobby is learning new thing and trying new stuff. I can get interested in the weirdest things... the other day I was in a chemistry lab and found it fascinating.
    Looking forward reading more about your hobby of discovery.
    Happy weekend, Tobia


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