1. Finding cool rocks. No joke. You get to walk around, see cool things, breathe fresh air, and get a geology lesson bonus.
2. Radio astronomy. Receiving a signal that was made when the star that the calcium our bones comes from was still a billion years away from going supernova puts things in perspective.
3. I do cross-stitch. I’m not creative at all, but give me a coded pattern that creates a map (I always do maps – but you can make way more intricate things than you think if you invest the time) and I’m all over that shit. It’s how I quit smoking.
4. Geocaching: started this when my then GF and I were dirt poor in college and now we have logged about 1700 caches in about a dozen different countries. Even just doing it near our home is awesome, because you get to see things you’d never see otherwise. Highly recommend.
5. Lock picking for sure. I see a lot of people with this mentality that only criminals pick locks but I’m here to tell you that is not the case. Matter of fact most criminals do not pick locks at all.
If you like puzzles and complex mental exercises, lock picking is great. Calming, filled with satisfaction and develops fine motor skills. There’s nothing else I have found that has the support and community behind it.
I have met great people in this hobby and we basically are all like a knitting club, but with lock picking. Definitely a place to develop lifelong friends.
6. Model building. At first your stuff going to come out looking like crap, too much glue, not enough glue, you cut the wrong piece, you have put a decal on wrong, etc.
But after a while, it starts to become peaceful and enjoyable to a point that you genuinely take pride in what you have built, so you go for harder builds and better quality, and eventually, you have a massive collection of wonderful models and figurines.
7. Growing algae. I sometimes grab some empty glass containers, ones that I cleaned and wanted to reuse. Fill it with water (rainwater is the best) put in a bit of soil or any organic matter.
I have a good collection of algae jars and a big bucket. They don’t need much maintenance and look cool too!
It feels good when you see how you just recycled and produced oxygen for free. I mean I’m at least not a waste of oxygen.
8. Editing videos, a lot of my friends say it looks boring, but it’s actually soothing and calming after a stressful day.
9. Larking, also known by the less glamorous term scavenging/picking. I wander around creeks, the countryside, old tracts of land, middens, etc, and pick up pieces. You can find pieces of old crockery, glass, old coins, rocks, fossils, and pieces of history. Sometimes I use a metal detector, but mostly it is eyes only, I can’t keep it all so I also take photos. Look down when out walking. You could find hidden treasures anywhere.
10. Archery. Exciting, but very expensive.
11. I don’t know if this qualifies as a “hobby”, but I love making Spotify playlists for super obscure themes, like “the summer of 1997” or “the feeling you get when you realize you are driving too fast and it’s raining” or “these would make a good soundtrack for a zombie movie”.
I’m currently working on a playlist of songs to play a stranded Victorian-era time traveler to get them up to speed on 21st-century American musical culture.
12. Painting. You’re constantly adapting to what the paint is doing, thinking, using your intuition, and you’re a lot more active than you appear to be.
13. Knitting, actually. If you can do it right it’s actually fun. Note that you’ll probably rage quit if you get it wrong.
14. Bird watching. Sometimes you see aerial combat taking place with these birds, especially crows against hawks.
15. My pamphlet collection!!
I have accepted that I am a terrible photographer and I will most likely lose half the photos I take and not remember what they were about anyway, so when I go to an event or a cool place I always get a pamphlet for my collection. It has information and guaranteed the professional photos in it are going to be good. My oldest is from a cruise I was on about 15 years ago.
16. Board games. Whenever you mention to people that you play board games, they think of classic games that were made over a hundred years ago, like Monopoly. But there have been major revolutions in tabletop games in the last 30 years and it is an exciting pastime and a great way to socialize.
It’s kind of like if very few people were aware of modern video games and most people just thought of Pong every time you told them you liked video games. Everyone constantly looking down on it, thinking it’s for kids and/or boring, just because they don’t realize how much they’ve changed and how good they are now.
17. Dungeons and Dragons.
Maybe it’s not labeled as boring, but as awkward and embarrassing.
In reality, it is so awesome. It’s playing Lord of the Rings in the woods with the boys, but as adults in the comfort of your home and it’s the most fun bonding experience I’ve had with my friends since ever. It is one of the best things I’ve ever gotten into as it’s an outlet for both creativity and adventure, and no game has ever given me as much as DnD.
18. My husband has a couple of fish tanks he absolutely loves. I never saw the appeal, but he’s so enthusiastic about them that I’m quite invested now.
19. Writing long essays about nothing. I will sit down and write paragraphs about bullshit, and make it like a rant, and then delete them.
20. Collecting coins. There are so many weird ways of doing this hobby.
It can bring you to the deep recesses of eBay, a garage sale or flea market in the middle of nowhere, your grandmother’s attic or a random field with a metal detector.
And there are so many variations on HOW. You can collect memorabilia coins, state quarters, pre-war coins, silver coins, gold coins or coins from a specific year or whatever qualifier you can think of.
21. Crocheting. It can be relaxing, and you have something to wear! I’ve made a few pieces that won blue ribbons at the county fair. May not be much but I was super proud of it!
22. Making detailed and realistic maps.
I grew up poor so to entertain myself I used to draw very realistic maps and play imaginary scenarios based on the map. Eventually, my family got a computer and I started using google sketch up to make maps and flags. Now as an adult with a good-paying job, I play EU4, HoI4 and CK2. But I still enjoy making maps whenever I have a pencil and blank paper. Imagination has no limits.
23. Cooking. It seems mundane for everyone. But imagine if you could make your own favorite dishes without spending a huge amount of cash at a fancy restaurant. You might able to spend your cash on the ingredients. But you can have your favorite meal for the next few days.
Bonus if you managed to cook a new dish properly, you might impress people around you. Especially your SO.
24. Watching trains. Even my own family is like “it’s so boring” but I like thinking about where it came from and where it’s going. I like the noise and love the rumble in the ground when a hard-working train goes by.
25. Making spreadsheets. I love finding patterns in stuff.
26. History. Literally about any timeframe in history you want/like. It’s not boring, it’s fascinating.
27. Reading – every book is an adventure.
28. Bonsai. I thought it would be a nice little jaunt since you only have to look after them like 3 times a year and major attention every few years as long as you water and fertilize regularly.
Lies. All lies.
Days planning and diagramming how I’m going to fuck up this tiny tree I’ve invested years in. Multiple books bought and read.
Then like 12 fucking hours wiring up this tree and painstakingly watching to see if the apex is gonna do what I want or if that Jin is going to fucking work out.
I grow orchids. I thought they were bitchy. I had not yet experienced the wrath of a juniper in a place that does not hit freezing temps.
29. Language learning, it’s a really fun process although sometimes it can feel like a grind.
30. Research, or at least in my opinion. If you’re looking for information on a topic you genuinely enjoy, it’s actually quite fun to learn a lot about it from different sources.