We’re of the belief that every man should have at least one hobby he cares deeply about, because hobbies help us grow and reward us in ways careers never could. Search online for a new hobby to try, however, and you’ll encounter the same tired list. Stamp collecting? Model trains? Last time we checked, we weren’t looking for a hobby to pick up after a long day of delivering milk or working the switchboard? What you need are some fresh ideas, and that’s precisely what we have. Here are 8 unique hobbies to pick up in your spare time.
The launch of the first MakerBot had people excited about the possibilities of 3D printing at home. That buzz may have worn off over the years, but the technology has only gotten better and cheaper in that time. There’s a learning curve, obviously, but that’s part of the fun. All you need is a decent 3D printer—the current MakerBot Replicator is $2,500—filament, a computer to run the software, and your imagination to dream up whatever doohickeys you’re going to print. While it’s not the cheapest hobby, you could always sell some of the stuff you make, so maybe consider it a business venture. Chess pieces. Cutlery. Chess pieces holding cutlery. The possibilities are endless.
The Sketchbook Project
The Sketchbook Project adds some incentive for you to create art. Here’s how it works. You order a sketchbook through the service. It arrives at your door for your to fill and send back. Your book then lives in the Brooklyn Art Library, where anyone can check it out and enjoy your art. Not only that, you can track your book’s travels because each has a unique barcode. Pay a bit extra for digitization and your sketches even go into a digital database anyone can browse from their computer. Link
Did you know fish are magnetic? Seriously. Why do you think every time you throw one against your fridge it sticks? Never pieced it together, huh?
Okay. Please don’t do that. Obviously that’s not true nor what magnet fishing is about. Magnet fishing is part treasure hunt and part environmental activism. You rig a powerful neodymium magnet to a line and plunge it into a waterway, hoping to exhume either something worth a pretty penny or some trash to toss. There are laws against it in some areas, so check those before you go fishing for metal, but it’s a pursuit that will get you outdoors and even let you do a little good while having fun.
Some call Brazilian jiu-jitsu “physical chess,” and for good reason. The objective is to move your body into a position where you can submit your opponent (checkmate, if you will). The path to that position, however, is littered with possibilities. Your opponent could do this or they could do that. They can play aggressive to overwhelm you or passive to let you trip yourself up. In other words, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is as much a workout for your mind as it is for your body. And unlike other martial arts, there’s no punching or kicking, so you can test your skills without the threat of eating a shin and going to work the next day with a black eye and less Chiclets.
There’s a scene in the premier episode of HBO’s Succession in which Conor Roy (Alan Ruck) gifts his father (Brian Cox) some sourdough starter. You’d have thought he gave him a bag of dog shit the way his dad reacted. You know what? That’s a damn fine gift. Baking your own bread is a rewarding endeavor because you will taste your improvement. Your first loaf will suck. Your second loaf will suck a little less. Eventually, though, you’ll swear off the grocery store stuff for good. And if you go the sourdough route, your starter will last for ages if you feed it regularly and it will give your bread a taste all its own. We recommend reading In Search of the Perfect Loaf, a book about a journalist who traveled to Paris to work in a famous boulangerie just to learn how to bake the perfect baguette. It will inspire you.
Making your own cologne is a lot easier than you might think, and learning to do so frees you from the standard scents commercially available. All you need is some base alcohol, an array of scents, distilled water, and some droppers and basic equipment. Then you can study up on top notes, middle notes, and base notes, and gain a working knowledge of which scents play nice with each other. The good news here is, you’re only limited by the scope of your imagination and your ability to acquire the scents.
We can’t explain our love of maps but take solace in the fact that we’re clearly not the only ones who feel that way. If you are one of these like-minded individuals, perhaps you should take your inexplicable love of maps into your free time and take up cartography. The beauty here is you can go as deep as you like. Want to just sketch your shoreline? Go for it. Want to use your computer to create a detailed rendering of your hometown? Have at it. There’s plenty to learn and so much to master. You could even parlay it into a career if you get good enough. Here’s a good guide to getting started by a Reddit user.
Want a hobby that can turn into a little side hustle? Try thrifting. Sure you could keep the stuff you buy at thrift shops and make that your hobby, but there’s never been a better time to buy and resell. Vintage tees, old military gear, and other items you’ll find could have incredible value. Hell, all you need to do is toy around on sites like Grailed to see how much some old Grateful Dead tees are going for right now. Take your free time and hit up spots all around your area and read up on how to tell what’s worth what. You could make a pretty penny or revamp your wardrobe.