Hobbies & Thoughts

What I do in my spare time and some of my musings – all my own and not endorsements

I’m a firm believer that a work-life balance is important – that to produce the best possible work, we all need to decompress at times. While this balance inevitably ebbs and flows, I always aim for equilibrium. Here is my non-exhaustive list of hobbies and thoughts that occupy my free time.

Homebrewing Beer

Brewing beer at home might sound like an activity reserved for a mid-life crisis, but more so it is a wonderfully creative hobby. Much like those who approach cooking as a hobby, homebrewing lets me express myself. Interestingly, I’ve found it to be an extremely collaborative art and a novel medium for storytelling.

To learn about how I homebrew, collaborate, and tell stories through beer, I encourage you to check out my homebrewing blog. There, I share my recipes, review beers, and interview industrial brewers to learn about their styles.

Learning Languages

Off the bat, I’ll confess that I’m only fluent in English. With that said, I thoroughly enjoy trying to learn other languages via apps like Duolingo, setting video games to different languages, and practicing with my friends who are fluent in other languages.

Currently, I’m studying to get my Polish in a place serviceable enough to match my name. Additionally, I’m trying to keep my Spanish in a good place and learning how to speak German.

Playing Dungeons & Dragons

I’ve been playing D&D (5th edition) for a few years now. Initially, its collaborative storytelling nature caught my attention. Since then, I’ve learned just how powerful a tool it can be to craft fiction narratives. It can even be a workshopping tool for fiction stories.

If you want to learn more about how I see it as a useful tool for storytelling, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Traveling

I caught the travel bug fairly late in life compared to most people who consider travel a hobby. When I was 19 I went to the UK to study abroad. I loved every second of it. Airports are just giant anthropological studies, the mixing pots of countless cultures, and a loci of incredible stories.

Once I arrive at my destination, I always remember the first sentences of Malinowski’s Argonauts of the Western Pacific: “Imagine yourself suddenly set down surrounded by all your gear, alone on a tropical beach… while the launch or dinghy which has brought you sails away out of sight.”

While Malinowski is a somewhat problematic character, this line resonates with me at my core. It’s the truest sense of adventure to go learn about other humans without assumptions or biases and to question one’s own culture. Travel is just one way to do this.

As I travel, I take in every aspect of culture – I look to avoid the tourist attractions (though, those can be quite cultural themselves) and find the places where locals frequent. I eat, drink, breath, shop, speak, and sleep as close as possible to the locals – taking new stories and wisdom when I leave.

I’ll add some stories of my past travels and definitely post about future ones in the blog section.

Coding

Much like my love of languages, I’ve been learning how to code. While I doubt I’ll ever achieve a level of mastery which could translate into work, I do enjoy writing programs.

This all started with Automate the Boring Stuff with Python a few years ago, but I also have a working knowledge of R and HTML.

As I get better, I’ll share my code on github and do some write ups in my blog.