Hobby Jam

What People Do For Fun

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Author: patrick-hobbyjam (page 1 of 6)

Brian Cotter

Teaching is an incredibly difficult job. Students are becoming more challenging to teach each year. However, Brian Cotter leads Brian Cotter Tutoring and has found interacting ways to catch his students’ attention. Brian has found new and innovative ways to effectively teach his students. Although Brian may seem like a guru when it comes to teaching, he didn’t always start out this way. He would spend many years developing his organization through trial and error tactics. Finally, his years of experience in the industry have enabled him to become an academic consulting leader that focuses on improving the effectiveness of the classroom overall.

What is your hobby?

I have an interest in woodworking. I find that it is an incredibly relaxing hobby that allows me to tap into my creative side. I have been practicing woodworking for quite some time now. I have created all of our custom furniture pieces in our home. However, it took me many years of practice to become as proficient in woodworking as I am now.

Tell us what you love about it.

One of my favorite things about woodworking is the ability to express yourself through your creations. Being able to take what I envision in my head and bring it to life is an incredibly validating thing. I can shape the wood into anything that I imagine in my mind. I also love the challenge of woodworking. Finding new designs that are considered otherwise tedious to create can be fairly challenging too. I find a lot of exhilaration in taking on a project that pushes my skills to their limit.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There is a local group of woodworkers in my town that I regularly get together with. While we don’t have an official name, they are some of the most creative woodworkers I have ever met. We usually met at one of our workshops and talk about ideas that we can work on. It is very inspiring to work with people who I consider to be better than myself. They keep me on my toes and help me discover new ideas and techniques that I have never thought of before.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

There are too many tools to name .. One of the most important purchases that I have ever made when it comes to woodworking was a solid workbench. While it is not specifically name-brand, it has allowed me to do some incredible work while providing me with a safe space to cut wood. I have also purchased some circular saws that have been incredibly sturdy. I have spent up to one thousand dollars when it comes to this hobby. Every penny has been worth it.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

While most people go to the hardware store to purchase their supplies, I usually go to Amazon to get mine. Amazon has incredible deals on equipment that any serious woodworker would not want to pass up.

Are there any good books for beginners?

Good Clean Fun by Nick Offerman is a great book to get for beginners. Nick Offerman played the infamous woodworker Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. He details some of his personal achievements in this book on the thrill of woodworking and how it can help you grow as a person. I recommend that any aspiring woodworker read this book and learn from it. You’d be surprised what you will gain from it.

How has this changed your life?

I have learned that you must put as much personality into your work as you can. Woodworking is another form of expression that showcases your personality in your work. I feel like many woodworkers are too afraid to think outside of the box whenever it comes to this hobby. They want their work to look exactly like it does in the magazines. Where is the fun in that? Go wild with your designs. Do what your heart desires. Don’t worry about what other people think. Be unapologetically yourself at all times.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

It is very important that you take things slow. Many woodworkers want to do big projects that require a master’s level of skill. Unfortunately, these projects can end up causing you to burn out. You will become frustrated at your inability to create them. This is why it is important to start small and do things that you like. You will slowly build your skills over time by following this method.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I have always enjoyed cooking. Unfortunately, I’m not that great at it.

Hallie Gay Walden Bagley

Hallie Gay Walden Bagley is a true Kentuckian, raised in a 4th-generation horse breeding family. A Double Ivy League graduate (Dartmouth, English Major; Columbia School of Law, Juris Doctorate),  she learned to appreciate education early, so she started a College Admissions Coaching company 15 years ago, because she recalls her exodus from Kentucky to the Northeast at college age. She remembers lying on the floor at her grandparents’ house trying to write the essays for college all by herself and wishing someone could help her. SmartWriting, her College Admissions essay coaching business, arose from the compassion she feels for aspiring teenagers hoping to make their first launch as well and struggling to write their personal narratives. Ram Dass has said, “We are all just walking each other home.” This is what Hallie Gay Walden Bagley tries to do, to walk her students “home” to their own story.

What is your hobby?

I love cooking. I’d say cooking is a hobby of mine.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

My grandmother, Lily, was an amazing cook and she always did everything from scratch. Her two daughters, my aunts cook beautifully as well, and I try to follow in their footsteps. I remember from scratch oyster stew at the Thanksgiving luncheon and from scratch jam cake at Christmas and wonderful from scratch orange sorbet made from fresh-squeezed orange juice. Lily used to always say to all of us, “If you love to eat, you’ll learn to cook!”

Tell us what you love about it.

I find cooking very relaxing. It soothes the mind as you go through the steps. I’m not one of those cooks who does things from her head. I’m dependent on recipes so there’s something about the step by step of a recipe that takes every random thought captive and is as good as Savasana at the end of a long yoga session.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

 I’m a full-on subscriber to The New York Times Cooking Subscription and I have a very elaborate “recipe box” saved in their app. I plan to go to Ballymaloe Ireland Cooking School or perhaps The Cordon Bleu in my off season one day.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Recently, I bought a spiralizer and a hand wand mixer so that you can do soups inside their pot.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

Amazon and William Sonoma. Sometimes Sur la Table.

Are there any good books for beginners?

 I remember one of the few presents my father gave me (not a sentimental sort, my mother always did all that). It was a Beginning Cookbook that taught me how to roast my first chicken. I still have it to this day.

How has this changed your life?

Cooking is a go to whenever I have a free hour, it makes me happy.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Get the recipe to Perla Meyers Provencal Dressing. My mother in law gave me a cookbook by Perla Meyers when we first married, and in the back was this wonderful balsamic dressing by the famous Italian chef. And truly, whenever I eat salad (often) that dressing never fails to provoke lots of compliments. In fact I think it pushing 100% compliment rate. If you are in need of a compliment, make this dressing!

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I love tennis and have started that back up. I used to play competitively, at least at the town and state level, when I was young and now, as an elder statesman, I’m picking it up again. I wish I’d had the patience when I was young to learn golf but tennis will have to do.

Caitlin Craig Lawrence

Yellows and Greens are not often colors associated with a generation obsessed with the very notion of Black and White; colors that have been redefined radically as a movement and a culture. Caitlin Craig Lawrence, like generations before her, introduces a new wave of artists. Renaissance men and women redefining fashion as a means, presenting themselves as makers; revolutionaries to a system of ideals.

Caitlin is a woman of big ideas and a gentle manner, a pioneer of many worlds through fashion. Lawrence’s pieces are reminiscent of her journeys sojourning the world as a child, moving from one place to the other; her collections reveal her innate desires and the words she hardly speaks out. Caitlin Craig Lawrence developed a flair for fashion as a young child who was always enveloped in her mother’s magazines. She spent her hours designing and creating a lot of iconic pieces. When she wasn’t designing, she was a volunteer at an animal shelter. She furthered her passion by attending the prestigious Bauder College, where she was able to turn her hobby into a career. Caitlin transformed her struggles as a child into a portal for others like her younger self to find freedom and home.

What is your definition of fashion design?

When you walk into someone’s home or room, you’re most likely walking into an external expression of the person’s soul. The colors the person wants to be welcomed by every day of their lives, the flowers they will be happy to water, music that makes their hearts giddy, it’s an insight into one’s soul. That’s an easy way of explaining fashion design – splaying your innate thoughts and desires all over fabrics. It gets more interesting that you’re solving a problem by absolutely revealing yourself naked to the world. It’s an irony; you’re exposing your nakedness to cover someone else’s own.

In a world of minimalism, why does your work seem to involve a lot of yellow and green?

Minimalism is a way of diverting attention to the things that matter, focusing on less. Those two colors are the colors I think depict the things that matter. Yellow, for me, represents positivity and expansion, and Green represents Life and being grounded. The result of these two colors is the culmination of a full and satisfying life for all individuals. These two colors play a significant role in our psyche; I want you to wear my pieces, and feel a sense of calm, feel alive. The world won’t happen to you; it’ll be the opposite.

When did you get your big break?

My big break came for me almost immediately after college, I had just moved back to Topeka, Kansas, and I was trying to navigate the industry there, when this enormous opportunity came to me. They were holding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I was asked to dress the local celebrities attending the event. It was such a surreal experience. I was this newbie who had just completed college being trusted with that magnitude of work. It was a lot of work, but the experience and the opportunities that came as a result of that one project are innumerable.

What is your hobby?

Growing up in Kansas, there wasn’t an awful lot to do. If I wasn’t knee deep in some new design or with my godmother learning new mechanics of bringing these designs to life, I was at the animal shelter; and that’s something I’m still very passionate about. I love animals. Dogs are just so welcoming, and they demand nothing but a little attention, so when I do have time, I volunteer at animal shelters. This is one of the things that inspired a new project I’ve been working on: an exclusive line called “Caitlin Craig Lawrence for Canines,” it’s a line of clothing and accessories designed to make your dog look and feel incredible.

What inspired you to get started with fashion?

I found fashion on the covers of magazines my mom had put away; I would pick these magazines up looking at every outfit, analyzing some, critiquing some and redesigning others. When we finally settled in Kansas, I started working with my godmother, who was a seamstress. Fashion is a way of life for me, an expression, and I want to be able to make people feel alive through my pieces.

Tell us what you love about it.

At first, it was just something I did for fun, but I’ve come to realize that those are the areas where we excel. I might start a design and realize I’m going about it all wrong, but the courage to begin again never frustrates me, because I see every piece as a new item creating a story for someone.

Dan Doyle

Dan Doyle is an experienced studio and event photographer based in Queens, New York. Over the past twenty years, he has explored many different facets of his craft, from landscape and architecture photography to headshots and portraits. His studio in Jackson Heights, Queens is a gathering place for artists and creatives.

Dan Doyle Queens resident attended Ohio State University where he majored in art with a concentration in photography. He credits his college professors for his professional career. After graduation and leaving Pleasantville, Ohio, he traveled through Europe, taking photos along the way. His photoblog became popular when he returned from Europe, and it gained him several professional assignments.

Doyle photographs portraits, events, musicians, and headshots. He has also begun to offer photography courses out of his studio. His contributions to the art scene in Queens have brought him a good reputation in the local community.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is hiking. I started hiking when I was in Europe after college graduation. I really enjoyed exploring the countryside around Switzerland and Austria, and I decided to take some trips when I returned to the United States.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I love the solitude and the connection with nature. Since I am a photographer, I am a very visual person. I love seeing the different views of nature and of nearby cities and towns. Hiking is also an excellent form of exercise which helps me keep in shape.

I love to get up in the mountains and see where the plants and trees begin to change. Getting up to the top of a mountain is such a satisfying accomplishment. I relax and eat my lunch at the summit and then take the long way down the mountain. It’s an amazing way to get in touch with nature.

Tell us what you love about it.

I tend to hike by myself, though I occasionally bring friends with me. I don’t participate in any local clubs or activities related to hiking. My job in photography requires a lot of close contact with people, and I often find that I need to unwind and get away from the crowds when I hike.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I have invested in quite a lot of equipment over the past several years. I have a brand new pair of hiking poles which have really helped me on some recent trips to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I have a new hiking pack, boots, and a backpacking stove for when I want to eat a hot meal on the trail.

I also recently bought a food dehydrator so that I can make my own backpacking meals to take with me. That has saved me a lot of money and has also enabled me to bring healthier food with me. Commercial backpacking meals are loaded with salt. I try to eat healthy at all times.

The one thing that I buy almost every time I go shopping is wool socks. I am always looking for the best wool socks and I have dozens of pairs in different weights.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I get most of my supplies at REI. It’s a great store with a huge variety of outdoor equipment. I also order some things on Amazon, but I like to try things on before I buy them. I also like to talk with the people at REI to decide what I should buy.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

My favorite hiking book for beginners is Backpacking by Emerson Woods. It has a great breakdown of all the tools and equipment you need to safely make trips in the outdoors, and it also offers suggestions on how to train for longer trips and bigger climbs. I recommend this book to all of my friends who want to try hiking.

Are there any good books for beginners?

Hiking has brought me a sense of peace. My life in New York is fast-paced, and it is great to have a way to get away from it all. Before I started hiking, I was a little bit overweight, but now that I go out each weekend, I have noticed that I am stronger and more fit. Climbing is great exercise. I have also found that my outdoor photography is better because I have so many chances to practice when I am out on the trail.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

The first piece of advice that I would give is that you absolutely must have a well-fitted, high-quality pair of hiking boots. You also need to wear wool socks — there are many technical materials out there now which aren’t itchy and sweaty — and you need to carry plenty of water. Carry more water than you think you will need, because hiking is thirsty work. Also, you should carry emergency supplies in case you are stranded on the trail overnight for reasons that are out of your control.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to cook for my family and friends.

Jonah Engler

Jonah Engler is an intrepid philanthropist and business owner from Brooklyn, New York. He enjoys every aspect of the giving community from mentoring young kids to running his own charities. His background allows him to bring unique methods and ideas to the table as a business owner. Jonah has developed efficient and synergistic methods to deliver the best aspects of non-profits. However, Jonah is not always all about business; he enjoys seeking out new foods, the next best cup of coffee, and family time with his children. Jonah was first introduced to charity through his mother at a young age. He carries the tradition on through his children today. Jonah believes including his family in his endeavors creates a closer bond and develops values they can learn from. He wishes more organizations followed what they preach when it comes to charities. If more organizations followed the methods Jonah created, more can be accomplished, and the affects can carry into their mission productively.

What is your hobby?

It is difficult to just pick one, but I would say giving back. I really enjoy running and working with charities.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Charity was instilled in me when I was young, my mother works for United Federation of Teachers (UFT) where she showed me the inner-workings of a charity and all the good they can do.

Tell us what you love about it.

The aspect of giving back and helping others is the absolute favorite part of what I do

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There are many that deserve to be mentioned; however, that list would be exhaustive. The top charities I work with, aside from my own, are Children of Promise, National Breast Cancer Foundation, AIDS fund, and Robinhood Foundation.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I have not personally had to invest in much other than the typical laptop. However, we have acquired many recreational items and electronics to help others through our charities.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

We look to get equipment through local sources to support the community further.

Are there any good books for beginners?

Nonprofit Startup: A Simple Guide to Starting a Charity and Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits are both excellent books to help anyone interested in starting a charity.

How has this changed your life?

Charities have drastically changed the way I act and treat others. Not that I was a bad person before or anything (Chuckles), it’s more that I engage in conversation more, listen to what people have to say, show interest in what interests them, for starters. Growing up in a city where everyone is in a constant rush, it can completely change your outlook if you just take the extra time to converse with others.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

If you want to start a charity for a cause you believe in, first make sure there isn’t already an existing one. Make sure you have the passion and legitimate means to put forth the effort in creating a startup. Starting a charity is not an easy task and it will take a lot to achieve, but if the cause is worth it, it is worth it to do.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

When I am not working with others you can find me eating food and drinking coffee. My passion for delicious food and coffee is more than enough to be considered a hobby.

Matt Redhawk

Matt Redhawk is the founder and CEO of My Patriot Supply. Providing a range of survival and preparedness products to a growing public, the company has achieved an amazing level of success in the past ten years. Matt Redhawk is not only an entrepreneur, but he is also an author and filmmaker. Together with his business dealings, Redhawk believes in living off the grid. He has made a homestead in the wilderness of Idaho, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

Redhawk focuses on providing safe and affordable solutions for families and individuals who are concerned about the possibility of a natural disaster or another disruptive event.

Matt advises others on business and preparation topics alike through public speaking. He has also mentored many other beginning entrepreneurs, helping their companies achieve success in highly competitive environments. He is particularly interested in helping new entrepreneurs learn to manage their money, believing that solid financial foundations are the key to success in this economy.

Matthew believes in the value of teamwork in building a solid business plan. He encourages his mentees to build productive business relationships with their employees, customers, and investors. With proper education and follow-through, business owners can find success in their own chosen fields.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is fly fishing.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

When I was younger, my grandfather loved to fish. I often tagged along on his fishing trips, and I spent a lot of happy days by a river or stream. As my life became more stressful, I decided that I needed an outdoor hobby to keep myself from feeling too cooped up in the office. I bought some elementary fly-fishing gear and decided to teach myself.

Tell us what you love about it.

It was frustrating to learn by myself at first, but I quickly came to love the sport. I love the quiet in the woods. It’s amazing to be by yourself in the wilderness and to feel such a connection with nature. I also believe in living off the land as much as possible, so I always appreciate a fresh fish when I can get it.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Not really, though I have been encouraged to join a local hunting and fishing club. I just don’t have the time right now to devote to joining such a group. Fishing is my “me” time and I sneak away whenever I can.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Fly fishing doesn’t require much of an investment — a fly rod, some waders, and flies — but the prices can add up quickly. Whenever I’m in a fly shop, I lose myself looking for the perfect flies for my next fishing trip. I’ve learned to tie my own flies, both for fun and to save money with the sport. I have recently bought a new pair of waders because you can’t cut corners when the entire lower half of your body is in freezing cold Idaho waters. I have also recently replaced my old fly rod.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy most of my supplies at a local fishing shop. I have bought some things online, but it’s nice to be able to handle the merchandise yourself before buying it. I know this is ironic coming from someone whose major income source is online sales, but each method of buying gear has its advantages.

Are there any good books for beginners?

There are many great books that can get you started with fly fishing. My favorite is “Fly Fishing for Beginners” by Chris Hansen. It explains some of the confusing topics in fishing and keeps you from getting bogged down in any one area of the sport.

How has this changed your life?

I am constantly on the go, and fishing forces me to slow down and enjoy the moment. I have a lot of demands on my time, between the businesses, my film work, my writing, and spending time with my family. It’s given me a way to unwind and to enjoy the wilderness as it was meant to be enjoyed. As my daughters grow up, I hope to introduce them to the sport. I want to share the feeling of peace with them.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

When you’re just starting out, fly fishing can be incredibly frustrating. Spend some time teaching yourself to cast on dry land before you try it in the water. Try to stay away from trees and overhanging wires or you’ll get caught. Trust me, you don’t want to do that. If you can, find a local friend who can give you some pointers in person. I learned by myself, and it was a challenge to be sure.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to grill. I have been practicing smoking meat and I think I’m getting good at it. My wife is always happy when I can do the cooking.

Colby Lee Burke

Colby Lee Burke is a popular travel writer based in both Charleston, South Carolina and Portland, Oregon. He has a gift for capturing the essence of the culture in the cities he visits. His work is frequently published by both large and niche travel publications. He grew up in Portland and attended the University of Oregon as an English major. His sophisticated writing style appeals to readers from a wide variety of backgrounds. He is also working on a novel to be published in the coming year.

Burke’s favorite travel destinations include Edinburgh, Scotland, and Florence, Italy. He enjoys immersing himself in local culture and daily life around the world. He has also taken fruitful trips to Germany, France, and Japan. He is planning a trip to Antarctica in the coming months, where he plans to spend time with the scientists who are making breakthroughs in their field.

Burke is well-read thanks to his background as an English major. He enjoys works of literary fiction and criticism. His favorite author is Paulo Coelho. Whenever he travels, he takes a few good novels with him to read in case of layovers.

Burke especially enjoys writing about newly opened accommodations. He is able to provide an objective review of new hotels and bed and breakfasts, giving his readers solid information that they can use to plan their own travel experiences. He is also drawn toward writing about local festivals, enjoying the special activities that make each city unique. Colby Lee Burke Hilton Head is a valued member of the travel writers’ community, and his work is much sought-after by publications at all levels.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is swimming.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I’ve always loved to swim. I learned at a very young age thanks to lessons at our local YMCA. My parents felt like swimming was an important life skill that would keep me and my siblings safe in the future as well as giving us a fitness activity that we could enjoy throughout our lives. I was a member of my high school swim team and I never lost my passion for the sport as I grew up.

Tell us what you love about it.

Being in the water is incredibly peaceful. The water is its own special world, and the troubles and concerns of daily life just melt away when I’m swimming. My life is stressful, and it’s good for me to have a centering activity. I also love that it keeps me in good shape. I need to be in good shape for my job, and for its own sake as well.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I don’t belong to any organizations related to swimming. It is a solitary pursuit for me. Swimming is where I find peace when I am by myself. I might consider joining a group if I could find one in either Portland or Charleston. I do belong to private pool clubs in both cities, where I can get in my workouts in a safe setting with a lifeguard.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Thankfully, swimming is a sport that doesn’t require much by way of equipment. A good quality swimsuit and a towel is all you really need. I bought an Apple Watch when they came out with a model that could be submerged and track your swimming workouts. That has helped me integrate my swimming activities into my total fitness plan. I would definitely recommend that anyone who is serious about working out buy a fitness tracker of any kind.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy most of my supplies at a specialty website for swimmers. It’s called All American Swim. The site has great prices and easy shipping. I also buy things from Amazon and from local sporting goods stores. I do like to try on my new swimwear, and it’s hard to try things on and then return them if you buy online.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I would recommend that novice swimmers check out Swimming Made Easy by Ace McCloud. It’s a great primer on the basics of swimming and also helps novice swimmers build their skills. I have used this book for hints on how to improve my strokes. The book also helps new swimmers build their confidence in the water.

How has this changed your life?

Swimming has changed my life in so many ways. It is a meditative activity for me. Whenever I am feeling tense, I try to get to the pool and put in some laps. The repetitive rhythm of swimming soothes me when I am feeling anxious. I also enjoy competing with myself to beat my personal bests in the pool.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

It can be intimidating to see experienced swimmers in the other lanes at the pool, but remember that it’s never too late to learn. I would recommend that you take private lessons if possible so you can be supported by a dedicated coach.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to read and hike. I hope to return to Yosemite National Park in the near future.

Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk

Travel blogger and professional photographer, Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk is a living testimony of what can be achieved through hard work and persistence. The Connecticut born blogger works for a Boston based consulting firm. His work entails traveling and offering insightful reviews about culture, food and the arts. Stepaniuk has traveled extensively in the US and Europe. He speaks English, Germany, Polish and French, and is currently studying elementary Mandarin. Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk holds a Degree in English from the prestigious Northeastern University in Boston. He receives inspiration from family and the audiences who regularly visit his popular blog. Outside of work, Stephen Stepaniuk enjoys reading, participating in team sports and volunteering.

What is your hobby?

It is incidental that I enjoy traveling, blogging and photography as both career and hobby. The visual art form that is photography gives me the opportunity to immortalize the things I care about. The gadgets I use are also fun and addictive, thanks to fast-changing technology and competition.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

Immediately after graduating from Northeastern University in Boston, I took up a travel blogging position offered by a consulting firm based in Boston. Traveling around the world and supporting my stories with photos seemed like a great idea and career for an aspiring young man. To hone my skills in photography, I simply went through the user manual and applied what I had learned.

Tell us what you love about it.

When I was creating the blog, I invested a lot of effort in building a mailing list, which helps me update readers on every development. To track and see the kind of traffic I was attracting, I use Google Analytics. It’s always interesting to see readers from all around the world visit my blog and leave fascinating commentaries. I enjoy blogging about captivating places and places I plan to visit.

Are there any professional groups you’re a part of that are related to your hobby?

Working with other travel bloggers has always been an eye opener since it gives me the opportunity to learn and experience new things. I am a paid up member of the Professional Travel Blogger Association, an entity that formulates guidelines and policies aimed at advancing the trade while encouraging respect for intellectual rights, accountability, and professionalism.

Have you invested in any equipment, if so please share some of the things you’ve bought?

I always have my laptop, notebook, camera, and pen with me. I can recall my first blogging camera was a point-to-shoot, Canon PowerShot G7 capable of shooting 1080p Full HD video. It came with several interesting features like the screen tilt option that allows the user to clearly see the frames. I recently bought a GoPro Hero8 camera, which is highly durable and suited for outdoor adventure. I have also invested in a compact tripod, camera bag and a couple of lenses.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

Most of the stuff I use are purchased at the stationery stores and online retailers. We have a couple of stationeries and departmental stores where I live.

Are there any good books for beginners?

The 3 books I would gladly recommend for beginners are the widely popular “Picture Perfect Social Media” by Jennifer Young and Bill Bryson’s “Never here or there”. The other beginner’s essential is the book titled “Vagabonding” by Rolf Potts. Bryson’s book is an eye-opener to all travel adventure seekers since it offers a plain view of the travel experience. In her book, fiction and romantic novel writer Jennifer offers readers guidelines on ways to improve their social media and photography skills. These skills are crucial for any aspiring travel blogger. Lastly, Rolf’s “Vagabonding” gives insightful information about practical tour planning.

How has this changed your life?

Traveling and photography has changed my life and perception on various issues. I can quickly mention a few. It’s given me the platform to share my world; opened the doors to numerous networking possibilities and a chance to earn a decent living.

What would you tell others starting out in this hobby?

It is very important to create useful contents, beginning with something people close to you like family and friends will appreciate. As the blog grows, you can add interesting stuff like photos and videos to make your blog more fascinating. Once in a while, you can invite a guest to offer a different perspective on issues. When all is said and done, you’re persistence and hard work will pay off.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I enjoy taking part in team sports like lacrosse and baseball as well as volunteering at high impact, communal events.

Brandon Oda

With an unusual combination of skills in photography and software engineering, Brandon Oda has become one of the top photographers in the San Francisco Bay area. He is involved in both portrait and landscape photography. Unique among photographers in his field, Oda has created his own photo editing software. With complete control over the creative process, he is able to create stunning works of art.

Brandon Oda is a Los Angeles native. In high school, he was interested in both the arts and the sciences. His parents supported him in pursuing an artistic career. In college, he studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. His time at RISD helped him to come into his own as an artist. He sold his first photographs to galleries while he was still a student.

Oda settled in San Francisco and opened his own photography studio. He is continually inspired by the fantastic beauty of California. With his wife and friends, he takes road trips around the state and photographs its diverse landscapes. He has a special interest in sunset and evening photography.

Portraits are a more recent addition to Oda’s portfolio. He photographs models and ordinary people, creating insightful images that reveal the subject’s personality. In his San Francisco studio, Oda hones his craft while fine-tuning his photo editing software. He has achieved great success in the photography world at a relatively young age.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is mountain biking. I love to get out on the trail.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I enjoy hiking, but I was looking for an outdoor hobby with more adrenaline. A friend got me into mountain biking. There are so many amazing landscapes to explore in California. I feel like I’ll always have new places to go.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love being out in nature most of all. I love the quiet of mountain biking. It’s something I tend to do alone, and I love having the time and space to myself. I love the physical challenge, and I often stop to take photos along the way. I’m not the fastest mountain biker, but I enjoy every mile.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I belong to a local trail riders’ club. We get together for social rides, and we raise money to help preserve the wild places we bike in. I’ve made many friends in this group, and I recommend that every mountain biker join a club in their area.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I’ve invested quite a lot of money in my bike and supplies. It’s not a cheap hobby, but if you take good care of your gear, it will last a long time. I recently purchased a new bike. It has made my rides so much more enjoyable. I also bought a new bike rack for the back of my car. That way, I have room for my bike and my wife’s when we go out together. I am trying to get her into mountain biking, but she is more interested in hiking.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy nearly all of my supplies at my local bike shop. I believe in shopping locally, even if some items may be cheaper when you buy them online. A local bike shop is a fixture in a community, and it helps bring riders together while outfitting them for great rides. My favorite thing about shopping at the local bike shop is the knowledgeable staff. No matter what kind of problems you have, the local bike shop can help you. They are also great at maintaining and repairing my bike when necessary.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I recommend The Mountain Biker’s Training Bible by Joe Friel. This book breaks down the process of training and makes it easy for novice riders. Getting fit to ride a mountain bike is uniquely challenging, but it’s worth it when you can ride longer and faster.

How has this changed your life?

Getting outdoors feeds my soul. I spend a lot of my time indoors editing photos, and when the week is over, I just want to get outside. Mountain biking has brought me a lot of joy. It also brings me a feeling of inner peace after I finish a ride. The “biker’s high” is strong and keeps me coming back for more. I love to get out on the trail at sunrise and enjoy the whole day in the woods.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Make friends at your local bike shop. You can be properly fitted for a bike as well as ask any questions you might have. Bikes need regular tune-ups, so you will need to take your bike into the shop a few times a year. When you become a regular at the local bike shop, you’ll make lasting connections.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to swim. I swim several times a week as a means of keeping fit.

Ronnie Brown Mansfield

Ronnie Brown Mansfield is an agent for change in the school administration of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the course of his work as a middle school vice principal, he has been responsible for creating a safe school environment for all students. He has also been involved with teacher training, making sure that each educator has the resources to help students succeed in school and in life.

Brown attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He majored in Elementary Education and took his first professional job as a fourth- and fifth-grade math and science teacher. While he found being an educator rewarding, he gained an interest in joining the administration. Studying at night and on the weekends, he was able to receive a vice principal certification. His strong work ethic enabled him to attend night school while working a full day at school.

In addition to his work as an assistant principal, Brown coaches football, softball, and basketball. He believes strongly that athletic pursuits enhance a student’s experience and teach lessons that can only be learned on the field. He has also been an assistant football coach on the college level, working with wide receivers.

In his career as an educator and as a principal, Ronnie Brown Mansfield has upheld strong principles of hard work, respect, and communication. The teachers and staff members at his school respect him and look up to his example.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is photography. I love to capture new ways of looking at the world around me.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

I got started with photography when I was a teenager. I used to take pictures for my high school newspaper. I learned to develop photos in the darkroom, and I took several art classes to develop my eye for composition. My newspaper advisor recommended that I take photography classes in college, but I wasn’t able to do so due to the demands of my Education degree. I am largely self-taught as a result.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love capturing special memories of the places I’ve been. I love RV travel with my family, and I take many photos of the landscapes in the places we visit. I also enjoy portrait photography with my family and pets. I especially love to capture majestic landscapes like those in our National Parks.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

I attend a local photographer’s club. A few times a year, we get together to share a meal and enjoy looking at slideshows of each other’s work. It’s nice to have a place to share photos, other than online. I feel like I post so many scenic photos to Facebook, my friends and family are overwhelmed with them. My photography friends truly appreciate each shot.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I have a lot of specialized photography equipment. Photography can be an expensive hobby. Since I’m an educator, I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on these things. I do as much research as I can to make sure I am getting the most value for my dollar. Recently I bought a new tripod which has enhanced my ability to take landscape shots.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy most of my supplies online through Amazon. I like the deals and I like the Prime shipping. I also visit a local photography store from time to time.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I recommend Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson to all of my friends who are thinking about trying photography. It can be a little bit technical, but it walks novice photographers through the inner workings of their cameras. It’s a great book for when you are ready to graduate from taking photos with your smartphone to using a proper digital camera.

How has this changed your life?

Photography gives me something calming to focus on. Life as an assistant principal is stressful. There are always various conflicts that need to be managed. When I look at one of my photographs on the wall of my office, I’m reminded of the serenity I felt when I captured the images. This helps to ground me on the most difficult days.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

I would advise that anyone who wants to start photography should take a beginner’s class through their local art school or adult education center. There’s no substitute for an expert’s guidance. I am largely self-taught myself, but I wish I had had the benefit of a teacher’s knowledge when I was starting out.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Travel is my other major hobby. I love to take my wife and four kids on the road in our RV. Six people in an RV is a little bit of a squeeze, especially now that two of my children are grown. Even though we live in close quarters on the road, we enjoy spending time together. I usually plan our trips around the best photo opportunities, while my daughters suggest that we stop in cities with music festivals.