Hobby Jam

What People Do For Fun

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Category: Interview (page 1 of 9)

Brian Setencich

Brian Setencich is a General Manager with First Service Residential, a property management company in San Francisco. He has a background in public service, beginning on the Fresno city council. He was elected to the California State Assembly where he spent time working on issues that are important to all Californians. He then went on to work for the 911 Emergency Response Project for the City and County of San Francisco, ensuring that all citizens had safe and effective access to emergency services. After working in public service, Setencich made a move into the private sector. He managed Market Square, a major development in San Francisco.

Brian Setencich played professional basketball, developing his knack for teamwork. He has been involved with fundraising for Valley Children’s Hospital as the Donor Research Coordinator. Another charitable project includes volunteering for animal rescue organizations.

Setencich is a seasoned businessman and deeply connected to California. His business experience and charitable endeavors enhance the San Francisco community.

What is your hobby?

My hobbies include exercise, reading and cooking, albeit simple cooking.

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

I taught myself to cook. I have always been interested in simple healthy food.  My palate is very simple so I wanted to make simple healthy dishes that were still tastey.  Since I’ve been cooking for several years now, I feel like I can a variety of dishes that are simple, healthy and still taste good for others who try them.

Tell us what you love about it.

Cooking is a great way to relax. When I’m in the kitchen, I stop worrying about work and other obligations. I love putting a great meal on the table for friends and family.  Whenever I eat out, I take note of ideas to try in my own kitchen.

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

I enjoy attending some cultural food festivals.  Not only is the food good but it’s a good way to learn more about different cultures and have fun at the same time.

Have you had to invest in any equipment? If so, please share the things you have purchased.

Well, not too much but when I do,I try to avoid buying things that have only one purpose.  For example, instead of specialty cutters and slicers, I have invested in a good quality set of chef’s knives.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I’ve bought supplies at and Williams Sonoma.  They always have a creative assortment of products, and the higher price is worth it in terms of quality.  I have also purchased some things at the local hardware store, which has a surprisingly good assortment of things.

How has this changed your life?

Cooking is a fantastic hobby because I can use it every day.  It’s brought me a lot of confidence and has also taught me a lot about the world through various cuisines. Sharing food with my friends is so satisfying.  Cooking also teaches patience and the ability to follow directions. Baking is more precise than cooking. When you’re cooking, you have the ability to improvise a little more, but with baking, you really have to follow the base recipe or you’ll come up with something strange.

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

Don’t be intimidated. Start small, using basic recipes, and work your way up. Before long, you’ll be cooking big meals for everyone to enjoy. I do have a piece of cooking-specific advice.  Clean as you go along. If you clean as you go along, you won’t be left with a messy kitchen at the end.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I enjoy reading and staying fit.  I played basketball professionally when I was younger but now I just like to shoot baskets by myself if I have a little time.

Grant Lawson

Grant Lawson is a marketer, consultant, and coach with his current focus being the lead crowdfunding strategist at InventureX .

He attended California State University, Northridge where he acquired a B.S. in Computer Science. His expertise lies in product development and crowdfunding.

What is your hobby?
I like to perform different writing exercises to encourage the free flow of thoughts and ideas. I can put the best ideas to work. It helps me to pinpoint exactly what I want to execute.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?
I drew the conclusion that some of the most successful people in the world are authors, readers, or both. It’s less of a hobby and more of a way of life. The combination of being a writer and an avid reader is one of the ways that I can ensure my continued success. I’d like to think of myself as a machine that acquires and disseminates knowledge. I got started with this hobby because I needed a way to churn out ideas that solve problems. To validate that a product development idea is good, I take the best ideas I’ve written and discuss them with potential customers.

What inspired you?
I’m inspired by the work of some of the world’s greatest thinkers and writers. I also get inspired by the products that I’m grateful to have. I think “What is it that makes me grateful for this?”, and “How can I create products that other people are grateful for?”

Tell us what you love about it.
I love writing as a creative expression because I can have fun while being productive. That’s the sweet spot-working without making it feel like work. Writing allows me to access the imaginative part of my brain. I can take a break from being technical and logical. Also, there is something therapeutic and relaxing about it. I feel like a more balanced person once I’ve written that day or delivered some of my creative material to my video team at StudioX.

Are there any groups you’re part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?
Yes, Toastmasters. Being that I’m in product development, I often have to relay thoughts and concepts to other people. I’m a member of this speaking group to keep my communication and presentation skills refined.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.
I mainly invest in tools that augment my current marketing stack of tools. I have benefited from using tools like Clickfunnels, Crazy Egg, and wireframing tools. I use Aha! For product roadmapping and IdeaScale to gather opinions and gain feedback.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?
The vast majority of the tools I need to complete my work are online. Primarily, crowdsourcing occurs online. Therefore, the things that I need to get the job done can be found there as well.

Are there any good books for beginners?
Absolutely. You should be reading no matter what your level of acuity is. For marketers, I recommend Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. I also recommend The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

How has this changed your life?
These books have taught me the crucial steps to take in order to build a thriving personal brand and maintain the motivation to achieve.Is far too easy to be thrown off of your path in life, even with an established direction and approaching goal. These books help me maintain the right state of mind to continue being a standout leader.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
If you want to write or be a marketer, just do it. You can study something forever, you can have a mentor for years, but it all comes down to the moment doing. Set a clear goal and start going for it 100 miles per hour. No matter what your skill level is, as you continue to “Do”, you will get better. If you’re having trouble getting started, simply do something today and you’ve already begun. Approach each day with the mindset that you’re going to do 1% better than you did yesterday.

Are there any other hobbies you have?
I enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes along with working out. I’m not much of a runner, I prefer bodybuilding. I like to push myself to physical limits and lift as much as I can. It’s extremely encouraging. No matter what activity I do after I workout, I feel like I can dominate and conquer it.

Arshad Madhani

Arshad Madhani is a digital marketing and consulting expert who specializes in helping clients, from expert marketers to novice entrepreneurs, create innovative and engaging marketing campaigns that redefine their brands. Madhani earned his MBA from the Texas A&M International University and is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia.

What is your hobby?

I’m a busy guy but I try to be consistent with my running. It’s the one thing that I try not to miss out on, aside from my morning cup of coffee.

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

I started running back in college. I was already juggling a lot of activities at that time, and I realized that I was burning out too quickly. I chose running to counter all the sitting down I was doing, and it has been a part of my daily routine ever since.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love how running gives me that time and space where my mind can just be blank. Most of time, my mind is on overdrive, thinking about strategies and new ideas for campaigns, and being on this mode for most of the day can be exhausting. Running is simple, it lets me breathe mentally and physically, and it allows me to clear my head for an hour or two. Also, running is great cardio.

If you read my article in Noobpreneur.com about how to unwind, I emphasized the need for physical activity. Running does it for me because it gets my blood flowing as I allow my mind to just wander. At the end of every run, I always feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next task on my plate.

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

Not really. I view running as something that is personal to me, that’s part of the time that I give to myself and no one else, so I prefer to do it alone, as opposed to doing it as part of a group. I have nothing against group runs, but with my schedule and the fact that I run anytime I’m free, the only option that I have is to run by myself.

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

I try to invest in basic equipment, like a good pair of running shoes and a runner’s watch just to see how many miles I’ve covered. Currently, I’m using a Forerunner sports watch by Garmin. I usually buy running shoes from Nike, but I also use running shoes from other brands like Adidas and New Balance. As long as it offers good support and protects your knees, it’s a good running shoe for me.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I get my running supplies from your typical sports stores but I also buy online.

Are there any good books for beginners?

The Beginning Runner’s Handbook is the first book that comes to mind. This covers everything that you need to know if you are totally new to running, from safety tips to how to get the most out of every run.

How has this changed your life?

The book makes running easy to understand and actually encourages you to make the decision to run every day. Although I started running fairly early in my life, I admit that I really didn’t know how to run properly. If I had not read this book before I began my daily running routine, I’d be dealing with a lot of running-related injuries by now. If you don’t know the first thing about running, this should be the first book on your list.

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

Learn the basics before you run, especially if you want to make this a daily habit. Know the proper running techniques and take it slow to avoid injury. You will feel sore in the first day or two, but keep pushing. You will get better in time and the rewards will be worth it.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I like to listen to music. During short breaks at the office you will find me with headphones on, listening to a track on my playlist. Music is a great stress reliever and I can pop it in when I just have a couple of minutes free in between client meetings or calls.

Learn more about Arshad Madhani at www.arshadmadhani.com.

Monsignor Kenneth Steffen

Monsignor Kenneth Steffen was born in Effingham, Illinois. He was the only one of fifteen siblings who took on the calling to the priesthood. He attributes his family with seeding and nurturing him to his vocation.

According to Monsignor Steffen, “his father had dedicated him to God at a very early age to consider the priesthood, and my mother passed on to me the great gift of faith by practicing it in daily life.” His brothers and sisters supported his decision as well and thanks to the passionate and fierce support of his family, he became the person he is today.

He was ordained to the Priesthood at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in May of 1984. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Cardinal Glennon College in philosophy and a double master’s degree of divinity and in Theology from Kenrick Seminary. In addition, he holds a doctorate of ministry.

Monsignor Steffens is currently serving as Chaplain at Saint Francis Hospital Litchfield Illinois.

What is your hobby?

My hobbies are reading to help make my mind stay sharp, learning more about the computer and the technological advancements of today. In addition, I thoroughly enjoy working out and staying in shape, sharing dinners, and leading pilgrimages to sacred places.

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

Some of my hobbies were started as a child when we were all taught the importance of reading, and family time. We were taught that we should be well rounded, whether it be physical, spiritual, emotional, or religious. Traveling and taking pilgrimages came later, as I was inspired by taking groups of strangers on a trip and then return with the closeness of spiritual upon return.

Tell us what you love about it.

What I love about it is witnessing the spiritual awakening that comes from such an experience.

A pilgrimage is the best of both worlds because you can go on a tour and you would see everything a pilgrim would see. But the value of going on a Catholic pilgrimage is that we not only see everything, but we celebrate every aspect as we go. It is truly a blessing to behold.

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

Yes, I am the Chaplin for the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in the Holy Land. I am also Chaplin for several ethnic groups such as the Filipino community, as well as the German and Spanish communities.

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

I create three booklets to prepare and assist with each individual’s experience. The first booklet is a description of the richness and meaning of a pilgrimage. The second is the itinerary we will be experiencing. It also provides a personal journal for them to take notes at each shrine that we visit. The third booklet is a follow-up book where they can describe the grace, value, and experience they shared of the pilgrimage.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

The first suggestion I always give is to google the places they will be going. The second suggestion is to pray. There is always a reason for grace in such gifts, having clarity is good to know. Also, check with your priest to see if there are petitions of prayer requested for the location you will be visiting. Reading about the meaning of a pilgrimage would be advised as well.

Are there any good books for beginners?

The Life of a Pilgrim

A movie The Way – Which is an actual movie about a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain

How has this changed your life?

It has broadened my understanding of the church. You see people from all over the world and of all religious persuasions and at all levels of faith. I think it’s important to understand every aspect of that.

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

I would first suggest that you find out why you want to go. Prepare by speaking with others who have had the experience. Prepare by watching DWTN, where you can watch others on a pilgrimage. They should also think of a place that they have heard of such as Fatima or Rome or the Holy Land where you can walk the footsteps of Jesus, or Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. People find that their whole understanding of Christ changes. After they come home, the scriptures come alive because you visited these places it brings home the on-going aspect of it.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Going out to dinner and trying different foods. I enjoy switching it up every once in a while so I can taste foods that I normally don’t get to enjoy. Doing so allows me to be grateful for the different variety of dishes that the fine world has to offer.

You can learn more and follow Monsignor at:

Kelly Hyman

Kelly Hyman is a brilliant woman with a passion for helping people. This has been with her throughout her life. This actress turned lawyer has enjoyed knowing she can make a positive impact in the lives of the people who can’t always advocate for themselves.

Kelly attended UCLA for her undergraduate degree in communications. UCLA was a natural choice after growing up between New York City and Southern California. Having been raised by a single mother who was a professional tennis player and teacher, she was put in touch with her first agent at five years old. Through that means she entered the acting venue as a child and throughout the years that followed she acted in many professional acting jobs. After numerous commercials, movies, and stage performances she found herself in television roles as well. She credits Harry Mastrogeorge for her success as an actress as he taught her the craft of acting. Those skills are still a part of her today. To this day, she continues to be a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Kelly Hyman’s acting history has lent itself to her career as a lawyer. Because of the experience of being in different roles, she has found herself equipped to understand her client’s perspective better. She can identify with them and that helps her advocate effectively on their behalf.
Today Kelly lives in Colorado with her husband.

What is your hobby?

When I not passionately advocating on behalf of those who cannot do so for themselves I enjoy volunteering or traveling.

How did you get started with this hobby?

Since I was a young girl, I would love to travel.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

Traveling enables me to see different cultures and different country. Since enables me to see the world where different people live and experience there culture and environment.

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

I have spent money on my airfare and hotels.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

When we want to travel to a different country, we will look online for trips, airlines, and housing.

Are there any good books for beginners?

1,000 places to see before you die by Patricia Schultz.

How has your hobby changed your life?

It has enabled me to become a better person.

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

Set a goal to see three new places every year and then go travel and enjoy.

Follow Kelly Hyman on:

Sean Seshadri

Sean Seshadri is a tech blogger and computer programmer based in Seattle, Washington. His broad experience in the technology sector, as well as his love of teaching, makes his blog required reading for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of today’s market.

He attended Central Washington University, where he received a degree in Computer Science. In college, Seshadri frequently helped others with their computer science coursework through his work as a teaching assistant. His experience with explaining complex topics to a variety of students of all ability levels has enhanced his blog.

Sean Seshadri is an avid traveler who frequently attends tech conferences around the world. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with a wide variety of people, and he constantly adds to his skill set by interacting with others in his field. He believes in enhancing the travel experience through the newest apps and gadgets. Using travel apps, he can find the best hotels, restaurants, and activities in his destination cities.

Outside of work, Seshadri spends time with his wife and two daughters as well as their two rescue dogs. He is involved in volunteering for an animal shelter with his family. He plays the guitar and is an avid amateur chef.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is cooking. I enjoy making new and exciting dishes for my family and friends. It can be challenging to find new dishes that my girls will eat, and I’ve taken that on as a personal challenge.

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

I’ve always been interested in food and cooking. When I was a kid, I used to watch Julia Child on PBS. My mother wasn’t much of a cook, and she was amused that I spent so much time watching food shows. As I got a little older, I became interested in experimenting in the kitchen. I made a lot of messes and made some bad food before I started to learn what I was doing.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love introducing my friends and family to new flavors. I am constantly looking up new recipes to try. I love to entertain, and I am happiest in the kitchen with friends around me. It’s so satisfying to see someone enjoying one of your dishes. If I find a new dish that my girls enjoy, I’m especially proud of myself. They can be picky eaters.

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

Not as such where cooking is concerned, but my wife and I are members of a rotating supper club that moves between members’ homes. I’ve picked up ideas for exciting new dishes from the supper club.

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

I have an entire kitchen full of equipment. My wife is constantly complaining that we have no more storage space and that I should stop buying things for the kitchen. Recently I bought a large mortar and pestle to grind spices by hand. I also recently purchased a new chef’s knife. A good chef’s knife is the cook’s best friend in the kitchen.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I buy many things at Williams Sonoma. They have an amazing variety of baking and cooking equipment, appliances, and serving ware. The store at our local mall knows me by name. I also buy things through Amazon, especially the smaller and less expensive gadgets.

Recently I bought a food dehydrator, and I intend to make healthy homemade jerky for a travel snack. My daughters are excited about making dried fruit. Another recent purchase is a sous vide machine. This cooks food in a warm water bath which brings the food to an exact temperature so that it is always fresh and moist.

Are there any good books for beginners?

There are so many great books out there for beginners. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it might be wise to start from scratch with the basics. My favorite beginner level cookbooks are I’m Just Here for the Food by Alton Brown and How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. I turn to the Bittman cookbook frequently when I’m looking for recipes to adapt.

How has this changed your life?

Cooking has enhanced my life since I was a teenager. I truly enjoy feeding people and giving them exciting new dishes to try. My wife claims that my food convinced her to go out with me, so it has had true life-changing effects.

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

Don’t be afraid, just jump in. Follow a simple recipe at first. Be sure that you have all of your ingredients and equipment ready before you cook – this is called a mise en place in French. One of the biggest beginner mistakes is to crash around the kitchen doing prep while things are cooking.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love playing the guitar – though I’m not very good at it – and spending time with our dogs. Taking the dogs for long walks and hikes is so relaxing.

Tana Taylor

Tana & Rose Photography is one of the fastest growing boutique studios in California. The founders of the studio, Tana Ava Taylor, and Rose Hamilton have been friends for many years and decided to open their photography business because of a shared love of capturing images of their family and friends. The growth of the business has been based around capturing whimsical, fun images along with the popular Tana Taylor adoption packages. Tana Taylor comes from a family history including the adoption of children which makes her decision to create user-friendly Ava Rose Taylor adoption packages a personal project. Growing across the state of California, Tana & Rose Photography is one of the most popular startup studios in the U.S. for the impressive work being done by the founders.

What is your hobby?

I don’t get a lot of free time, so when I do, I like to relax with my family. Recently, I have been exploring the many options in California for hiking around some impressive mountains. Getting out into the open air allows me to spend time with my children away from cell phones, games consoles, and the other daily distractions of modern life. Hiking is a great way to stay fit and make sure my kids are staying active on a regular basis.

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

My family spent a weekend in Washington State, and we decided to take a hike up Poo Poo Point. It wasn’t a very long hike, but it was steep and difficult for us to complete as novice walkers, but we did find our love of hiking when we reached a viewing area giving us a clear look at the impressive Mount Rainier. After we completed the hike, the kids were bitten by the walking bug and wanted to find more every weekend.

Tell us what you love about it.

For myself, it is the chance to enjoy some quiet time in the natural world. Of course, I do love spending time with my family, but I also love the silence I can find on the side of a mountain. We also love the fact there are many hiking opportunities close to some major cities offering great photographic opportunities for me to enjoy.

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

My children are school age with a major interest in history which we try to encourage and recently joined the Oregon-California Trails Association. This group finds trails and hikes based around the passage of pioneers to and from the Northwest and California. The group is also looking to preserve many of the trails threatened by deforestation and construction which is of great historical importance.

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

Sturdy walking shoes are a must when you are looking to become a serious walker through difficult terrain. On our first hike up Poo Poo Point, we wore sneakers and had sore feet and blisters by the time we made it back to our hotel. One item I did purchase recently is a hydration pack similar to a backpack which carries water. I am trying to reduce my footprint on the planet by not using plastic water bottles, and a hydration pack is making this an easier task to complete.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I enjoy going to sporting goods stores and small hiking stores in the areas we visit, but I do buy some items Online. I think it is important to support small, independent stores providing more than just equipment. I like to find small stores and make a purchase which allows me to talk with the owners who usually know where the best trails are located.

Are there any good books for beginners?

After we finished our hike up Poo Poo Point, I quickly looked Online for a book to help us be better prepared for our future trips. I ordered “The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide” by Andrew Skurka which gave us a little knowledge of the safety equipment we needed and how to choose real hiking boots.

How has this changed your life?

Running my own business can be difficult and stressful when it takes me away from my family for long periods of time. Hiking is a great way of connecting with my kids in the natural environment and allows me to limit my stress. After heading back to work after a weekend of hiking, I am more relaxed and focused on the challenges of operating Tana & Rose Photography.

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

Get out and get walking. It is as simple as that. If you are unsure of where to go to stay safe hiking, it is a good idea to find a small outdoors store and have a talk with the owners.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

As a mom, I spend much of my time taking my kids to various activities including soccer which I have grown to love on the TV. We recently took a vacation to Spain and watched a live soccer match in Barcelona which was the most amazing experience I have ever been a part of.

William Bronchick

William Bronchick is one of the leading private chefs and caterers in Denver, Colorado. His special events and dinner parties attract a wide variety of prominent guests, including celebrities, sports figures, and local dignitaries. He expertly blends world cuisines including French, Thai, Japanese, and American food.

William Bronchick attended the Culinary Institute of America where he graduated at the top of his class. He opened his private catering business only a few years after graduating from culinary school. Taking such a personal and financial risk paid off in a short time. Satisfied clients spread the word about Bronchick’s quality catering, and his bookings took off.

Bill Bronchick prides himself on a well-run event. His impeccably trained staff provide excellent front of house service for the most discerning clients. His kitchens provide consistent, delicious meals for any event, large or small. His special events are regarded as some of the best in the Denver area. Charities and celebrities regularly engage him to provide food for their parties and fundraisers.

Bronchick’s company also provides private chef services to busy executives and families in the Denver area. His chefs create both healthy and luxurious meals for their clients to enjoy at home. Bronchick works with each chef to ensure the quality of their meals and recipes. Bronchick’s company has many satisfied customers in the Denver area. With a dedication to client service as well as a fresh, creative approach to food, William Bronchick has become an important part of the Denver food scene.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is backcountry hiking. There are so many amazing places to explore in Colorado. It is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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

I started small, with day hikes in the mountains. As I began exploring, I found that I wanted to spend even more time in the outdoors. Backpacking is a special challenge since you need to carry everything with you: water, food, and shelter being the most important. I gradually worked my way up from one-night excursions to long-distance hiking trips.

Tell us what you love about it.

Getting out in nature is amazing. There’s nothing like the peace of a night spent out in the wilderness. I also love the social aspect of backpacking. I don’t like to go out alone, so I coordinate trips with friends from my hiking club. I love being self-sufficient. It’s also nice to get away from the pressures of my daily life. I love my job, but it can be a high-pressure environment.

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

I’m part of the Colorado Mountain Club. I’ve made several friends through the club, and we enjoy taking trips together. I’ve gone on excursions outside Colorado with these friends as well. Recently we went rafting in the Grand Canyon.

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

Backpacking requires a lot of specialized equipment. It’s not a cheap activity. Hiking packs, hiking boots, cooking equipment, hydration gear, and special clothing are all important. The nice thing is that once you invest in equipment, it should last a long time with proper care. I buy a large part of my gear at REI, as well as online through stores like Eastern Mountain Sports.

Two items I’ve bought recently are a new Jetboil stove and a commercial food dehydrator. The stove allows me to heat water for my meals rapidly. The food dehydrator lets me make my food for the trail. With the dehydrator, I can create my dishes and dry them so I can carry them in the great outdoors. For long trips, I sometimes take prepackaged meals because they are freeze-dried and keep longer without refrigeration.

Are there any good books for beginners?

When I was starting out, I relied on The Backpacker’s Guide by Chris Townsend. It is full of great information for the beginner. The book covers all the basics of backpacking, like how to plan for weather, how to decide what supplies to carry, and how to pack your bag most efficiently. I’ve heard that some people consider the book to be long-winded, but I think it’s great.

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

Start small with hikes around your area. Build up your endurance, putting more in your pack each time you go out. It’s important not to overextend yourself or go too far from civilization before you know what you’re doing. A lot of novice backpackers wind up in trouble when they don’t follow sensible guidelines.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I also love to ski. Skiing satisfies my urge to get out in nature in the wintertime. Skiing also gives me a great excuse to get out of Denver and try new restaurants around Aspen, where I like to ski. Whenever I spend a weekend skiing, I come back rested and refreshed and ready to start another difficult week in my catering business.

Denis Mackenzie

Denis Mackenzie is the COO of an international marketing company. His company is largely focused on marketing wine and spirits across the United States and Europe. While he is only 40 years old, he has been in the business since he graduated from college and had risen rapidly through the ranks of his firm.

At the beginning of his career, Mackenzie worked in a small marketing firm concentrating on local advertising and promotions. He started at the bottom as an assistant and later came to hold several accounts of his own. He helped several small companies build their brands and expand their reach.

He was later offered a position in his current firm. He traveled extensively for work, spending time in wineries in France, Italy, and Greece. He speaks French and Italian, enabling him to deal directly with business owners and colleagues.

Denis Mackenzie’s dream was to open a winery in his hometown near Erie, Pennsylvania. He purchased a small, struggling winery in 2001 and worked to make it profitable again. His marketing expertise helped him grow his business through local connections. In a few years’ time, his winery became successful and self-supporting. He visits his winery whenever he can, hoping to turn it into his full-time business.

Denis Mackenzie is a valued local business owner who contributes to many charitable causes. His winery hosts sip and paint events to support local charities. He enjoys opening his winery for tours, showing off his hobby to locals and travelers alike.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is owning a small winery in the Lake Erie wine growing region of Pennsylvania. It has grown a lot over the past five years.

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

I’ve always had an interest in wine and spirits. Whenever I entertain, I try to introduce my friends to something new. When I traveled around Europe, I grew to have a solid understanding of how vineyards work and how to make one profitable. I hoped to open a winery one day, and when someone wanted to sell one near my hometown, I found the perfect opportunity.

Tell us what you love about it.

Having a winery is a fascinating hobby. I love the farming aspect, and I love the process of making wine. My vintner handles most of it from day to day, but he has taught me a lot about it. Improving our product is a challenge that I enjoy.

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

I am part of a local wine business group. We help each other with marketing and special events. I’ve been able to apply my marketing skill to help my local colleagues. We have a website where we post events and visitor information. I find it rewarding to work with other wineries in the area. Of course, the local wineries compete for visitors and sales, but we work together as a group.

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

Owning a winery is an expensive proposition. We have had to buy a lot of equipment over the years. Our biggest purchase so far has been a new bottling line. We have produced a lot more than in the past, so we’re not able to hand bottle our wines anymore. This has sped up our production and made us more efficient.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I like the Vintner’s Vault website. They have reasonable prices and knowledgeable staff. They can always help you with any questions you might have. My vintner and I make all of our purchasing decisions together.

Are there any good books for beginners?

First Steps in Winemaking by C.J.J. Berry is a great starting point for the home winemaker. It is a practical book that breaks down the steps and shows you how easy it can be to make wine at home.

How has this changed your life?

I’ve enjoyed giving back to the local community. Since I grew up near my winery, I’m able to involve my family in the business. Since I spent so much time abroad, I missed spending time with my family. Rebuilding those relationships has changed my life.

I’ve also learned patience. It’s a long process between growing and harvesting grapes and making wine. Wineries are always focused on the future because our product has to age before it’s served.

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

Winemaking at home is a rewarding hobby. You will need plenty of space and a good source of fruit or grape juice which will make great wine. Make sure you follow your recipes closely at first.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Languages are my other hobby. I already speak French and Italian, and I’m learning Greek. Greek is more difficult than French and Italian since it has a different alphabet. Next time I travel abroad, I’ll be able to surprise some of my old friends when I greet them in their language.

Luis Enrique Coll

Luis Enrique Coll is a system analyst and developer based in Seattle, Washington. His multiple points of experience include systems engineering, web development, and social media strategies. He is a respected freelancer who works with a wide variety of large and small companies, enhancing their use of technology to leverage their business development.

Coll specializes in coding new software from the ground up. His expertise allows him to develop quality solutions for any need presented by a company.

Luis Enrique Coll has taken it upon himself to teach young people to code. The position of systems analyst is expected to grow by 17 percent by the year 2024, meaning that many new coders will be required to fill the industry’s needs. He believes that young talent is sorely needed in the world of software engineering, especially young minds that have no preconceptions about what a piece of software should look like.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is international travel. I spend a lot of time in Central and South America, where I enjoy learning about the local culture and history. My favorite countries to explore are Peru, Ecuador, and Argentina.

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

I first began traveling with my family when I was a young boy. We made trips to visit family in Peru and Argentina. My first travel memories are of traveling high in the mountains, where we saw many indigenous animals like llamas and alpacas. I loved the thrill of driving on winding mountain roads, even though my mother was nervous. Being welcomed by family in a new country gave me a lot of confidence in exploring on my own.

Tell us what you love about it.

I love exploring culture and history. There are so many rich cultures in South America; it would be difficult to experience them all. Each region has its special charms, from the food to the art. I have a special interest in the Precolumbian cultures of Peru and Ecuador. I am fluent in Spanish. I am also beginning to get a foothold in Quechua, the indigenous language of many people in the Andes and the surrounding areas.

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

I have been involved in a local club for travel enthusiasts. We can get together and share the best stories and photos from our journeys, as well as helping people plan their adventures. I have encouraged many of my travel club friends to go to South America, even if they don’t speak Spanish. The travel club has enhanced my own travel experiences by pointing me to places I would not have otherwise traveled.

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

Most of what I invest in are good quality backpacks and hiking shoes. I like to explore the natural environment when I travel. I spend a good amount of money buying supplies for travel. I recently bought a new hydration system. When you are traveling in the high mountains, it’s doubly important to make sure you are well hydrated. I also buy comfortable but presentable hiking wear. I had outgrown the age when I backpacked around in my worst T-shirt and shorts. This way I can hike during the day and visit good restaurants at night.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I mostly shop for my travels at REI, though I buy things from LL Bean as well. It’s crucial to try on backpacks and hiking boots, so most of those purchases are done in person. Seattle is the location of REI’s flagship, so they have an excellent selection at my hometown store.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I am a big fan of the Lonely Planet series of books. I would highly recommend them to novice travelers who want to get away from the crowds. I don’t need them in many of the areas where I travel today, but whenever I go to a new place, I try to pick up a Lonely Planet guide to give me ideas.

How has this changed your life?

Travel has opened my horizons in amazing ways. My job is demanding, and freelancing can be lonely. When I travel, I can interact with a wide variety of people from around the world. Getting away from the keyboard is also a valued part of travel. Like most tech people, I do use my phone a lot while I’m traveling, but mostly for taking photos and sharing them with my friends at home. Many of the mountainous areas where I travel have no cell service, and that provides me with a perfect reason to unplug. I am planning a trip to Antarctica.

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

Don’t be afraid to stay in small hostels or bed and breakfasts. You’re not getting the full travel experience if you stay in American chain hotels.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

Art is a hobby of mine that I’ve recently picked up again. I am learning to paint landscapes of the areas where I’ve traveled.