Do you like racing big wheels down the hills in the rain? I do.
When I was in middle school, I was a picky eater. I didn't eat meat and I didn't eat any vegetables besides corn, potatoes, and artichokes. If it weren't for my parents cleverly blending all sorts of vegetables into pasta sauce, I'd probably be about four feet tall and be even skinnier than I am now. I told people that I didn't like meat or vegetables, but in reality I just didn't know; I stubbornly refused to try them.
This sounds ridiculous, but we do it all the time. We write off certain activities that we've never experienced, usually because of a lack of information. Recently I've been challenging my prejudices by doing things that don't particularly appeal to me. It comes back to the risk/reward idea: if I don't like the activity I've wasted an hour of my time (because I'll leave if it seems hopeless in the first hour), but if I do like it I might find an awesome new hobby or interest.
Take monster truck rallies, for example. I've never had any real interest in monster truck rallies before. None of my friends or family have ever recommended that I go see one. I could have easily died happy without ever going to a monster truck rally. They're for white trash, right?
Enter Monster Jam 2010. A friend heard about the monster truck rally, thought it would be funny to dress up and go to Monster Jam, which was coming through the bay. I, in turn, tried to recruit other friends, including my friend Christophe. He declared that "zee French do not go to zees things", but in the end was somehow dragged to the Coliseum in Oakland.
Assuming that the rest of the bay area was equally unexcited about such plebian entertainment, we headed to the event an hour late. To our surprise we were met by traffic and a long ticket line that ate up another hour. In the end we paid $30 each for the last seats available, standing room in the handicapped section, determined to see the final hour of truck-crushing goodness.
It was worth every penny. Even Christophe was standing up, pumping his fists, screaming for Monster Mutt (our favorite truck). I may not invest in a wardrobe of wife-beaters and follow Monster Mutt around the country, but I'd definitely go to another rally if it came through. Most importantly, having so much fun at Monster Jam made me wonder what else I might be missing out on. Since then I went to a ballet, have started learning to play go, visited a nudist resort, plan on going to a destruction derby, and hope to see an opera soon.
Next time you're looking for something interesting to do, don't just consider what you like doing, consider also what you know nothing about. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Here are some suggestions from me. I'd love to hear your suggestions as well:
I love this post!!! Like big wheels in the rain, you could try blowing bubbles in the rain as well, they keep floating up even in a downpour! Very inspirational ideas, I need to try a monster truck rally next time the chance arises.
Smart man u r so u like things outa da box do ya?
Well here is one I been thinkin about,a Rialta with stick shift clutch and all.
It can be done,just think of it ,u da only one with a stick shift Rialta.
Thats what I hope to do some day.
Almost bought a eurovan stick shift with the 5 cylinder audi engine $1400 would have got it,had all the parts needed to convert to a Rialta with the 5 cylinder.
I watch your rv tour everyday,I am jelous.Bill
I add couple of my favorites:
- Salsa Dancing
- Sauna And Rolling In The Snow (a Finnish past time)
- Ballroom dance competition
- Street basketball
Great post Tynan! I'm currently trying to push myself to try new activities I know nothing about. I just had to change my mindset from "Why?" to "Why not?". What do we have to loose?
Cheers from Mexico, I think I may head out to my first Lucha Libre tonight!
Great insight. I think a lot of the 'not knowing' dislike comes from that ever present fear of the unknown. The more you get out there and expand your comfort zone, the more opportunities you have to like cool stuff like on this list.
Try Argentine Tango. It is very fun. Also it is a great way to meet locals while traveling; Usually major cities have at least one tango studio.
About eight months ago, I had the idea that maybe I should be doing something to work on flexibility and posture, like yoga. I've taken yoga in the past and liked it, but never really loved it enough to stick with it. Maybe I'll try ballet, I thought.
A lot of members of my family and extended family have taken ballet, as have a disproportionately high percentage of girls I've dated. Through them I've been exposed to it in bits and pieces, and I always admired the discipline of it. Ballet is so exacting and precise that even after years of work it's still near impossible, but ballet dancers press on despite that. I always admired the tenacity it seemed to build.
I also like going to ballets, as long as they're not modern ballet. Between seeing all the good things that came out of others doing ballet and thinking it may help me appreciate watching ballet more, I figured I'd take one class and try it out. The fact that it was weird for a straight guy to take ballet probably factored in, as well.
I was pretty much hooked at my first class. In life I like the idea of working as hard as humanly possible but still trying to make it look good on the outside, and ballet was the dance form that reflected that. It felt great to wake up on Sunday morning, ride my motorcycle downtown, and then slip on ballet shoes, stretch out, and learn something difficult and physical.
I'd been in Cape Town for two weeks beforehand, just remotely working and doing some sightseeing around the area. So I had plenty of time for prep for the trip and was pretty relaxed arriving at Ashanti Logde(where the trip starts). The trip was booked through African Budget Safari's which seemed to the cheapest option around. The dates I had originally planned to travel with(and booked) were unavailable and ABS happily changed my dates and gave me a heavy discount(about 25%). On top of that I declined the free activities in Cape Town, so I was given free upgrade at Ashanti to my own room. So I can definitely recommend African Budget Safari's as an agent and also chance your arm and see what discounts you can get.
We met up with others on the trip and waited for the trip leaders. The group was mostly mid-to-late twenties with two outliers in the forties/fifties. Still an excellent result as I was worried the group would have a much older average age. As I traveled I noticed the more expensive tour groups had a lot of older people traveling and it sounded like an awful time for younger folk traveling with them. I would highly recommend finding out a rough average age of the people going on the trip beforehand, our group was wonderful so living in each other's pockets really wasn't a problem. However, if you get a bad group, there's not a lot you can do for 6-8 weeks.
The group was 16 in total, about 8 of which were going the whole 42 days(and then some) to Kenya, so there wasn't a lot of swapping around of the group. The trip is split into 3 main sub-trips(but there's shorter trips within this also), so I was glad the group remained consistent.
Eventually trip crew arrives, three guys from Zimbabwe. A chef, a driver and the trip leader. It's usually those three guys, but we had a trainee driver with us on this trip(to get his head around the route to Zimbabwe). They all seemed lovely. We made out local payments and a run through the next few days was done.
- Cash - One of the things I was sweating about was having access to local money. How it was relayed to me was that I would need to have all of my spending money at the start of the trip. This seemed dubious as I really didn't want to have a ton of cash with me while traveling. The trip leader alleviated these fears by explaining that there was tons of ATMs on the way and you can take out as much Rand as you wanted as South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and most campsites in Botswana would all accept it. I'd recommend getting a ton of Rand and don't bother with Namibian dollars at all(it's a straight one-to-one currency rate so there's no disadvantage and the Rand is more widely accepted). That seems a lot less complicated. Make sure you have enough USD for Visa's and certain activities, most take USD but some(like the Serengeti) require it, try get this USD in Cape Town as they'll provide reliable bills. You can get USD out in Zimbabwe but the quality of the bills can be really poor and all countries(other than Zimbabwe), won't accept dirty bills. Most people on the trip seemed to struggle to get money converted in Cape Town, that they were residents or that they were leaving the country in less than 24 hours. It's tough to find cash, especially on a Sunday the day before we were leaving. However, I was recommended a currency exchange place at the V & A Waterfront, that would convert money. Make sure if you get Rand out of the bank to take a receipt to prove the cash you're bringing is legit. I didn't and had to keep the Rand I'd just taken out and get more USD on my credit card. Again, wasn't an issue as everywhere takes Rand, but just to bear this in mind.