(Re)discovering Hobbies

“What do you love to do.. what do you do that brings you so much joy that you lose track of the time?”

It was about a year and half ago that I was asked this seemingly simple question, which totally and utterly stumped me. After contemplating it for a few minutes I concluded that there wasn’t anything, not one single thing that I was doing that I enjoyed that much and after a moment of totally freaking out I regarded myself as pretty much the most boring girl that ever lived. After a few more minutes I got my pen and wrote down a list of all the things that I love. I looked at it and realized that there’s actually a whole load of things that I love to do.. I just wasn’t doing ANY of them. Not one single thing on the list.

I spent my childhood growing up in the British countryside, surrounded by nature, with a bike as my favourite mode of transport. My weekends were spent on the Norfolk broads learning to sail and kayak, at the stables learning how to ride and take care of ponies. A family holiday meant hill walking in the peak district, then there were scout camps, two weeks spent camping out in the wilderness and maybe at some point taking a shower to wash off the week’s sailing, hiking, biking *insert activity here*.. I was an active member of several school sports teams, and when I turned 18 I also realised my love of travelling and discovering new cultures, with my first ever backpacking trip to Central America. Needless to say, I had an amazing childhood with a lot of hobbies to keep me busy.

Somewhere between this incredibly active childhood and where I was, these hobbies, passions and interests got lost, I wasn’t doing anything similar. I was already living in Milan and meeting new people, enjoying the local aperitivo with a glass of Prosecco, visiting towns and cities nearby, but I always felt like something was missing and it wasn’t until I was asked this question that I understood what it was. Looking at my list, I realized that I had been slowly drifting away from my interests and perhaps compromising my time a little too much, so much so that I had forgotten to spend time on myself .

This question gave me the prompt I needed to take a look at what I was doing and reflect on how I was spending my time, as well as who I was spending it with. I started to go on little hikes by myself by the lake and soon enough some of my friends were joining me, equally as enthusiastic about being out in nature. I noticed that the more I started speaking about all the things I wanted to do, the more people would pop up and want to do them too. I had wanted to start rock climbing for years, I remember researching gyms when I was still living in London, but somehow I had never got round to going, there was always the excuse of being too busy, The gym was too far, the weather was too cold, it was easier to stay and have a drink with friends. I finally decided to sign up to a climbing course and once my friend Laura caught wind of it, she was keen to join and get back into a sport that she did as a child. We started a course, fell in love with it and signed up for the next round. Through climbing I fell into a group of outdoors enthusiasts with whom I’ve been on hikes, climbing trips and even been horse riding again.

Valmalenco, Lombardy
Hiking in Piani dei Resinelli, Lecco
Climbing a multi-pitch route close to Valsassina, Lecco
Horse riding by Lake Maggiore

I decided that day that I would try something new once a month for the rest of the year, whether it is a new sport, a new destination or even a new dish. I stuck to it and (re) discovered so much about myself. I am eternally grateful to the person that asked me the question, for re-sparking my curiosity and love of the outdoors, for meeting amazing people and for making time to get to know myself a little bit better.

So my question to you is this… What do you love to do? What do you do that brings you joy, puts you into a flow-like state and makes you forget about time?

We’d love to hear your stories.

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