A Surprising New Hobby I Found Out West

As you all know quite well, I love to travel. One of the reasons I do is that it provides me with a constant stream of new stimuli and experience, allowing me to learn and grow in ways I never imagined.

But, as many of you also know quite well, you can’t travel forever. Never mind the restraints of time and money; you just simply can’t do something forever. It’s human nature to eventually tire of even the things we love.

So that’s why I am back in San Francisco. I know someday soon I’ll get tired of being in the same spot and will head back out on the road, but until then, here I am. Yet my desire to find new things and experiences has not gone away. That will always be with me, and so even though I am staying put for a bit, I need to find new things to do.

The first things I tried were sports. I started playing some golf, joined a racquetball league and even signed up for some martial arts classes. These were great, but they weren’t all that different from some of the other sports I have played in my life. Of course the techniques are different, but the end goal is the same: winning. I just couldn’t motivate myself to try and get my score down by a few strokes or to improve my shot placement enough to be able to beat the other team—it didn’t seem new enough.

My foray into martial arts was rather interesting, though. I did some Tae Kwon Do, and the reason it was so stimulating is that it is a lot more mental than I ever realized. You have to really master yourself before you can even consider beating someone else. This proved to be a really rewarding experience. I still take classes and am improving, but unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to dedicate to this to get to where I would really like to be.

So when I was explaining to a friend of mine how I was looking for new things to do, he suggested I join him in one of his favorite pastimes: shooting. He took me to a gun range and we did some target practice, and I have to say, it’s great. To be an accurate shot requires both a solid knowledge of the machine you are using, as well as incredible self-control. You can make it competitive if you want, but it is an activity where personal improvement is really the ultimate goal. And these are always the most fruitful experiences.

However, I’ve never been much of a gun person. I never had them growing up, and I have a hard time justifying them being easy for everyone to access. So, I went out in search of alternatives, and I found something that allows me to practice this interesting sport without having to do something I don’t fully agree with: air guns.

These things work with pressurized air and plastic pellets. Mechanically, they function the same way a gun does, but they are far less dangerous and far less expensive. I did a little research and found some great air rifles to help me practice shooting. And since these things make a lot less noise, I can use it in my backyard and not worry about upsetting the neighbors.

I’ve set up a little target outside and a couple of times a week I head out and practice. It’s a great way to pass an afternoon.This is something I never thought I would like to do, but in the search for new experiences, you can never close yourself off to anything.

So, if you’re looking for something fun to do when you’re sitting around the house, grab an air gun and get practicing.




Locked Out And My New Addiction

I have a confession. I have an addiction. I think I’m in love the San Francisco startup scene. As the saying goes, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.” I wouldn’t call it a problem, but I didn’t realise it until my friend Stephen pointed it out to me.

I’m down in Sydney, Australia at the moment checking out the scene down here. I’ve been hanging out with an old friend from NYC. Stephen was like me and did the move the to San Fransisco before moving to Sydney, to be closer to his wife’s family in Oz.

Stephen is a bit of an entrepreneur at heart, and last Friday he wanted to introduce me to some of his friends in the startup scene after work. We had been out for a couple of drinks and didn’t get home till the early morning hours.

Luckily, Stephen’s family were staying the weekend at his wife parents place, so we wouldn’t disturb them in the middle of the night. Unlucky for us, Stephen had left his keys at the office.

We needed a locksmith to let us in so I ended up calling up these guys.

So there we were, in the middle of Sydney, sitting on Stephen’s front doorstep in the dark of the night as we wait for a locksmith to let us in.

Business was obviously on our minds, and we got talking with the vigour similar to the young go-getters I had met in San Francisco.

Talking to Stephen, I realised Sydney is very different to San Fransisco, but they also have a lot of similarities.

Sydney is mainly made up of corporate companies. There are a few exceptions such as Atlasssian, but it is very much the corporate lifestyle. As I had experienced, it is common to head to the pub and get a couple of drinks with workmates on a Friday night.

On the other hand, San Francisco has a more casual work lifestyle. However, if you are in a startup you are working long hours 6 days a week.

One thing I noticed is that the weather is pretty much the same as San Francisco. If you want to enjoy the sunshine, Darling Harbour is fantastic to chill and get some great food in the heart of the city. If the hustle-and-bustle is too much for you, there are always Sydney’s great beaches.

Stephen tells me that the Meetup scene in Sydney is strong and that there are heaps of workshops going on. I’m pretty keen to check out some of them over the weekend.

This when Stephen starts laughing. He points out that I’m very different from a couple of years ago. San Francisco is starting to change me – I would never have considered even starting a business let alone check out a workshop.

That’s when I realised I am addicted to San Francisco and it’s startup scene.