This is part of my new hobby series, all about exploring new hobbies. Because bucket list items don’t just have to be one-time things. They can be a big part of cultivating your own personal growth.
In college, my roommates had a nickname for the random tidbits of knowledge I’d share with them on the daily. “Gaby-facts” were bits of history, culture, or general eccentricities that I gathered like the Katamari Damacy guy rolling up debris. Although my friends may not have been as interested as I was in these random trivia, they at least indulged me.
It comes down to a hobby of mine, which is constant learning! I want to know absolutely everything there is to know about the world. Well, not everything—not beatboxing or butchering my own meat or bug-collecting. But generally everything else.
How do I do this? I read. I read everything. Then I read some more.
What do I specifically read? Endless amounts of fiction, as evidenced by my articles on BiblioSmiles and endless lists on GoodReads. But also the New York Times, NY Mag, Slate, and reputable forums on Reddit like AskHistorians or AskScience.
Even Tumblr can supply mildly interesting facts. (though, it’s dangerous to go on Tumblr alone. It’s a journey you can’t return from easily)
But there are other ways to engage our brain cells. I’ve shared some of my favorites below so you can get your learning on!
CodeAcademy: Languages are fun! Whether it’s German or Java, there are many ways to begin a new language. For those looking to get into coding, CodeAcademy is a great place to start. It’s actually pretty cool to be able to make your own app, website, or blog, and know what you’re doing. I made some pretty snazzy GeoCities sites back in the day.
DuoLingo: And learning a language is easier and interactive with apps like DuoLingo. Add a new language to your collection, even if only a few sentences. Learning about languages helps you learn about the world, cultures, and even improve your thinking and comprehension skills.
Khan Academy: Well. Maybe this isn’t really your cup of tea (it’s not really mine, though logic problems are fun) but if you’re looking to take the GRE or anything, you’ll need to brush up on those old, dusty skills.
Free Rice: Learn some words and donate food to developing countries at the same time. The English language is full of awesome words like bailiwick, flibbertigibbet, and syzygy. You’ll definitely improve your Words with Friends prowess.
Television: Yes, I’m saying to watch some tv. Not your regular reality show drivel or whatever ABC Family’s playing (unless it’s Harry Potter), but some history or travel shows. I’m endlessly fascinated by different cultures and the ways different people live. Samantha Brown and Anthony Bourdain are my favorites. To be fair, even shows like Top Gear, MasterChef, and — are worthwhile, if you’re learning something new!
Museums, galleries, and libraries: These should be obvious! Libraries have so much cultural programming from theatre to classes, and museums and galleries are full of fascinating trinkets and artwork. I would live in a library or a museum, like the kids who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Above all else, be curious. Look at the world with the same childlike wonder you had growing up, wondering what the inside of rocks looked like, if you could really dig a hole straight to China, what astronauts ate up in space.
Having a goal in mind can help, if you’re not insatiable to learn everything like I am. Plan a trip to Nigeria, with your new Hausa skills. Read the Canterbury Tales untranslated. Code an app.
The whole world is out there for us.