I am of the belief that nerds are the best people currently walking the earth. Seriously, get a whiff of the information age and you know it is their time to rule. As Spock would say, "It's only logical." Nerds are passionate, diverse creatures. The inspiration and time they devote to often intricate endeavors is exponentially related to the enjoyment they get out of these pastimes. So, maybe it's time to take a page from their book and explore some nerdy hobbies. (The author would like to disclose that she has personally enjoyed every one of the following hobbies at some point in her life and recommends them wholeheartedly.)
1. Rock Licking
OK, so this one may have a bit of a back story. My grandfather was at one point the sponsor of a high school club for rock enthusiasts, who called themselves the Rock Lickers Club. You see, out in the field the only way to tell the true color of a rock is to lick it, so the club was named for this phenomenon. Unfortunately, this was censored by the yearbook to become the Rock Likers Club. Whether you prefer to identify as a rock licker or a rock liker, rock and mineral collecting can be a very rewarding pastime.
As a child, my grandfather taught me about rocks. It honestly is a wonderful introduction to science. Whenever either of us went on a trip we would bring back a rock – might I add, a very economical souvenir. I learned a lot about earth science and geology. After squeezing all of the information we could out of a specimen, I would add it to my little collection of gems. I have to admit this is an all or nothing kind of hobby. Grandfather, myself and the rest of my cousins love it. My friends, they don't really get it. There is something about having a little piece of earth, though. It's like I have my own mini version of the planet, all in a shoebox.
2. Herb Gardening
(Ahem, keep it legal kids.) Are you a foodie turned chef? Always flustered by those finicky orchids? Here's some good news for you, herbs are hearty little plants. They love the sun and heat, so they are a great start to a greener thumb. Not to mention the wonders it will work for your kitchen. The flavors of fresh herbs make any dish feel a little more professional. There are also many more varieties than what is available at the store. Sweet basil is good for chicken Caprese sandwiches and salads, but just wait until you throw some fresh lime basil in a stir fry. It is marvelous! Summer basil crop anyone? Not to mention that you'll probably have way more than you can use. I was constantly sending little bundles home with my friends and family for their kitchens. Leftovers were dried, a super simple process, and have lasted us quite a while. The savings at the supermarket aren't too bad either. The ladies at my local nursery were super excited to help me start my little herb garden and answered all my questions. (For even more fun, check out all the types of mint. I might be obsessed.)
When I first started playing "Dungeons & Dragons," people were a bit surprised. I kept hearing, "You're really going over there to do that?" Yes. Yes, I was. The truth is, tabletop role-playing games are a blast. Consider them the great-grandfather of countless questing video games and LARPing. The game depends a lot on the DM, or dungeon master, who leads the experience along. This means the experience can be as involved, featuring elaborate costumes and character accents, or uninvolved and casual as desired. It also leaves a ton of room for adventure. Battle dragons, visit taverns, captain a flying pirate ship, instigate a mutiny and / or weave magical spells. The experience can be as fantastical as can be imagined. If you can't wait for the next episode of "Game of Thrones," then give it a try. Just don't end up like Ned Stark.
4. Coin Collecting
Before you say anything, this does not have to get expensive. Rare coins can be worth a lot of money, but for many collectors, it is more about being part of history than it is making the biggest sale in history. Truly, this is one of the most lackadaisical hobbies there ever was. I recommend starting out with the state or state park quarters. Imagine getting a surprise every time someone hands you change. It's especially rewarding when you finally get one that has been strangely eluding you for weeks. Looking at my quarter book, I can feel accomplished when I say, "Hey, I've been there."
Thrifting is a wildly diverse nerd hobby. Sculptors may look for materials or components for a found object sculpture. The fashion-forward can look for unique pieces to wear or re-purpose. Bookworms may even find rare copies of their favorite classics. The enjoyment of thrifting lies in the surprise of it. There are no guarantees, and you never know what is going to pop-up. Did I mention it happens to be exceedingly wallet friendly? I recommend making a day of it and hitting every shop in town. Take a friend and try out a new, crazy look. Have fun interacting with the past. After all, memory lane has some great views.
Whether your exploration comes from a place of boredom or curiosity, a nerdy hobby can definitely add some joy to your life. So give it a try. You might find a new passion and you might make some new friends.