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Daniel Starner
Daniel Starner

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Discuss: Favorite Non-Tech Hobby / Activity

Tech is cool and all, but I want to find out what cool things other people are up to outside of work and technical projects. What makes you tick besides computers? Hopefully people respond on this, and if they do, respond if you like the same things!

For myself, there's a few things I enjoy:

  • I love hiking and adventuring. I am currently attempting to climb all 46 Adirondack High Peaks. Although I just moved to NYC and work in tech, my heart belongs to the beautiful outdoors. I just started taking pictures, but you can check some of mine out.
  • I enjoy racing, especially on dirt. I have a local dirt track that I grew up attending the weekend races at, and I just recently have been pit-crewing a car there weekly. Something about the speed, danger, and precision just seems so appealing to me.
  • Music is great. I've played guitar casually for about 10 years now, and would love to find people in the NYC area to jam with 🎸

What hobbies and activities do you like? 😃

Top comments (24)

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I like camping but I don’t do enough of it.

In fact I don’t do enough of most of my healthy hobbies. What I do get a good amount of is walking. I love walking on my own and walk 1+ hours to work most days.

I really want to get back into weight lifting though. I used to really have that as a daily habit/hobby but it fell off.

In short, I love to exercise but let things get in the way too often.

dan_starner profile image
Daniel Starner

I feel as though no one exercises as much as they want to 😅

Since moving, I've found myself walking and biking more often than before, but I keep telling myself to go to the gym every morning, only to hit the snooze on my alarm one too many times...

hoelzro profile image
Rob Hoelz
  • I like learning programming languages, so naturally one of my non-tech hobbies is learning human languages too! I'm currently teaching myself Russian (with the help of some patient friends!); in the past I've studied Mandarin Chinese, Finnish, French, Dutch, and German. My German is good enough that I'm trying to pass at least some of it on to my one-month old daughter. =)
  • I doubt I'm alone in this among developers, but I really enjoy video games, especially exploration-based ones like Salt or strategy ones, like the Civilization series. I'm tempted to combine this hobby with the previous one and tech and write a language-based mod for Civ VI.
  • I've been getting more into gardening lately. It's been out of necessity - those weeds won't pull themselves - but I've found it to be very cathartic.
dan_starner profile image
Daniel Starner

That's so cool! So do you find there are overlaps and patterns in language that make it easier to learn/retain more dialects as you study?

Gardening is something I am slowly getting into, because I want to grow my own vegetables.

hoelzro profile image
Rob Hoelz

Yes and no - for example, the shared lineage of Dutch and German gets really confusing, because sometimes I'll think the word is similar in both languages when it's not (good examples are "time" - Dutch tijd and German Zeit, or "work" - Dutch werk and German Arbeit), or something I'll think they're different, but they're actually similar (for example, Dutch wonen and German wohnen are both "to reside"). And then you have false friends like winkel - which is store/shop in Dutch and angle in German.

You end up picking up a lot about grammar along the way - learning German helped me to understand indirect objects in a way English doesn't really help with, and it helped me understand grammatical case, which helps with Russian a lot. Of course, when you look at Chinese, you can throw all of that out the window! What knowledge did transfer there was learning about the International Phonetic Alphabet and how our vocal tracts work - knowing that makes it a lot easier to figure out new sounds!

kayis profile image

I'm living non-monogamous, so most of my time is probably spent maintaining all my relationships, haha. I also organize a monthly meetup for non-monogamous people in the region.

The more classical hobbies I enjoy are...

  • playing guitar and bass
  • lifting
  • climbing
  • biking
  • swimming
  • gaming (digital and analog)

I watch all kind of shows and movies and do an (almost) weekly movie-night at my place.

I also go to gothic parties 2-3 times a month.

Software development - doing, learning and teaching about it - is also a big passion of mine, so my job is also a hobby, but the question was about non-tech stuff xD

fullstackchris profile image
Chris Frewin

All good stuff! Good luck with your 46-R, I'm a 46-R myself and would be happy to chat or answer any questions about trails and stuff. I love the 'dacks.

I play guitar as well, and I was thinking about applying to Bloomberg... what's it like there? (if you are able to talk about anything!)

I'm starting to think we're the same person... :D

dan_starner profile image
Daniel Starner

It's always cool to meet someone who loves the ADKs 🏞️ I started hiking them last year. I'm only 10 in, so I have a ways to go, but I'm trying to finish by Fall 2020.

And you should definitely apply to Bloomberg! Intern or full time? It's a great company with a really good, laid back tech culture, and a passion for volunteering in the community, which is why I'm a big fan of it. I don't feel like I'm selling my soul to work for them 😂 Instead I get connected with cool projects and people to build and do the things I want, while making a positive impact on the world.

Check it out, if you have any questions, we can always talk on the phone or via message! I'm a devops/infrastructure guy for reference, but I've interned with some of the other teams before.

fullstackchris profile image
Chris Frewin

Wow that sounds great! Yeah, I was looking at the full time opportunities. I find markets fascinating and Bloomberg to me is one of the best (if not THE best) companies providing news and FinTech. I think I intimidated myself with this line of thought... And yeah, I'd like to chat at some point - I'll send you my number on twitter or something! Cheers!

Thread Thread
dan_starner profile image
Daniel Starner

Sounds good! It's an awesome place to work. But hey, I look forward to chatting 👋

jackharner profile image
Jack Harner 🚀


Lately it's been photography. I've been taking pictures for as long as I can remember, but I've been making a conscious effort to get out and take more. A lot of my photos end up on Unsplash so feel free to use them for whatever!

My Most Viewed Photo On Unsplash

My Most Popular Photo


I love traveling and definitely wish I could do more of it. Life's too short and the world's too big to die 5 miles from where you were born.

Video Games

Seems like a pretty common occurrence in this field. I just finished the story on the new Spider Man, just need to get the rest of the collectibles. Overwatch is probably my most played game lately.

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I enjoy visiting old castles and ruins. Last year I signed up for Historic Scotland membership so I can go to all sorts of places and generally get in free.

I also like going to places with few or no other people out in the countryside. Fortunately where I live there's a pretty good chance of finding a stretch of beach or a hill somewhere all to myself.

defiance profile image
Defiance Black • Edited

If I had all the money and all the time, aside from tech, I would mostly:

  • write poems, commentary and satire.
  • play guitar
  • carpentry -- build my house, ideally.
  • canoe/fish
  • garden -- for food, not quite a farm.
  • botany -- growing all the hallucinogens.
  • sapping -- I have a fascinating dream of tunnels/traps surrounding my home in the woods.

I don't think I'd have time for much else.

dan_starner profile image
Daniel Starner

My thought was always to work in tech for a few years to build up enough money that I could build/buy a cabin in the woods and escape to there for the rest of my life fishing and woodworking 🌲🌲

Good luck in your outdoor endeavors 👍

mikkpr profile image
Mikk Pristavka

I have quite a few hobbies, and even more interests that haven't quite evolved into a proper hobby (yet?).

Playing video games is a great way to unwind and let some steam out. As I don't have many long stretches of free time, I generally play single player games or MMOs that don't strictly require cooperation. Recently I've been enjoying Pathfinder: Kingmaker and the Elder Scrolls Online.

I play bass in a metal band and have been learning piano, guitar and electronic music on my own as well. Writing and performing music has always been an important part of my life and I don't think this will ever change.

Game design and development is also something I have a lot of interest in, but sadly don't have the time to do it as often as I'd like. Game jams are a great way to scratch that itch — take a semi-random idea or theme and try to create a full game out of it. Although my day job is a software developer, I've been working more on music and sound effects when taking part in jams. This allows me to still be in a familiar environment, but apply my interest and skills in music instead of writing code.

I just joined a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym and have been loving it. Previously I haven't had much interest in martial arts, but after seeing more and more of my friends take up BJJ forced me to take the plunge.

One of my oldest hobbies is also playing tabletop role playing games. I started with Dungeons and Dragons, but have been testing out other systems with a lot more emphasis on the narrative instead of the game mechanics — Dungeon World and Blades in the Dark to name a few. For the last 15 years I've pretty much always had a regular group to play games with and I couldn't really imagine my life without this.

dan_starner profile image
Daniel Starner

That's cool! Before I moved, I had a group of friends that would do weekly strategy games with. We got a good mix of D and D, Legacy Risk, Scythe, and more. In NYC, my roommate and I are trying to find a new consistent group to play with.

benjaminblack profile image
Benjamin Black • Edited

Since you just moved to NYC, I recommend:

  • OutdoorFest, the organizers of which also coordinate...
  • Mappy Hour NYC - event tomorrow!
  • Appalachian Mountain Club New York North Jersey Chapter, Young Members committee - social event every month
val_baca profile image
Valentin Baca

My primary hobby is playing Magic: the Gathering semi-competitively. I say "semi-competitively" because I play at the Competitive REL (PPTQs, GPs) but I have no plans to ever go pro (and probably never could! lol)

I also play FFG's Star Wars RPG: think D&D with lightsabers! I've been co-running a campaign for nearly two years. We only meet about once a month, but it's a ton of fun.

And I know everyone says it, but I also try to keep my body and mind in shape with exercise and reading.

ajitbohra profile image
Ajit Bohra
  • Bearding is my all time favorite hobby :p maintaining and grooming is fun
  • Since last few years have resumed back to my childhood love cycling & doing BRM (Long Distance cycling)
  • Occasionally I do running & marathons
  • These days hitting gym & lifting weight regularly
  • Its been quite long doing trekking/hiking hope to get on this soon :)
thomasjunkos profile image
Thomas Junkツ

Hunting down dragons with my pen on paper 😉

buinauskas profile image
Evaldas Buinauskas

As many mentioned, I like gaming, working out, walking as well as dog training which I recently discovered.

cjbrooks12 profile image
Casey Brooks

My top 3 hobbies:

  • 1) Board games
  • 2) Fancy coffee
  • 3) Rock climbing
  • honorable mention: craft beer (because I just like drinking it, more than I actually know anything about it)
jfrankcarr profile image
Frank Carr

Playing guitar as well as repairing and building them.

Here's a song I did on a one string diddley bow guitar I built...

dan_starner profile image
Daniel Starner

This is really good, thank you for sharing 🎸🎵