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I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of hobbies.  I mean like A LOT.  With most of my hobbies, once I’m hooked, I jump in with both feet.  Photography? Yup! Need the camera, all the lenses, plus the gear to go hiking.  Scrapbooking? Yup! Need cutting machines, punches, paper and photo albums galore!  With this kind of enthusiasm, you’d think that I’d have reached my limit. I mean, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said, “I don’t need a new hobby, I have enough.” But, then I discover something new that just calls to me. My latest is like that. It’s something that I’ve wanted to try for a while, but I knew that I needed to take my time before I jumped in – just to be sure. Hobbies can be expensive, after all, and this one is no exception. Well, guess what? I’m sure! Let’s meet my newest hobby, shall we? 

I’ve had my eye on kayaking for a few years.  I have friends and family members that have kayaks.  Seeing pictures of people paddling to places I would love to go makes me green with envy.  Seeing some of the gorgeous places you can only get to by boat has me itching to run out to the nearest sporting goods store to buy one.  Buuuuuuuut, I know myself well and I know that if I really enjoy doing something, I don’t want to buy the wrong equipment.  I need to know the difference between the $200 model and the $2500 model.  I know I probably don’t want to buy either of them.  So, the first thing I did was some research online to learn about why some are so low in cost and why some are so astronomically expensive.  What it boils down to is where you plan on doing most, if not all, of your kayaking, how much stability you want and how light you want your kayak.  OK, so I get that much out of my research.  Next, I decided to go to an actual store that specializes in kayaks and paddle boards.  Went out to the store about two months ago with the purpose of talking to an expert at the store and driving home with my brand-new kayak in the back of my truck.  Here’s what actually happened.  I did talk to the expert and he gave me great advice.  He told me about the different kinds of kayaks (there are quite a few) and what they were good for.  He asked me how I was planning on using the kayak that I would eventually buy and made some recommendations on different types to consider.  He also recommended taking a safety class before buying anything.  Best advice I’ve gotten ever when considering a new hobby.  I did spend money that day, but it was only for the safety class about two months later.   

Last week I had my safety class. It was a two-hour basic safety kayaking class.  For the first hour, the instructor went over the parts of the kayak, the parts of the paddle, how to hold the paddle correctly, different strokes to use and why to use each one and how to get into and out of the kayak.  He was a good teacher, using some humor to make important points.  The last hour of the class we took the kayaks into the river and practiced what we were taught.  I had a BLAST paddling around the river.  He pointed out there is a marshy area across the river from where their store is that gets a lot of migratory birds (oh boy adding photography in!).   

At the end of the class, I was hooked but I still hadn’t bought my kayak yet for two reasons.  First, I was still figuring out exactly what kind of kayak I wanted to get (there are so many choices). Second, there are not a lot of kayaks to be found.  Just like everything outdoors these days, new kayaks are scarce and finding a good used one is difficult as well.  At least I could rent from the place where I received my lessons.  They even let you demo kayaks you are considering buying to see if you like the model.  It was probably a good thing that circumstances made me go slow with this new hobby. It forced me to take my time and make good choices.  

And I did. And I love her! I’ve taken her on the water almost every day since I brought her home and I’m having a blast! Maybe there’s not such a thing as too many hobbies after all. I mean, if I would have ignored the pull from kayaking because of some arbitrary limit on hobbies, look what I would have missed!

So, look for the hobbies, embrace your interests, and have fun!

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