A Look into Three of the World’s Most Unique Hobbies

Regardless of where you live or where you come from, the internet can help you find your tribe. Websites, forums, and apps of all stripes allow people to connect with others around the world. Even when language barriers exist, weird interests lay the foundation for creating lasting connections. 

Want to send your toy to another part of the world? Try Google Toy Voyaging. What about watching Brit Paul Yarrow news-bomb live broadcasts? It’s only a few clicks away. 

From Twitch channels that showcase a single, unmoving jar of butter (Jack Dire) to registering for the annual Bee-Wearing Competition (held in Shaoyang City, China), if there’s a unique hobby, it’ll have a following online. 

But not all interests are quite so niche, and some have a long history that precedes the launch of the World Wide Web. Keep reading to glimpse three of the world’s most unique and globally established hobbies. 

Gambling 

Though once the domain of large casino resorts, games like slots, blackjack, and baccarat have incrementally moved online since the early 2000s. Today, top platforms where gamers can try online gambling for real money can be found with a few clicks on a computer — and this is where most casino players prefer to game. 

For professional or long-time casino gamers, the emphasis is on the diversity of quality titles, options for live games, and a solid customer support channel. Plus, there’s the convenience factor, as players can access online casinos straight from home. Or, more specifically, straight from the couch. 

Since the advent of digital entertainment, video gamers have built a reputation for spending long stretches in front of the screen. This domain initially belonged to gamblers — and it precedes the rise of online poker rooms. For context, the world record for video gaming stands at 135 hours, while Phil Laak holds the record for gambling at 115 hours, which he achieved back in 2010. 

Collectibles 

The rise of NFTs has dramatically changed the world of collectibles. Today, tech buffs and collectors funnel their crypto savings toward the latest CryptoKitty or legacy collections from sports groups like the NBA and Formula One. 

However, collectible games like Magic: The Gathering have been popular worldwide long before online adaptations were available

Alongside the Pokémon Trading Card Game and Yu-Gi-Oh!, Trading Card Game MTG is the world’s most popular CCG (collectible card game). It came out in 1993 with only 2.6 million cards in print. 

The game’s popularity is down to its creative storytelling coupled with specific cards, settings, and characters. Legend has it it was even the inspiration for both the Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon collectibles games. 

Since its release, over 20 billion Magic cards have been printed. This year, the game’s biggest global tournament, active since 1994, will feature a prize pool of $1 million. The invitation-only championship event has named winners worldwide, from Japan to Israel to Brazil. To prepare, the official Magic: The Gather Pro Tour hosts a total of twelve qualifying events around the globe. 

Photo by Noel Jose on Unsplash

Trainspotting 

Before Danny Boyle directed the dark comedy Trainspotting (1996) and highjacked the term, trainspotting was the longstanding hobby for identifying trains by sound and sight. Trainspotters have dotted the globe since the first steam engines hit the tracks. 

Along with model railways, this is a hobby for those with interest in mechanics and identification. Most trainspotters have a data book to reference their theories; some even make digital recordings. 

One of the first hobbyists was Fanny Gordon of Great Britain, who logged her trainspotting observations back in 1861. Since then, trainspotting has diversified greatly. 

Today, some hobbyists engage in ‘bashing’, which means someone travels to experience a journey on a specific train or complete a rail network. ‘Fantrips’ are when restored trains run on unused lines. It’s common for trainspotters to line up for a chance to photograph these trains.

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