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From cycling to foraging, here's what we were really into this year

Josie Norton for NPR

Joy is a core value at NPR. Something we talk about at our news meetings in seeking out stories, and something we know we need more of than ever.

So this year we launched I'm Really Into, a space to celebrate our unique hobbies and interests.

In this series, our journalists share a hobby that brings them joy, what drew them to it, and what it says about their shared community. We've heard from people who found a new passion in the pandemic, as well as people who persevered and continued finding ways to do what they love. We also heard from thousands of readers like you, and we are continuing to share the hobbies that bring you happiness.

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Here are some of your favorites, and you can see the full catalogue here.

Just like life, riding my bike doesn't always make sense. But that's why I love it

/ Josie Norton
Josie Norton

Riding despite knee problems from his childhood is just one of the ironies Bill Chappell tries to make sense of when describing his love for riding bikes. Yet, it's in riding that he learns to let go and enjoy the moment.

"Along the way, my brain disengages from stress. Life quiets down to simple rhythms," he says. "Problems seem to evaporate. Throw in a good podcast or music, and I'll be gone for hours."

Read more about why he's really into riding his bike.

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Foraging helped me discover a world of free fruits and veggies

/ Daniel Wood
Daniel Wood

Daniel Wood describes how you can forage in the city as he hilariously recounts his own experiences roaming Washington, D.C., looking for free and forgotten fruits and veggies. He shows how nature and the urban environment intersect and mingle providing delicious rewards.

"In an ever modernizing world, foraging provides an opportunity to recall the simplicity of survival. All the things I thought I needed pale in comparison to a delicious piece of neglected fruit," he says.

Read about his foraging adventures and how you can find fruit in the wild.

Roller skating feels a lot like love, and falling is just part of the process

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/ Josie Norton for NPR
Josie Norton for NPR

In search of a new hobby, Invisibilia host Kia Miakka Natisse found a vibrant community in the roller skating rink. Kia shows what perseverance, acceptance, and fun it is skating, falling and holding hands (sometimes with strangers).

"I picked up skating as a coping mechanism after a year in my house and in my head. It gave me the gift of learning something new with my body, and a new perspective on how to move through the world," she said.

Read more about her love for roller skating.

Seeing myself reflected in art allowed me to feel comfortable making my own

/ Sommer Hill
Sommer Hill

Drawing inspiration from the Harlem Renaissance and other artists of color, Sommer Hill explores her own identity through her love of painting. She describes how she focuses her energy into her art, creating something that she loves because it reflects her.

"Even if the picture doesn't turn out aesthetically pleasing by society's standards, it's still beautiful that I was able to create something. My paintings may not be a Basquiat, but they're mine — so I love them anyway," she said.

Sommer Hill writes about her painting process and self-reflection.

My mom passed down her love of horror to me — and a big lesson about courage

/ Josie Norton for NPR
Josie Norton for NPR

Nikki Jones loves the rush of watching a good horror film, but her love originated from her mother and her love for reading horror books. Through their bond and their shared love of horror, she shows how the lessons she and her mom learned enabled them to take courage and act.

"While my mother was putting on a brave face, she was dealing with her very own monster. I believe that her escapism into the horror genre allowed her to face her reality within a controlled environment," she said.

Nikki Jones explains why she's really into horror and the lessons it's taught her.

What are you really into? Fill out this form or leave us a voice note at 800-329-4273, and part of your submission may be featured online or on the radio.

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Analise Ober
Analise Ober has been an executive assistant on NPR's Executive Administration team since 2020. They worked with the How I Built This team helping to book and research guests before transitioning to Digital News, supporting various teams in the newsroom to achieve their goals, and helping with projects as needed.
Arielle Retting
Arielle Retting is a growth editor for digital content at NPR. In her current role, she helps the newsroom develop digital skills so NPR can expand our storytelling to meet our audiences where they are.