Something funny I’ve always found is that the further I’ve followed my quirky, niche interests, the faster and more deeply I’ve connected with new friends along the way.From a young age, I’ve always gravitated towards “alternative” hobbies.When I was in middle school, I got into chess. Really into it. I started traveling to statewide US Chess Federation tournaments and eventually national competitions throughout the US.Same with Paintball. Around high school I got really into competitive paintball, and played on a competitive 10-man team in the National Professional Paintball League for a couple seasons.Towards the end of high school and into college, it was jambands and music festivals. I traveled around the country to tons of different concert tours and music festivals with my favorite bands - weird ones with strange names like The Disco Biscuits, Sound Tribe Sector 9, and Phish.Today, my lifestyle is a mix of things - all of which kind of make me kind of a quirky weirdo in my “normal” suburban hometown: tech, entrepreneurship, a bunch of self-development stuff...Looking back on each of these phases, I’ve found that the further I’ve followed each quirky passion, the faster I’d find myself connecting with fellow weirdos who followed similar paths.And when I say “further”, I mean following these passions both in a metaphorical sense, but also literally.As in, literally flying around the country for Chess or Paintball tournaments, or driving hours and hours to strange farms in the middle of nowhere for big music festivals, or today - picking up and moving to Saigon, Vietnam, to meet up and live alongside other like-minded hustlers.When you let your weird passions carry you around the country or world, you tend to find and connect with people that are driven by deeply common threads, and when you connect with those people, it doesn’t take long to realize that, often, you’re super alike in deep ways, share deep, common values, and have similar ambitions.I think it’s related to why people go to different types of conferences.It’s rarely about the percieved value of what’s going to be coming from the speaker lineup - all that stuff is going to be streamed for free online after the event anyways.The real value is in connecting with other similarly crazy people who are following their quirky niche interests as far as the can.It’s a fun phenomenon, and something that I appreciate looking back on my life, and look forward to enjoying more in the future.