No matter what someone does for a living, finding a way to spend free time is one of life’s most important aspects. In fact, those looking to improve their lifestyle are often advised to find a new hobby and invest in their deepest interests.
While some hobbies could be as simple as collecting stamps or playing paddle on a Sunday morning, they can often be pricey pursuits. For example, some gamers are happy to play on their Xbox, while others will want to build out a full iRacing simulation setup with wheels and brake systems worth thousands.
In fact, the deeper someone’s pocketbooks, the more jaw-dropping their favorite pastimes are likely to be. Whether traveling to exotic places, ticking off Michelin star restaurants, or buying a ticket to outer space, bougie hobbies aren’t anything new.
Here are a few of the world’s most luxurious pastimes by region.
From skiing in the Alps to Paris Fashion Week to high-end casinos and restaurants, luxurious adventures are endless. For example, the continent isn’t just home to the world’s most extravagant casinos, like the Casino de Monte Carlo, but also some of the oldest.
Even in terms of rules, there are key differences. Though card games are popular around the world, rules tend to differ based on the region they’re being played in. For example, blackjack has a storied history that saw the game evolve differently in certain places, which is also visible in its online versions: there are important differences in American and European variations, including the number of decks and bet types.
Overall, this won’t change the experience of gaming in a place like the centuries-old Casino di Venezia or the Casino de Monte Carlo, but it’s significant to note for those arriving from different continents.
United States: Ballroom Dancing
The United States is known more for its quantity of opportunities rather than the quality… but that doesn’t mean the US isn’t home to a few truly luxurious pastimes. One is sure to drop a few jaws: ballroom dancing.
Once popularized by the Broadway dancing duo Adele and Fred Astaire in the 1900s, ballroom dancing was an instant hit among American audiences. This tradition continues today; women in flowy gowns, men in tuxedos, and Waltz music are still the standard fare in some circles.
Today, the Fred Astaire franchise remains running with classes ranging from $150 to $200 per month. Monthly and bi-annual events are usually held in grand hotels where young and emerging dancers make their debut. Annual spending from ballroom hobbyists is around $10,000… and shows no signs of slowing down.
China: Ice Sculpting
China isn’t just home to one of the world’s oddest luxury pastimes, but also one of its rarest. The country is home to a handful of professional ice sculptors, who transforms regular blocks of ice into three-dimensions forms with nothing more than handheld tools.
The most popular sculptures depict angels and mythical creatures, which are often purchased for display at extravagant events like weddings and art exhibitions. So, what makes the act of sculpting ice luxury (rather than buying it for a show)?
It’s considered a luxury pastime because the price for ice is so exorbitant; in some cases, sculptors will pay hundreds of dollars for a single ice block… which could need a full overhaul if one chip goes wrong. With finished products nabbing thousands of dollars, hobbyist sculptors have a foot in both doors, it seems.
Most regions don’t have the same access to the sea as the Mediterranean. Though a part of Europe, this region isn’t just home to extravagant casinos like the locations mentioned above. It’s got its own long list of luxury pastimes… yachting and sailing included.
Yachting across the Mediterranean is common among celebrities and socialites. While yachting has become more accessible in recent years, A-list celebrities have upgraded to superyachts. As the name suggests, a superyacht is so large that it houses space for a helicopter. Most also house full-size kitchens with master chefs, deluxe bedrooms, and multiple jacuzzis.