Like most people, I’ve developed a new set of hobbies to help me get through the COVID-19 pandemic, such as kayaking, disc golf and a heightened increase in going for walks in the evenings.
My online interests have shifted, as well. For example, I’ve developed a strange fascination for watching YouTube videos of people giving tours of their micro-studio apartments.
Let me explain. Many people who live in highly dense and expensive cities like New York and Tokyo live in very small studio apartments – some of which are less than 200 square feet. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of videos online in which these micro-studio dwellers give tours of their living quarters.
I’ve been fascinated by small living spaces ever since I lived in a dorm room in 2015. I love seeing how people who live in studio apartments or tiny homes get creative in order to make the best of their lack of space, whether it’s installing a Murphy bed or multi-purposing their couch, desk, storage, etc.
As someone who lives in a small apartment – though nowhere near as tiny as the subjects in these videos – I like to see how they utilize their available space. Sometimes they give me ideas of how I could maximize and reorganize my own apartment to make it feel a bit bigger.
Many of these apartment tours were uploaded before the pandemic began. In a year when people have been asked to stay at home more than usual, I often watch these videos and wonder how the subjects have coped during the pandemic, being confined to an area not much larger than a prison cell. If they’re still living there, I hope they don’t feel too claustrophobic.
Another online habit I’ve developed is watching what I call “drive” videos. These are comprised of dashcam footage in which the videographer drives silently around a touristy destination or city, whether it’s Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, New York City or Paris. While these videos are admittedly a bit mundane, I can spend up to an hour watching them.
I know exactly what prompted my enjoyment of drive videos. Back in the early days of the pandemic, I had to cancel a road trip my fiancée and I had planned for July 2020. We were going to fly to San Diego, rent a car and then spend three weeks making our way up the Pacific Coast Highway to Seattle, from where we would fly back home.
After cancelling the vacation last spring, I started watching drive videos that were recorded in some of the cities and areas we were going to visit. Even though they're a small consolation, the videos felt like a way I could travel vicariously and still enjoy the sights and sounds of our road trip.