I have always lived somewhere/somewhen else in my head. As a child, I was with Arthur at Camlann, Harold at Hastings, or John Carter at Zodanga. As I got older it was historical reenactment, or in fantany worlds built into research of the early Church in Ireland and Britain.
For the last six years I have mostly live here, in the real world. That has been hard and rewarding. There is little time to research or hand sew a Herjolfnes #63 cote, when there are children to care for, chickens to feed, and a real life to live. Also it is simply hard to find anyone to do reenactment with. But there is still a small place for hobbies, especially if I can weave it into useful activity.
One is a thought experiment. Is it possible to 'recreate' Tolkien's Dunedain, in an experimental archeology/reenactment light rather than cosplay? The practical aspect is that I get to run around in the woods with my 4 and 6 year old boys, build fires with a flint & steel, camp in a Wigwam and fight goblins.
The other is SteamPunk. Steampunk is my way of recovering the feeling I used to get when I immersed myself into reenactment for the summer. Since I now hit the local ren faire once a year; that itch isn't scratched as much as I want. After reading Libby Bullof's article this January in the Steampunk Workshop, I decided to got full time steampunk. My personal aesthetic has always been paired down, so the practical upshot is that I the people at work tend to think I'm just dressing up a bit.
After the Great Steampunk Debate, I'm not really sure that my lifestyle counts as steampunk. I'm using the term right now, but looking for something more descriptive. I've though of steampunk inspired, steamish ( I like steamish as it can be both 'steam-like' or a contraction of steampunk and amish), or pro-tech luddite.