If there’s one thing that’s as old as time itself, it’s boredom. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic took this problem and made it even worse. With more of us working remotely and dealing with the enduring repetitiveness of social media, adults in America have never been more bored. In fact, polls show that the average adult experiences 131 days of boredom a year. That’s a little more than one out of every three days—quite a lot of time to kill.
While boredom may be prevalent and predictable, it’s far from human nature. People are simply not wired for boredom. To prove that point, consider a study where participants were left alone for 15 minutes. Nearly half of them chose to self-inflict electric shocks on themselves rather than deal with boredom, even though all of the participants had previously stated that they would pay money to avoid being shocked with electricity. Boredom can be a powerful thing.
So what do we do when we’re bored? We usually turn to the easiest and most accessible solutions to give us something to do. In today’s day and age, that means social media, online streaming, or doing the same thing we do every Friday night. But scrolling through TikTok videos, binge-watching Netflix, and hitting up the same bars and restaurants don’t offer the lasting relief from boredom that we crave.
What, then, is the answer? Getting out and experiencing something new. A study by Kumar et al showed that experiences give people much more satisfaction than material items. After being locked up for a year, it makes sense that the cure for boredom lies in going out and trying something you’ve never done before. But like most things, this is easier said than done. Old habits and routines weigh us down, making it next to impossible to break out of the monotony and find new things to do.
How do you find something fun to do with friends on the weekend? What do you do for a special date that’s more interesting than just grabbing coffee for the thousandth time? How do you expand your friend groups and meet new people? There’s no easy way to answer these questions. That’s why most people stick with old habits, perpetuating the problem of boredom and the routines that no longer serve them.
To cure this plague of boredom, entrepreneurs James Pratama and Leo Liu have created Alohub, a platform that allows people to browse through fun in-person experiences in their city. Think of it like Netflix for in-person experiences—you hop online and scroll through options like combat archery and improv shows to find one that really catches your eye. Before you know it, you’ve got the whole crew taking bachata classes at the nearest dance company.
The seeds of Alohub were planted after Pratama and Liu went to a pottery painting experience at The Clayroom in Boston. They had an absolute blast painting pottery but were puzzled by the fact that it had taken hours of Googling and five years of living in the Boston area in order to find it. This experience clued them into something revelatory: there are dozens of fun in-person experiences offered by local businesses hidden amid all the clutter on the internet. Businesses all over the city host memorable in-person experiences all the time, from salsa classes for couples to trampoline parks for families.
The only problem is that these experiences aren’t always easy to find—until now. Unlike existing apps like Yelp and Groupon that hide these experiences amidst a sea of unrelated products, services, and one-time events, Alohub consolidates them all into one app. All you have to do is open up Alohub and scroll through between 50 and 100 fun experiences to try. Once you’ve made your pick, you can make reservations for yourself and your friends, family, or that special anniversary date you put off planning until the last possible minute.
But what do you do if you want to try something new and can’t find anyone to go with you? After all, our friends don’t always share our interests, and it can be intimidating to go it alone. Luckily Alohub has an additional option that allows you to enjoy experiences with new people by joining social time slots. If you’re interested in taking a boxing bootcamp and meeting fellow fitness enthusiasts, you can select this option when making your reservation. That gives you the opportunity to try something different and meet new people all at the same time. Win-win.
As if getting to know new people wasn’t already hard enough, the pandemic has caused our tendency to isolate to go sky-high. But thanks to Alohub, people in the city of Boston have a great intermediary to make new friends and have fun at the same time. Since it was launched in February, Alohub has created a new community of people in Boston who have gotten to know each other through shared Alohub experiences. From Interactive Questing at Boda Borg or the Escape the U-Boat escape room at Red Fox Escapes, there are numerous experiences out there just waiting to turn strangers into friends.
And for Pratama and Liu, this is only the beginning. They have plans to scale Alohub in Boston before expanding in key cities to establish the foundation they need to operate nationwide. Pretty soon the pandemic of boredom will come to an end across America, as more and more people discover the sea of experiences buried in the cities that they call home.