(This is a copy of a post I recent put on the AAVSO forums. Thought it might be fun to echo it here.)
For various reasons, I've been inactive for quite some time and have just recently gotten back into variable star observing.
I had forgotten how much fun this is! I primarily do the binocular program and I really enjoy it. For over twenty five years, I've always really enjoyed star hopping. In some sense, star hopping to a variable star is the ultimate challenge as your destination looks just like your signposts -- no fuzziness to give it away!
Plus, when you arrive at your destination, you get to actually do something. I've always wanted to "do more than just look" and variable star observing certainly grants that.
Moreover, as I get older, it is important to me to "do astronomy" whenever I can and I feel up to it. For something that is so core to who I am, the six-to-eight nights a year I get to spend at a dark site just isn't enough. With the binocular program, it is astronomy I can do from my driveway, even on a weeknight (in Bortle 8 skies no less!). My setup and teardown time (10x50s mounted on a Peterson binocular mount) is less than twenty seconds.
When I was young and my parents let me (finally) have a subscription to Sky & Telescope, I remember liking the occasionally variable star light curve that would show up. There is something aesthetically interesting about those graphs. It feels good to contribute to keeping them going.