How To: Adventure in a Digital World
“If you build it, they will come”
There are so many incredible organizations and groups out there for people in all walks of life and with all sorts of interests and I have found that people seeking adventure are no different. While we like to experience the natural world, we still participate in the digital world because, well we are people and that is just how the world works today. If you want to find people that share your interests, just search for them, and I mean that literally. Enter “your interests” into any search bar and you will find a plethora of people out there.
As a person who has a not-so-slight adventure addiction it is easy to assume that I have some sort of insiders info on getting out into the world. In reality, about five years ago I started joining Meetup groups and Facebook Groups and kept showing up to different activities until I started finding my people. I still love finding new groups to have fun with, usually through recommendations from friends now. It does not happen overnight, and it actually requires showing up and not just watching the events go by from behind your computer screen; but it really is as simple as that.
I have met so many incredible mothers and humans through a variety of hiking and adventure groups that over time have become my closest friends. Since Utah is a state full of transplants, people have come and gone and I love watching them take their adventurous spirits to other places. It can be easy to assume that adventure is easier in a place like Utah because of the access to beautiful landscapes. While the backdrops might be next level here, adventurous people can be found everywhere if you actually put yourself out there and look for them. It can feel vulnerable to show up to an event full of people you do not yet know, and even more vulnerable to plan an event not knowing if anyone will show up for you. When I started hosting hikes it took a few tries before anyone even showed up, but eventually they did and I was able to form bonds with other women in a similar life-place that have flourished since.
Find groups. Join Groups. Participate in Groups. Now what? Every group goes through seasons of more and less activity, so let’s say your group is going through a slower season of events, now what? Now is your chance to shine! Plan an event. Put it on the calendar and invite people to it. Make it at least a week out so people can plan for it and then remind people about it the day before it is happening (because we all have mom brain every once in awhile). Try your best not to get discouraged if people don’t show up: they are just as nervous as you! If nobody shows up, do the activity anyways and post pictures, people trust people they can see.
Recently I wanted to do a hike without my kiddos that I knew was not safe to do solo. It was an 8-hour hike that required being at the trail head at 4am so we could be home at a reasonable time. I found a group full of women that I thought might be on board and I put it out there. I put it on the schedule, I reminded people about it and a few weeks after the initial post I met up with a handful of mostly strangers hours before the sun decided to wake up to summit a mountain. That sounds a bit terrifying, but the more you do that kind of thing, the easier it becomes. We spent the next 8 hours talking about everything we could think of, pushing each other and supporting each other when we needed help. We all had moments of struggle and we worked together to all get up that mountain. The views were totally worth it. Similar to the highs and lows of activity in online groups, this group of women had periods full of chatting, full of silence, full of supportive words, and full of laughter. We spent the final push of the ascent mostly silent, sprinkled with heavy breathing. As soon as we reached the top it was like someone pushed the un-mute button as we all started laughing, cheering and whooping it up together.
Adventuring looks different for everyone; some people love the adrenaline heavy sports, I love hiking, there are rock climbers and mountain bikers, yoga lovers and people that like meeting up at coffee shops to sit and chat. Whatever adventure looks like to you, remember that the most important part of any adventure is the connection you make with the people around you. From the moment I found a group of strong women to hike with I was less happy hiking alone.
Connecting with people, hearing their voices and their stories has always been my favorite part of the outdoor life. During my high school years I ran cross country with an amazing group of weirdos like me and I always used to joke that the running was my least favorite part of cross country. We would spend our miles running, talking and laughing; all while listening to the Daily Adventures of Kimmy with her down to the minute play by play of her day. Running was our excuse to our parents to be able to connect to a handful of friends every day, and it was an incredible experience in showing up.
The long and the short of the story is this: find a group of people doing something fun and join them. Then show up. That really is all it takes. Keep showing up and you will find other people that also keep showing up, those people could become lifelong friends. Support them and let them support you. Life is just better when you are surrounded by people that you actually can connect with.
Happy Adventuring Friends!