On a beautiful Sunday in October, 21 strangers head off into the bush to explore a remote part of central Victoria. Sounds like the start of a horror movie doesn’t it? Well it wasn’t – it was my first Meetup experience 🙂 I’m sure I’m very late cottoning on to this, but I’ve just recently learnt how fabulous meetup groups are. I’ve joined three, one of which is a Young Hikers group (age cut off is 35), and yesterday was my first time hiking with them.
I may have mentioned in previous posts that I love hiking, and I may also have mentioned (or at least inferred) that I’ve come to the realisation I can’t always rely on FF or other friends to join in with my hobbies and interests. I need to find other friends to share them with, otherwise it’s too easy to sit at home and whinge, or even worse, not do the things that I really enjoy.
So yesterday I headed off to the Brisbane Ranges for an all day hike with the Melbourne Young Hikers group. Maybe it’s ironic that I’ve just blogged about being an introvert and here I was spending a whole day with complete strangers, but being introverted doesn’t necessarily mean being antisocial or shy. This was a diverse group of people and I knew there would be some kindred spirits among them. There would be no pressure to find a conversation starter because there were so many obvious choices. “So are you a regular with this group? Do you go hiking often? Where are you from? What do you do for a job? And so on and so forth.
I also made the strategic decision of picking up two other people who live nearby and driving them down there so we got to know each other in the car on the way.
It was such an awesome day – glorious weather, beautiful scenery and good company. I spent most of the day chatting with Sara, the half Malaysian, half English Physiotherapist, Edwin, the dutch medical student and Cecille, a French au pair, both obviously living in Melbourne. I was also really pleased to find that my six months of solid personal training is paying off – I handled the physical exertion so much better than I would have six months ago. 14km of scrambling over rocks in a dry creek bed and up and down gullies and I was only moderately sore by the end of it. Richard, the group’s organiser, is an experienced hiker, despite being only 19 years old (!!!) and it was great to be able to just put our trust in him and his map and compass to guide us through a completely unmarked part of the Ranges.
So with my first Meetup experience a resounding success I’ve rsvp’d for a couple of other activities coming up in the next few months and can highly recommend giving it a try, particularly if you have a specific hobby and are searching for new friends to share it with.
Check it out here – www.meetup.com.