Recently I went on my very first getaway with the Adventure Aide Crew to Big Bear, California. Going into the weekend, I knew no one. If you’re anything like me, you are intimidated by walking into a room full of strangers. I was definitely challenging myself in more ways than one, but isn’t that what life is all about? And now I am here to tell you three things that happened when I booked an adventure with twelve random people. In short, I came home feeling like those strangers are now family.
First, I made a bunch of awesome new friends. This one might seem obvious; isn’t that the whole point? But I was not so sure, sitting in traffic on my way to Big Bear, wondering if these people I would be sharing a cabin with will be friendly? Genuine? Passionate? Supportive? Adventurous? Did I say genuine? Well, I can promise you, they were all that and more. The moment I arrived at our cabin by the lake, I was reassured. As everyone began to show up, we shared a hot dinner, prepared by our wonderful Aides, and gathered around to learn about each other. The best part about making so many new friends is the possibilities that lie within our stories. Each of the people I met could become a permanent part of my story, or maybe just temporary. Either way, every one of them altered my path and perspective in some way, and that is the coolest thing.
But obviously I made friends, so what else happened?
Spending a weekend in the mountains with people previously unknown, taught me so much about myself. When I meet new people I always hope they feel they can be their true selves with me. I do my best to be inviting and accepting, in order to allow people to be genuine in return. I believe that being vulnerable with strangers can sometimes be easier, because they don’t have any preconceived notions about you, and vice versa. Assumptions about others and about ourselves can create pressure and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I spent the whole weekend challenging myself to be very present and to build connection with people and it truly paid off. I realized that being open and honest about myself created the best atmosphere to invite connection to these new friends. Aside from all having an affinity for the outdoors, it felt like everyone on the getaway understood the importance of genuine connection, and (again) that is the coolest thing! Whoever taught us not to talk to strangers, definitely never went on an Adventure Aide getaway.
Lastly, but surely not any less awesome, we built a community in that cabin in Big Bear. The outdoors and desire for experiences brought us all together, but we built the links that now bind our stories together. In that cabin on the hill, I learned games, but also taught my new friends a thing or two. I listened to countless stories, serious and hilarious, and I was met with an attentive audience when it was my turn. I sang, danced, and attempted the kazoo (Toxic by Britney Spears, obviously) next to the fire. I cooked alongside a new friend, competing against our housemates for the Top Taco. I spent the entire weekend laughing and smiling, learning and growing and after just 48 hours, we felt like family. A group of people who have similar interests, while also bringing their own passions and individual stories to the house. It was the most encouraging and supportive atmosphere, and damn, that is the best thing!
So if you are anything like I was, and are hesitant to book the trip or show up to the event, I encourage you to do it. Take the leap, jump in with both feet, take the bull by the horns, whatever you want to call it. I did not regret it, in fact, it changed me for the better and I cannot wait for my next adventure.