With the myriad ways to connect with like minded individuals online, you no longer need to lament your dreary network of ‘boring’ friends; let them be them! We Are Explorers Community – AUS & NZ Facebook Group is open to everyone (although we do keep the weirdos out) and is the perfect place to connect with people near you who are just as into adventure as you are.
On hump day, slumped at your office desk with a cold tea and dry sandwich beside you, you dream of the sound of waterfalls and the feeling of the forest floor beneath your bare feet. You romanticise reading your hardcover novel under the gums, swimming in murky water, snacking on cheese and bacon rolls and unpeeled carrots. You take comfort knowing that this Saturday is yours to be spent adventuring.
It’s the weekend!
By the time the weekend rolls around, you open your phone and scroll through your recent text messages only to discover that you can’t think of a single friend who believes climbing a thousand stairs and a few questionable boulders is a meaningful exchange for a breathtaking view.
So instead of heading out on that adventure anyway (albeit alone), you slump on the couch, turn on Netflix and spend the rest of the day scrolling Instagram, eating Pods and feeling like you should be doing more with your life.
Or maybe, just maybe, you manage to convince a friend to come along and ‘do it for the ‘gram’. And then, mid-journey, you discover they don’t want to swim because it’s too cold, or they don’t want to deviate off the windy mountain track to head straight up, or they arrive at the destination only to take a photo and hustle you back to the car again. The idealised image you had cultivated during the work week is tarnished and you go home questioning why you took the 2-hour drive in the first place. You still eat the packet of Pods.
For a long time, I was that frustrated person. And over time, I projected my frustration onto my seemingly ‘boring’ friends who didn’t want to grab life by the proverbial balls and run with it. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t want to spend a week in a tent with a stick jabbing into their back, snuggling their unwashed campfire-smelling body into a restrictive Aldi sleeping bag. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t comfortable with bush dumps and leaves for toilet paper and canned food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Live a little!” I would yell, “Learn to be uncomfortable! Make good stories!”.
Abandon the idea of a hierarchy.
In doing so, I internalised a hierarchy: the adventurous, outdoorsy types were better, the insipid shoppers, mundane brunchers and obsessive XBOX players secondary. I was a better person because I was outside – I didn’t need capitalism or materialism or consumerism. ‘Ism’s weren’t for me. I was simply ‘present’.
Not only was this blatantly disrespectful to my friends, it failed to recognise that some people use life’s lemons for different purposes. I had no right to judge them for it, especially when they certainly didn’t think their lives were boring. What’s wrong with shoe shops and perfectly cooked poached eggs and a tense game of Nazi Zombies? Nothing.
Am I just lonely?
It took me a while to realise that at the heart of this bitterness was loneliness.
And that I had no right to blame my friends for feeling lonely.
How can I change that?
There are so many online communities that exist to connect like minded people together. From teapot collectors to quilters to adventure-types. We Are Explorers manages their Australia and New Zealand Community Facebook Group with almost 6k adventure-frothers connecting on a daily basis.
They also run weekend Wilderness Escapes involving a variety of activities, including photography, hiking, canoeing, surfing, navigation, survival skills, rock climbing, with new events announced regularly. Most of their attendees go along to the weekend alone, without knowing a single person and come away with a new crew of adventure soulmates.
Currently these escapes run in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria and WAE hope to expand into other states eventually – watch this space!
If you want to live an outdoors life, find people who live their lives outside.
If you want to get into making soup bowls with clay, find people who love ceramics. If you want to crochet sushi covers for your toilet rolls, join a crochet group.
I got my dream job on Facebook Messenger. I found penpals on Instagram. I’ve found people who were interested in starting a writing club on my bedroom floor on Tumblr (plot twist: we spent more time eating pumpkin soup every week and reading poetry than writing). I got free accommodation during my travels in Europe because of a Facebook status.
Social media is what you make it, and if your friends are ‘boring’, find more friends that like the same stuff you do.
And if you can’t find your tribe, make one.