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How to Find Adventure Buddies in a Digital Age

The best adventures are the ones that are shared.

By: Jason Horstman + Save to a List

With the presence of social media and technology at the fingertips of just about everyone these days, getting outside is more appealing than ever. Finding people to get outside with is not always easy though. We've all had a friend or two who always flakes at the last second, or you're new to an area and have trouble finding people who share the same passions, skill levels, and schedule as you. I experienced this firsthand when I moved to the PNW and was introduced to hiking and other various outdoor activities. If there was an activity that got me outside, I wanted to do it. The only challenge was that it was not very easy meeting people at first, and I didn't necessarily always feel comfortable getting out on my own (if I did, it typically made friends and family a little anxious).

If there's a few things I've learned over the years, it's that there are several ways in which it's possible to meet and connect with other outdoor enthusiasts in the digital age, all of which are applicable for introverts and extroverts alike.

1. Interest-based Mobile Apps

Interest-based mobile apps can be very beneficial in an age where everyone is busy and has a limited amount of time to dedicate towards meeting people with similar interests. One such app that's been around for quite some time is Meetup. There are all sorts of meet-ups for every age range and activity, so chances are there is one in your area for the activity you love to do. Another app that was just recently released (currently iPhone only) is Adventurocity, which allows people to search for other outdoor enthusiasts based on their activities, skill levels, favorite places, and schedule. The great thing about this app is that it pinpoints exactly what you're looking for and has just about every activity you can think of.

2. Instagram

One of the most popular platforms for social media and sharing photos, it's a no brainer that Instagram can be used as a tool to not only interact with people who share similar interests, but also to meet those people, too. Occasionally you might find people or brands hosting an Instagram meet-up or event, which is a perfect opportunity to meet other like-minded outdoor enthusiasts. More often than not, I've found people to be pretty friendly and down to earth here and also wanting to find other people to get outside with, so if you happen to interact with certain people on a regular basis and have some mutual connections, ask them if they're open to meeting up sometime (if you both have a ton of awesome hiking photos, chances are you probably have some things in common).

3. Facebook groups

Facebook is another social media platform that can also be great for finding active and outdoor groups. Try searching for groups in your area that pertain to the activities you love doing - for example, one of the most well-known groups for hikers and climbers in the state of Washington is called Washington Hikers & Climbers which has over 100k members who post photos from theirs hikes and offer advice on anything hiking and climbing related. Chances are, if the activities you love doing are pretty popular in your area, there will most likely be a group or two that's dedicated to that activity and has members who are also looking to meet like minded people to get outside with.

4. Outdoor Education & Classes

Taking classes through various organizations can be a great way to not only learn more about the activity you love doing, but to meet and interact with others who are there for the same reasons. For example, the Mountaineers is a non-profit outdoor community that offers several outdoor courses in climbing, navigation, avalanche awareness, etc. Similarly, REI also offers several courses on various subjects and also plans several outings and trips that anyone can sign up for.

5. Get Outside

If there's an activity you like doing, sometimes you just have to get out and do it and chances are you'll eventually cross paths with and meet others who are doing the exact same thing.  Don't be afraid to say hello and strike up a conversation with strangers everywhere you go.  I met one of my best friends when I decided to take a solo trip to Mt. St. Helens one weekend to photograph wildflowers for sunset. I was on my way back to the parking lot and started chatting with another fellow photographer who appeared to be waiting for the Milky Way to come out. It just goes to show that it never hurts to say "hello" when you're out on the trail.

Making new (outdoor) friends can be extremely difficult, especially if you're an introvert like myself. The best thing you can do is to use social media and technology to your advantage, and be as social and friendly as possible. There's no right or wrong way to do it, but hopefully this gives you an idea of how to approach it and the different ways in which it's possible. There's no better feeling than getting outside with other fellow adventurers and getting to share some memorable experiences with.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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