Want more of your friends to join you adventuring? Then make it easy for them.
My friends tend to fall into a 3 camps when we talk about the stuff I do, the places I go or when I ask them to join me:
- I’m down! What are we doing? Let’s go!
- I’d love to do that sort of stuff!
- I wish I had the time to do that sort of stuff.
Setting aside our adventure pals that are pretty much down for whatever crazy adventure — however far the drive, whatever the activity — we’ll focus on those on the fence — I even call them the ones with the excuses.
But if we want to spend time with the friends & family we cherish there are some simple steps you can take when trip planning, idea brainstorming & gear preparations.
- Make it easy for them. This is probably the biggest thing that can affect who gets excited about the plans & who makes the effort to get out with you. Make it easy in every way you can. Serve them. Consider it kind of like your own personal concierge service. You want them out there with you, do everything you can to make it as enjoyable as possible for them.
- Have extra gear they can use. I’m always on the lookout for extra gear (packs, pads, tents) that I can offer to those that want to do what I do and go where I go but don’t have the equipment or know where to start when shopping. I can usually tell people, ‘just don’t wear cotton, pack lots of layers and I got you.’ That’s the nice thing about clothes these days, a lot of people have weather-sufficient clothing they wear around the city & to work. If I let them borrow a pack, tent & some of the other basics, we’re a go.
- Map it out. The wilderness can be scary. Especially the first few times one experiences that darkness & quiet. Do the prep work. Use mapping software like CalTopo or Gaia GPS to create a route, trip plan & take the time to go over with them in advance. This is two-fold: it’ll help them picture the area you’re going to & get them excited. Secondly, you’ll already have it done for them to share with spouses, family as part of your trip plan so that should something happen others know where you are. They’re easy to use and inexpensive (CalTopo is free)
- Keep it short. Sure, you may prefer hiking in 10+ miles to the remotest lake with the best views & summits around. But remember, your friends that don’t do this sort of stuff and go these types of places are likely anxious about going where you’re going. Keep it short. Have an out should weather turn or equipment fail. Make it easy. Give them a taste, but don’t wear them out getting to the deepest, most solitude filled place. Do it right the first few times and you’ll inspire an adventurous spirit within them that’ll take you & them to those places another day.
- Bad weather. One of my favorite quotes is “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather,” by John Ruskin. But I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone is prepared (mentally & gear-wise) to be out in weather. I don’t even call it good or bad I just call it weather, but anyway I understand that’s not everybody’s experience. Do yourself a favor: plan it for when the weather’s not an issue. And if it appears as if weather may be, bag it if that’s what they want to do. Just hold off. Wait until another day, because the last thing you want is a miserable experience for them that with taint the possibility for future outings.
- Do it fast. One of the best trips I recently had was just over 24 hours door-to-door. We camped. Ran trails. Dined. Played with bb guns & throwing stars. We stargazed & talked about life. We know each other better. Remember that trips don’t have to be long. They don’t have to take up vacation days. You can get out, do it fast, get back in town, be back to life in no time. Short trips help cut down on the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse.
For me, there are not many things more impactful & fulfilling then introducing others to the places, inspiration & healing power I find outside. Far from people, the chaos of daily life, the notifications & sounds of technology, I feel most alive. Be inspired by helping others to this unlimited health buffet our natural areas offer.
Make it easy on them, set what you want to do aside & simply help others feel comfortable outside. Whether for a day hike, a first backpacking trip, snow camping or multi-day excursion, introducing others to parts of this world presently closed to them is one of the greatest gifts you can share.
Thinking of the people that helped me & introduced me to the activities I love today really helps give this to them. Sometimes so much my friends that are too busy, don’t have the gear, or just plain scared are sick of seeing it and hearing about it.
But be persistent. Improve your pitch. Better your assistance. Go gather your friends & plan something!