My Experience with Meetup

By: John Feeney, Meetup Organizer

I have been involved sparingly in Meetup for a few years now, but it wasn’t until September, 2016, that I started really getting involved in it.

It all began with my outdoor group in Melbourne, Australia, The Hiking Society; where we organise regular weekend hiking and camping trips.

After having being involved in another outdoor group, I decided I wanted to start my own as it would be a great way to contribute content to my hiking and camping blog of the same name.

Within a matter of days, the group was thriving and we had organised our first hike in the leafy outer-eastern town of Warburton.

As it stands, the group is now well over 3,000 members and plenty join by the day. We also have up to 30 other volunteer organisers who host trips as well.

My reason for creating this group was that I wanted it to be for any hiker or camper of any experience or fitness level.

From my experience, being a beginner hiker can be somewhat intimidating. There is so much information to digest that it can be sometimes a little overwhelming.

Furthermore, I believe there are many people in Victoria, and most likely in other parts of Australia, who want to get into the outdoors but have no idea where to go or they have no one to go with.

Therefore, I wanted my group to be the answer to the obstacles that those people were struggling with.

So far, I believe it to be working.

I have witnessed some incredible things occur between some members of our group.

For instance, there have been plenty of people who have turned up to a hike or a camping trip and didn’t know anyone.

They have begun chatting with others, have realised they have common interests outside of hiking, have caught up outside the Meetup group and are now good friends.

There have also been instances where both business and intimate relationships have been flourished.

The whole point of my outdoor blog The Hiking Society was to create a community both amongst the blog and via the social pages associated with it where everyone could contribute their thoughts and ideas around the outdoors.

This has filtered into the Meetup group where it is very much a community of like-minded people.

It’s great to hear others people’s thoughts and insights into everything related to the hiking and camping world.

I have never, and will never, profess to know everything about hiking and camping, and I always appreciate someone else’s perspective that makes me think a bit more.

I’m absolutely blown away at the fast pace at which this group has grown and am eternally grateful for the effort that the organisers put it and the level of interest that all the others put in.

However, hiking and camping trips are only scratching the surface of what we plan to include in our group activities.

Activities such as interstate and overseas trips, First Aid courses, shopping days, navigation and bushcraft activities, ‘glamping’ trips, pack carry hikes and more are just some of the activities we plan on hosting.