Do you love exploring and getting outside, and do you like sharing your passion with other people? Or have you always wanted to do something adventurous, if only you had other people to go with? I was the latter until I moved down to LA and met some amazing people who took me under their wing and took me outside. I wouldn’t be snowboarding, rock climbing, or hiking if it wasn’t for some truly amazing friends who taught me how to tie my snowboarding boots, to pull on plastic, and to glissade down from a 12,000′ peak in a trash bag. These are powerful memories, and I absolutely love helping people get outside. But until recently, your options for finding adventure buddies were all over the place: you could go to a sport-specific meetup, browse online forums, or go post your name on a bulletin board at a local specialty shop. Pretty intimidating if you’ve never done this kind of stuff before!
Luckily, 2014 has brought some new services that might inspire you to make that leap:
1. Adventure.com (http://adventure.com/)
How was this domain name not taken already? Adventure.com provides beautifully curated stories to inspire folks to get outside, but primarily offers adventure travel and guide services. The site is just getting off the ground, but the growth potential for the adventure/guide services is cool – think of it as a AirBNB for travel and adventure, where you have an option to go with a pro service or stay with a local! Really could have used a guide in Costa Rica, instead of going there and trying to use my rudimentary Spanish to get from the airport to the mountains. Downside? They made a great video (above) but the rest of their content is pretty light right now.
2. Outdoor Project (http://www.outdoorproject.com/)
Information, information, information! Outdoor Project is a one-stop shop to inspire you with trip ideas and to help you plan your next trip…and it’s the most well-designed and functional site out there. You can get camping fees, driving directions, trip reports, hike duration, permit requirements…everything you need, all in one place, and right up front. You can add things to a ‘to-do’ list, get detailed maps…the list of features go on and are incredibly useful. They also add instructional/educational videos – because knowledge is power!
3. Gociety (http://gociety.com/)
A startup based out of Denver that describes itself as “a social network for people who love the outdoors.” Basically, it’s a way to find adventure buddies! It’s been successful in building a community in Denver and Salt Lake City, and recently hired a community manager for Seattle. The advantage of doing this instead of a Meetup is that you don’t have to join a bunch of different Meetup groups for all your activities, you can just see what events are going on and join up (or start your own). As much as I like Meetup, this is more specific to me and I love the spontaneity.