“All it took was a couple of clicks and the will to get out of my shell.
Sometimes is that simple.”
When travelling alone, it is sometimes refreshing to do things with other people. I especially like joining activities with local people because I always get a different perspective, a glimpse of real life. It is far more exciting than getting stuck in the usual touristic spots.
If you are fairly outgoing, have good social skills and find your self in the right places, the whole thing can happen organically. Sometimes you are at a bar or in a shop, you smile and start a conversation with a stranger and you quickly realise you have common interests. Most people are more than happy to invite you to do things with them for the pure pleasure of showing you their favourites places and activities.
Some people take it even further and actively invite people to come and discover what their region has to offer.
One way to find these kind souls is to use Couchsurfing. The website is mainly known as a platform to find alternative accommodation and be hosted by local people. People that are generous enough to offer their couch (the clue was in the name) to strangers, for the simple pleasure of encountering new people and share their stories and culture.
At least that was the idea behind it. Things might have changed a bit and not everyone is on it for the same reasons but the principle still stands.
A less known feature to the newcomers is the “Find Event” section. Here you can look for events happening near you.
There are also other platforms that are worth checking out, like Meetup or Eventbrite but they seem to be more effective in large towns like London.
Facebook is sometimes good for finding events near by too, but it involves finding and joining local groups first and the asking around.
Couchsurfing “Find Event” section seems to be the most effective tool for the moment.
The idea is quite simple. All you need to do is to scroll through the events happening in your area and join them. It might be nice and polite to introduce your self or ask for more details discreetly. In general remember you are joining something organised by people that don’t know you and showing appreciation never hurts.
It obviously works the other way around too. If you fancy doing some activities and would rather doing them with other people, you can create your own event and open it to the public to join.
On Sunday I joined a lovely group on a hike to the El Griego waterfall in Bonda, near Santa Marta. There were more than fifteen of us, mostly locals but also some from Spain, Uruguay, U.S.A., Norway, and as far as South Corea.
We had a wonderful day out, we enjoyed the forest, we tasted a nice cup of natural chocolate in a local farm and swam under the waterfall.
I made new friends and we are now planning new activities together.
All it took was a couple of clicks and the will to get out of my shell.
Sometimes is that simple.
Getting to El Griego from Bonda