Mara here and we just got back from the first Hike Like A Woman retreat. I cannot put into words how much I enjoyed this time with friends I have met through HLAW, but I will try to explain the feelings I had for you guys.
People say that social media can take you away from your real-life friends. We’ve all seen the memes of a group of friends sitting around a table and everyone staring at their phones. But social media can also be really, really good.
It can bring people together over vast distances instead of putting a metaphorical distance between two people.
I just got back from a trip to Colorado with nine of the most amazing women I have ever met. And I met them online … through social media.
Last summer I was chosen as a Hike Like A Woman Ambassador. I was super stoked and it was one the best things that has happened to me. After being selected we joined a private Facebook group and got to know each other. And over the past year as I got to know Rebecca and the other Ambassadors, I made real friends that I value a great deal.
I live in Arkansas and it’s about an 18-hour drive to Meeker, Colo., where the retreat was held. And as I made the drive I felt like I was going to visit my best friend that I haven’t seen in forever. And part of that feeling was true, I was visiting best friends, but I had literally never seen them in person.
When I got to our campsite and met everyone, I was overjoyed. I don’t quite think I say “met”, because I already knew them.
As a single woman, I have been on my fair share of online dates, and meeting my fellow HLAW sisters, was nothing like it. Online dates are awkward and the flaws that were hidden on the profile glare at you. But at the HLAW retreat, there was no awkwardness. And as for flaws, we had already become vulnerable to each other over the past year as we all helped each other through personal turmoils we experienced in our lives.
We joked about not going for a hike on a Hike Like A Woman retreat, but honestly I really just enjoyed the laid-back chill vibe and bonding with my friends.
HLAW is about building a community with other women, and that is exactly what the retreat felt like to me. I was never in a sorority in college, but I imagine this is what it is like.
We shared secrets, we cried, we overcame fears, we tried new things, we told dirty jokes, we laughed so much we snorted, and will forever have inside jokes about things that happened at the retreat.
I came away with more inspiration for life, inspiration for work, and inspiration for relationships than I ever have had.
I cannot be more thankful for this group of women.
I’m already plotting when and how I can go back. We all left the retreat with the wheels churning for more retreats, and how we can bring this awesome feeling to other women.
I just can’t help but be thankful for social media. Because social media introduced me to this Hike Like A Woman website and community. Social media connected me with amazing women from across the United State. And without it, we probably would have never met.
p.s. Rebecca here…Next summer we plan to open up HLAW retreats led by women on our Ambassador team in your local area. Would you be interested in attending a weekend retreat with women from our team?
If so drop us a comment below and let us know where you live, what activities you’d like to see offered at the retreat (hiking, kayaking, rafting, arts & crafts, mountain biking, backpacking, eating and relaxing, fly fishing, rock climbing etc).
Our staff is putting our plan together now and hope to have more details to you within the next month or so.
Just in case you missed it, here’s a video documenting the weekend’s events.