I traveled solo and met people in real life through social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and blogging. How did I do it? Read below!
Lynwood’s Suspension Bridge, North Vancouver, Canada. Photo by @PauloDelValle
“How did you meet?” “Instagram.”
I was sitting at a coffee shop my last morning in Seattle after traveling for weeks from Los Angeles to Whistler, wrapping up the Ultimate West Coast Road Trip. A friendly, elderly woman asked Mitch Pittman and I how we met. Give by her tone, she probably thought we were dating.
“Instagram” he answered as we both chuckled.
People who connect via social media are meeting up in real life more than ever, and it’s pretty fascinating. I won’t take credit for being the first, but it has come to my attention that many people are blind to how social media can serve to enhance our real social lives.
Who better to adventure with than a local interested in photography?
Through San Francisco insta-meets, I also met Daniel Cohen, Andy To, Carl Wilson, Christian Bercerra, The Vagabond Brothers, and a dozen others.
How I did it:
I posted dates via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook groups and invited people to meet up with me. I still do it.
Check out this Facebook group: Girls Love Travel.
I met up with people that have public social media profiles and/or mutual friends in public places.
We got in cars and went places to do things.
I was recently single, so I decided on solo travel (again) and connected with people I really wanted to meet.
I have gone on trips by myself on several occasions (far before blogging). What is great about solo travel is not just the alone time, but all the new people we meet from all walks of life.
Feeling free, I realized that I could go anywhere I wanted. I decided to road trip the U.S. West Coast, finally meeting numerous people that I had met through social media in person.
Shannon Falls, B.C. — pulling an all-nighter to meet up with @PauloDelValle.
Why meet people through social media when traveling?
Because it’s fun. Because they’re up for it. Because we have things in common. Because they know where to go. Because we can support each other.
I also met up with friends from college and high school; I met up with readers; I met up with people who are also professional travelers. To be clear (I only thought of this because someone asked me), I don’t just meet up with “influencers.” Rather, I am interested in meeting people who share things in common with me.
Maximizing my experience in a destination is that much easier if I am gallivanting about with a local or traveler — particularly one (or some) who enjoy taking pictures. With my passion for visual story-telling, Instagrammers and bloggers are naturally people who “get it” and don’t mind stopping for a photo. They also know the types of scenes I am seeking, and can relate to my wanderlust.
You are probably wondering, is it safe to meet up with people in real life that you meet via social media?
While meeting anyone new subjects us to risks, there are strategic ways to be more safe about the way we meet with strangers while traveling. In my opinion, meeting someone via social media before meeting in real life can actually be safer than meeting a complete stranger at, say, a bar, or walking down the street. Through a social media friendship, we are able to see if we have mutual friends or spend our time in similar ways.
Here are some tips:
- Meet in a public place.
- Check out their social media profiles to make sure that they are real. For example, do they have a normal amount of friends? Who are they following? (Not just a bunch of women) Do their pictures seem real/ theirs?
Generation Y gets a lot of negative attention for our obsession with social media. I agree.
Look up, get off you phone. Get up, get off your lap top. I couldn’t tell you what’s on television or what the coolest video game is right now, but I can tell you which city will surprise you most and where to go in Thailand because I spend as much time away from screens as I can get away with. However, I often get inspiration on where to travel through the internet, and I do meet up with people through social media.
I have a love-hate relationship with social media.
Quite frankly, I would not post so much and feel the need to update the world with my life if social media did not allow me to 1. live the life I am living as a writer; and 2. meet really interesting people. I hate the obsession, but I love meeting new people and getting tips on cool places to go. Like anything else, social media is a tool, and it’s up to us to choose how we use it.
Check out some of our adventures/ collaborations from our meet ups:
Big Sur, California – with @BonTraveler – met via @Dame Traveler Instagram and road tripped from San Francisco through Big Sur and back.
Redwoods National Park with Nomadic Matt and Matt Monroe – met both through a mutual friend and blogging, but only met twice before driving to multiple cities together.
Big Four Ice Caves with @RobStrok, met via Instagram.
The Road to Utah and Arizona – with @Chris.Rivera – met via Instagram and road tripped from Los Angeles to Utah and Arizona for the #IgersWithoutBorders instameet which included a car van of about thirty adventurers.
Since my road trip, I have continued meeting travelers through social media. I explored Israel with @CrazyInTheRain
I explored Miami with @witness_x, @hi_tola and @ShooterShane ,who I met through Instagram.
Jerry (@witness_x ) captures my signature shoe shot :)
I’m currently in the Florida Keys with @ExpertVagabond who I met on Facebook.
And my favorite of all, @GlobalExplauren
She came to a Napa meet up, and bought a one-way ticket to join me in Florida in the next day!
How do you meet people while traveling? Leave your comments below!
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