As a follow up to Chris’ blog post in regards to Kayak Camaraderie, I began to think of all the times I too have had similar experiences — some resulting in life-long friendships. As you grow older, meeting new people can be challenging at times. Everyone is so busy with work, kids, etc. and unless you make the effort, chances are you will stick to your close circle of friends for the rest of your life. I think things can be a bit different for paddlers.
I have come across so many people with similar interests stemmed from a mutual passion for the outdoors. Many are customers, fellow employees and partners while some are total strangers asking questions about the kayaks on my truck. Others are simply associated with groups and organizations that I have been involved with. What’s so unique to me is that many of these encounters have resulted in friendships, some of which have become close family friends.
Who would have known that a complete stranger that I met through a local kayak fishing forum back in 2008 would be the same person calling me today for a favor to pick up his daughter from summer camp because he wasn’t going to make it on time? Or what about the customer who, fast-forward two years later, would be bringing his family over to my house for a barbeque and another that now includes me in his annual fish/camp trip? Then there is the guy that I met through a mutual friend on Facebook specifically because of our similar interests in paddling. I’m just scratching the surface here…the point is, and I am sure you’ll agree, being a paddler certainly does open a door to what Chris refers to as Kayak Camaraderie.
I’ve been paddling for about ten years now and directly involved with the outdoor retail industry for about six years now. If someone were to ask me what the biggest benefit from it all has been — it has to be the friends I have made.
What about you? I bet you’ve got some stories of your own.