I got off the plane from China on Tuesday afternoon and was back at the airport Wednesday morning heading to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for what has become an annual sojourn (for at least the past 8 years give or take a missed year)..
One of my friends is the linchpin (apologies to Seth Godin) in this diverse group of more than 24, 16 – 20 of which show up any given year. What I find interesting and to truly be a pleasure is connecting once a year with people that I likely would never have met under any other circumstances. We eat together, ride together, drink together and laugh for 4-5 days.
They come from all over the United States, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. The trip for some has been going on for more than twenty years. Over the time we spend together you will find yourself riding with or at least playing with every one of the guys, so you will have the opportunity to catch up on what’s been going on with everyone for the past year.
While there are some email contacts over the year nobody appears to be terribly interested in any kind of regular communication aside from pre-trip instructions and information. I can assure you there will not be a Facebook ‘group’ created for this bunch.
Yes it’s a vacation but for me not the usual kind since I’ve never been the type to have a regular boys’ poker game or guys’ night out – not that I am against it BTW. Over the years we’ve all gotten to know each other better – things are discussed about our families, lives, businesses and even plans for the future. The linchpin is a friend and business associate for close to twenty years but since I’ve been coming on the trip our relationship is closer as a result.
And that’s the point isn’t it? Today so many of us spend countless hours looking at a screen, responding to email, writing proposals and doing work, checking social networks, ‘surfing, around the web, ‘consuming’ content and searching out information. We think we are connected to people because we answer emails, respond to FB posts and to some degree that’s true and better than the alternative of NOT being connected at all.
But as I keep on saying – being there makes all the difference. When Sunday rolls around and we all say our good-byes and head back to our regular lives the countdown begins for next year’s trip. It’s something we all think about and look forward to as the trip approaches. For me that will start Monday because this social network is the real deal.
What interesting things do you do to network with people that do not involve looking at a screen?