I put it out into the universe that I wanted to create epic events for lululemon. I didn’t know specifics of what I wanted to create, but I knew the brand’s vision aligned with mine about community experiences. Then my friend Alice, who happens to be the social storyteller behind the Instagram handle @lululemonakl, shared with me her idea about what would become the Summit Club. And I was instantly a Hell Yes.
So I gathered a team, I made plans, I got quotes. We brainstormed, we tweaked, we got approvals. I added another job into my life for a couple of weeks. I sketched whilst driving (not something I would recommend). I haggled, I asked for favours, I put my graphic design skills to the test. And then all of a sudden it was Saturday morning, we were finalising adventure packs and picking up rental vans.
We started as a group of 24 almost strangers, although there were some threads that wove our lives together. I think the act of doing something together, rather than just meeting as a collective for say a drink, made the bonds build faster and deeper. We sweated together, cooked together, ate together. We slept together in a bunk bed arrangement that reminded me of school camps. We had real meaningful conversations with people we had just met while we trekked. We encouraged each other when the going got tough. We prepared coffee, cooked a meal for 24 and shared chocolate.
The way back down went a little too quickly for me. I wanted to stop and enjoy the views, the peace, the energy. I didn’t want to get back to the vans, to head back to the city. I wanted to stay surrounded by the trees and rolling hills for just a little bit longer. But all good things must come to an end. And so we changed clothes, showered with baby wipes and slipped on jandals. We shared a final meal in Thames before heading back into the urban jungle. We waved goodbye to our new friends.
What I’ve seen since then though, is new friendships. People who’s worlds were orbiting close by suddenly came a part of mine. I have been reminded that everyone I walk past on the street is most likely an epic human, I just haven’t had the chance to get to know them yet. I’ve also been reminded of how much I love being surrounded by trees, feet on the earth, breathing in the fresh air.
Photo credit for all photos: Alice van Schaik