CamsBLOG: Why I Get Up Early On a Sunday (and You Should Too!)

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These Boots Are Made For Hiking Meetup

Why I Get Up Early On a Sunday

(and You Should Too!)

Ah, Sundays… The perfect day to hit snooze, sleep in another couple hours, and finally get up only to transport your slothful behind from your cozy bed to your nearly-as-comfy couch. Or perhaps you reserve Sunday as your “chore day” where you can finally get around to cleaning that pigsty you call a house. Productive, right? Wrong! Try this instead: set your alarm for 7am, brew a fresh pot of coffee, have a cold shower, pack a healthy lunch and go “take a hike!” Specifically with These Boots Are Made For Hiking, a hiking Meetup I discovered during covid lockdown.

“What’s a Meetup?” I can hear you asking. Here’s the definition right off their website: “Meetup is a platform for finding local communities to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones, and pursue their passions together.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. I myself have been a member on Meetup for years and have attended the odd event, but I truly discovered its power this year during lockdown. Like most people, I was going through a tough time – isolation, boredom, depression – and through the power of Meetup I discovered all sorts of groups that connected me with others dealing with the same crap. Those Meetups helped me get out of my “uncomfortable zone,” beat loneliness, and provided that much-needed motivation I was desperately seeking.

“These Boots Are Made For Hiking” is a Meetup group started by Sherry Bagnato, aka “Dear Woo Woo girl,” a Toronto-based author, podcaster and hiker extraordinaire. When asked why she started this group, she replied: “I tried organizing hikes with friends, but our plans always fell through. I started These Boots to get a group of motivated people together every week!”  And boy, did it work. It started off as a modest group – about 10 members – and has grown to around 40 regular walkers! The skill levels involved are anything from beginner to “moderately challenging” meaning that anyone, age or experience, is able to join. I’ve met people from all “walks of life” (pardon the pun): from the spry and sporty to retirees; from students and newcomers to Canada to those needing the exercise or looking to get closer to nature; or folks just looking to fill up a Sunday afternoon. There are even trekkers who brave the trails as a form of physical therapy. For myself, these hikes have been an excellent form of mental health therapy; I always feel better (or otherwise exhausted) after a hike, and I’ve found it’s a positive and motivating way to start off the week! Whatever the reason for joining, I believe we all have one thing in common: a sense of “finding connection.”

I’ve had a great many conversations with my fellow hikers, and they all have something unique and enlightening to share. These hikes are also a great chance for networking.  Each week we choose a new location to brave, reachable either by public transit or a short drive (and always generous drivers willing to carpool for those who need a ride). We hit up all sorts of hiking trails: some through canopied forests, others through rollicking fields, treks up mountainous bluffs and down winding, wooden staircases – hikes for any challenge level you’re looking for! If this sounds intimidating, no need to fret; the group breaks off into smaller groups so that you’ll always find members who are more “your speed.” And of course we take breaks to rest, eat lunch or go for a refreshing swim along the way. All in all a fun, challenging and exhilarating way to spend your Sunday!

So next time Sunday rolls around, what are you gonna do? Hit the alarm and roll over, or get your backside out of bed and join a hike? If you decide on the former, enjoy your lazy Sunday. But if you are ready for a change, want to take action and get out and meet new people, then click the link below and join our next hike! You won’t regret it, and your alarm will thank you.

> >Sign up for the next hike on Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/these-boots-are-made-for-hiking

Follow Sherry Bagnato: https://dearwoowoogirl.com

Cameron is a freelance writer, short story author and novice hiker living in Bloordale, Toronto

Contact Cameron: cbrtnik@gmail.com

T0P 5: How To Meet People

T0P 5:

How To Meet People

written by Cameron Brtnik

wesocialcommunity-how-to-meet-new-people

T0P 5: How To Meet People 

    Let’s see, what to do today… Go to work? Check. Pick up groceries on the way home? Check. Make dinner and put the kids to bed? Check. Read at least one page of that book I’ve had on the go for six months now… Sleep. Where in this whirlwind schedule of yours did you make time to meet people?

It seems the “art of meeting people” is lost on us. We’re too busy staring at our glowing, soothing screens (I know I know cliche, but also true). Too busy planning our artful escape off the elevator full of sweaty people we spent the entire ride trying not to make eye contact with. Too busy worrying about our home lives: I gotta talk to the husband, I can see Sophie’s going through some issues, when’s the last time I saw the dentist? Internal monologue that really wears us down mentally and physically. “Outside people” are seen as a threat to our own existence: “Don’t talk to me bub or you’ll screw up my mental grocery list.” But you know what’s fun? Getting outside your thoughts, and striking an “uncomfortable” conversation with your worried-looking neighbour in the elevator. Also chatting with that person behind you in the line at the grocery store as you’re paying for your Coffee Crisp. I guarantee at least one of you will leave the conversation feeling better about the world.

Without further ado, here’s my Top 5 Techniques on “How To Meet People and Break The Ice!” (or HTMPABTI)

1. Breaking The Ice – Don’t be shy; Approach people and you break the ice. Don’t open with the usual, “Hey, how you enjoying this party?” Rather offer something:a party trick, a funny anecdote, a compliment, or a corny joke. Once you become a person of value, this “just a second ago stranger” will be actually be interested in meeting you. Now go and Google “corny jokes.”
2. Keep the Conversation Interesting – Be outgoing, friendly, funny, gregarious… But don’t just talk about yourself (nobody likes a bragger…except other braggers); Bring up current news stories, talk about how you both know the host, share an embarrassing story, but most importantly ask questions about them!This person will be (happily) shocked that a stranger is so interested in getting to know more about him or her. Remember: Knowledge is power, and power is half the battle! Or something like that…
3. Ask Questions – Show you’re interested – I know I just stated this above, but it’s worth repeating. One way I engage people is not by telling them about me (although if they ask I will tell them) but rather by asking about them. Not just the usual: “What’s your name? What do you do? Have you been here before blah blah blah…” That’s interesting but not really engaging. Rather ask, “What are your interests?” See if you can bond over a common interest ie. sports, politics, your shared obsession in D&D. This is sure to keep the conversation rolling – at least until you tell them your nickname for the stuffed teddy bear you sleep with every night.
4. Name Game – Remember the person’s name! This is difficult (I do not now why it’s so difficult). My technique? I repeat the person’s name throughout the conversational least four times so I remember it. For example: What’s your name?”Daniella. “Pleasure to meet youDaniella. Daniella, do you enjoy waterskiing?” I’ve never been… “Haha that’s great, I can just picture you on a pair of skis on the lake like, ‘HeyDaniella! You have to be facing the boat!’ Well Daniella it was a pleasure chatting with you, how can we…” That was four times. It seems excessive when you read it, but it’s really not and she won’t even notice. And when you call her by her by her name at the end of the conversation, she’ll be impressed you actually remember it! Not like the last couple douchebags who didn’t and then expected to exchanges socials. Bam you win.
5. Keep In Touch – Rather than blatantly asking,What’s your phone number or Instagram?(this can feel intrusive especially if you just met) ask,”How can we continue this conversation?,”and let them offer their contact. A bit of reverse psychology for you!

Bonus: How to Remember a Name

  1. Repeat their name at least four times throughout the conversation.
  2. Think of a person you know with the same name who has a similar personality or hobby.
  3. Rhyme their name with something you’ll remember ie. Mike likes to hike, Suzy likes to drink boozy…

My Reading List:

  • The Game by Neil Strauss (Don’t knock it till you read it! Useful for men and women)
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Cameron is a freelance writer based in Toronto and a passionate advocate of meeting strangers cbrtnik.com

10P 10: Tips for Hosting Your Airbnb

10P 10: Tips for Hosting Your Airbnb
 
    Airbnb has become the preferred way to travel – especially among nomadic travellers like myself – and to stay in foreign cities, exotic locales, and off-the-beaten-path retreats. I prefer the novelty and adventure of staying in an airbnb over a hotel. Who needs a fancy hotel when you can stay in treehouse or a “tube room?” Sounds fun, right? You often get the opportunity of immersing yourself in the local culture and cuisine, usually under the guidance of a friendly and eager host. As a, ahem, 5-star rated Airbnb host myself, I take pride in offering not only a unique spot for my guests to stay in, but making sure their trip is a truly memorable one. Which brings me to this week’s Top 10 List: Tips for Hosting Your Airbnb. Now go clear out that “office space” you never use and convert it into a ‘space of lasting memories.’ You won’t regret it.
 
10P 10 Tips for Hosting Your Airbnb:
  1. Get reviews! – Like eBay, Airbnb is based on reviews. That starts with making sure the guest’s stay is impeccable to following up with them after they’ve left and reminding them to leave a review. They won’t all be 100% positive, so just take their complaints as “constructive criticism” and an opportunity to make your services better, and make sure to rectify whatever the problem was – now go make sure that litter box is empty!
  2. You are a hotel – When you are staying at a hotel and the TV doesn’t work, what do you do? (Angrily) call the front desk to complain of course! You are the front desk – just deal with it.
  3. Communication is key – Answer potential guest’s questions immediately, and pay attention to your “Response Rate”. After they’ve confirmed, share your Line or Whatsapp for easy communication. Send your info i.e. phone and address along with directions to your home and some photos of the outside to make it as easy as possible to find the place!
  4. Forsee problems before they arise – Pay attention to the smallest details. Your guests will notice and appreciate it. Doing this will also avoid any potential concerns or issues. “Better safe than sorry”, so be prepared when the guest calls you at 12am to ask you where the laundry detergent is, even though it’s right on top of the washing machine – obviously.
  5. It’s all in the details – Any extra niceties you can think to add to make the guest’s stay more effortless or pleasurable, do it! For example, I lay out brochures showing tourist sights and events in Taipei, and I offer my guests an Easycard to use for the MRT and Youbike (that I ask they return on the last day). Breakfast in bed?! No problem! Sunny-side-up or over-easy?
  6. Dirty Work – The biggest bulk of my time spent on my Airbnb business is actually cleaning the place, usually a 4 hour job (and I have an 8 ping flat!). If this idea scares you, hire a maid for $500/hr – takes the stress off, and as they’re professional they’ll probably do a much better job. I mean, just look at your bedroom!
  7. The price is right – The Airbnb website (which is very user-friendly by the way) suggests a daily price based on your neighborhood (and other airbnbs in the area). I take that number and add 50% to it and double it on weekends. As I rent out my whole flat – it’s a studio – I charge more than single rooms, but less than hotels, about what a nice hostel charges.
  8. Caught red-handed – “What if my landlord catches me doing Airbnb?” a) Point behind them, scream loudly, and run for it..you didn’t really need that $30,000 security deposit back anyway! b) Convince him they’re your “cousins from out of town” c) Play the idiot card and feign ignorance d) Offer to team up with your landlord and split the profits 50/50! (Maybe he’ll also help you out with that other “illegal business” you’ve been trying to start in Taiwan…c’mon, you know what I’m talking about.
  9. You break it, you buy it – If you’re worried about your things getting either stolen or broken, you could ask for a “security deposit” outside of your Airbnb agreement. Just make sure to state that from the outset. Also, check if your flat has a meter that reads how many BTUs the air-con used up during their stay – this will prevent another hyperhidrosis-inflicted guest from leaving the AC unit on all day and racking up a hefty bill.
  10. Meet new people! – The best part of doing Airbnb is that you get to meet new and interesting people who also do Airbnb in their home. So next time you’re in Hanoi, Vietnam you don’t have to splurge and stay in the Trump, again.
Cameron is a freelance writer and proud Airbnb Host