Making friends as an adult has never come easy for me. That’s not easy for me to admit, but none the less, it’s true. I don’t have some of the natural and easier pathways to make friends. I don’t live near anyone I work with, and my daughter goes to a school outside of our neighborhood’s natural boundaries. So I generally don’t make friends with parents of her friends, either. My husband and I both work on virtual teams for different Fortune 500 companies,and we both work out of our house.
When we lived in Florida and made the decision to move to Denver, one of the items on our criteria list for our new neighborhood was to make friends. Honestly. It was in the top five list along with a good airport, easy access to interstates, good schools and good weather. We moved to Stapleton because it met these criteria, plus we loved the openness of the courtyards and built-in sidewalk system.
No young kids and not retired. I love my neighborhood, and I love living in Stapleton. But we don’t have 2.5 kids under 10, and we aren’t retired. We’re in this nebulous space of “in between” where there aren’t many folks whom we have things in common. Plus, with my daughter being older and going to a school outside of the neighborhood, we don’t have the need to discuss schools, teachers, and education topics with the locals.
Let’s just say that walking in community has changed my life.
Despite the above obstacles, I’ve managed to make a boatload of great friends here in Denver. Not only are they friends, but I actually feel like I’ve found my tribe. These friends have appeared on the many walks I do in Denver. With walking as a platform for my life, I’ve managed to make wonderful friends and meet fabulous people. Walk2Connect’s mission has put me together with super people. These people care about me, too.
As one of our the walkers on Walk2Connect’s daily walks says, “Mean people don’t walk.” Not only do mean people not walk, but interesting, engaging, and warm people who walk embrace others with compassion, friendship and kindness. People smile and laugh while walking, and their natural connections infect anyone around them.
It’s through walking that I’ve met one of the criteria of transplanting here from Florida. For the first time in my adult life, I have friends. Real friends. They seek me out. I seek them out. We do things together. And we walk. We walk a lot. Whether we formally walk on a Walk2Connect Same Time, Same Place walk or a curated walking tour by EatWalkLearn, we engage with each other and build out our friendships.
Through walking, I’ve sung carols during the holidays in Hill Top, I’ve learned about the street art of RiNo, I’ve enjoyed the ritual of a weekly walk for over two years, and I’ve even learned about the history of LoHi.
Walking is one reason I will never go back to Florida. My friends are here. My tribe is here, and I couldn’t be happier. Will you come out and walk with me, friend?
Chris Englert, a Walking Movement Leader for Walk2Connect, leads two Same Time Same Place walks in Stapleton weekly and a variety of monthly themed walks. She also owns EatWalkLearn, a curated walking tour business. Look for her upcoming walks on the W2C event calendar!