Virtual vs Reality
It was more than 2 years ago already that we had our first meetup with some random internet strangers. And with strangers, I really mean strangers! The idea to start meeting fellow bloggers (and non-bloggers) in reality, rather than virtual, came from Amber Tree Leaves.
After an evening of some talking online via skype, we agreed that is was a brilliant idea to meet in person. But we reckoned that it would be cool to do this with a bunch of people. We ended up with 14 strangers in a bar in Breda. And it felt right, straight from the start! And we wanted more, much more. Hence, we already had 7 more BENL FIRE meetups to date, with several more in the pipeline for the coming months.
Meeting people online is great, it helps you grow your network of others with the same interests. It is also easy, with little effort required to get in touch. Yes, it is often anonymous. Guess you do have to develop some sense of trust in each other to feel comfortable to let that anonymity go.
But there is a limit in what you can do online. As a human we are generally (genetically?) wired to need some form of face-to-face interaction. Body language and direct reactions definitely improve a conversation in real life compared to online. It’s also a lot more efficient and makes me feel better at the end of it.
It’s also motivational to speak to others, getting new ideas is critical to enhance your own life and be able to move on when stuck. Plus as an extrovert, it give me energy!
After more than 3 years of blogging and many in person encounters with bloggers (and non-bloggers), I can honestly say that my life is definitely enriched with new friends. The following folks are absolutely awesome, and I hope you have the pleasure of meeting them in the future (in no particular older):
- Mr ATL (Belgium (Beer) Rules!)
- Opa Geldnerd (he is not really a grandpa thou, but we like to tease him anyway)
- Merel & Joost (something with trees…..)
- Susanna & Aroen (the real estate power couple)
- Mr FIREME (the “captain”)
- Big C (he’s a very HOT guy)
- Meneer (sharp & funny, is the best way to describe this bloke)
- Lonneke (Spain, beer and a yellow house; a girl with guts for sure!)
- Peter (the newby blogger with a massive knowledge on pensions, and an allround good guy)
- Spekvet (this guys is too smart for himself, but I love his attitude!)
Still, there are so many more cool folks I spoke to lately that I love to mention but can’t. Thanks to all for your ongoing support, conversations, wisdom & help! It’s greatly appreciated.
The moral of the story
If you are new to the FIRE community, or any community for that matter, make sure you reach out! Get over that feeling of being vulnerable and take that step to approach new people. How you do this is up to you obviously, but make sure you add some reality to it where possible. People are generally awesome, make sure you experience that in real life too!