Thursday 22 August, 6:50am
Laughter, song and friendship
I never expected to be feeling joyful about singing in a meadow at 7.45 in the morning before breakfast with a group of strangers.
When the itinerary arrived for my summer singing weekend in Shropshire, I have to admit to being slightly dubious. My friend and I had signed up to the weekend many months before in a rash moment, but when the time came, with wind and rain forecast I started to regret my decision.
We live in Yorkshire, so had a 4 hour drive in front of us on a rush hour Friday afternoon, storms predicted and the thought of erecting a tent in a field at the end of it.
But we buoyed each other on and decided to head for the welsh border, arriving along with torrential rain at a community centre in the Shropshire hills. I had my reservations about meeting up with a group of strangers, but we were welcomed with open arms to a delicious meal, friendly faces and even some sunshine to put up the tent.
I didn't know what to expect from the weekend, going into the unknown can be quite scary, but we met some truly lovely people, were fed unbelievable food, taught by four amazing teachers and surrounded by beautiful countryside.
There is something about singing that brings people together, and by the end of the weekend I felt as if I was among friends.
My fave hobbies are singing and hiking, so I tend to look out for opportunities to pursue these. But everyone has different hobbies or things that they fancy taking up, and there really are groups/speciaiist holidays for everyone. Travel companies such as Go Learn to and Meridian Travels offer a wide variety of special interest holidays. Think about what you do or would like to do - it could be crafts, paddleboarding, creative writing or yoga. Whatever it is, search the internet for groups/trips away who offer these hobbies.
It can be hard to get out of your comfort zone, especially if you find groups difficult, but if you have a particular interest and fancy a trip away with likeminded people, go for it! You are likely to have so much in common and it is interesting meeting people from different parts of the country or who lead different lifestyles.
But if you don't fancy going it alone and would like to find a friend to join forces with who shares a similar interest, togetherfriends might be able to help!