So in light of recent events, I have been doing a lot of reflection on how I was taking advantage of my time at the beginning of the year. Honestly, I’m proud to say that I really didn’t waste very much of it! With this new pandemic I wanted to share a little of what I learned with you all, especially since we now have quite a bit of time on our hands.
It all started with a conversation between myself and two of my close friends, Paul and Michael. We were sitting in Michael’s apartment thinking about previous trips that we had taken over the three day weekends that begin the year, MLK Day and Presidents day, when Michael proposed that we emulate a trip he did a couple years ago and take a couple friends down to Moab for MLK Day. I was a little hesitant and first but quickly agreed that it would be a fun trip for us. We started by creating a group chat with everyone that we knew would come, about 6-8 people to start, and asked for them to confirm. Once we knew that we could count on that base group we were off to the races!
From there we organized a basic itinerary with events that we thought everyone would enjoy and wrote it up in a notes document on Michael’s phone. This was about a month in advance to the trip so in our free time we found ourselves browsing the internet, looking at hikes and places to stay. Eventually we found ourselves looking at a large house that was available for rent. The website claimed that we could bring either 16 or 30 people maximum, depending on how much of the house we wanted to rent. I quickly proposed that we shoot for 25 to 30 people (as I was planning the trip, it was hard to not tell people about it and by this point I knew that there was a large amount of interest in joining). So Michael began to put all the info in the spreadsheet and I began inviting people! Before long, we were full and had to turn people away (30 is quite a lot of people to keep track of!). Without the spreadsheet we would have been completely hosed! To ensure that people were commited, we also began asking for them to give us a small downpayment. This also allowed us to take care of a couple of things in advance like renting the house and buying food.
On the spreadsheet, we focused on tracking three things: Meals, Finances, and Transportation too and from Moab. We decided that we would cook for ourselves as much a possible while there so the night before we left, I took the list (partially pictured below) and purchased everything that we would need for 30 people over 3 days at Costco. Seriously without Costco I don’t think that this would have worked as well as it did haha.
We planned it out so that we would have a lot of repeat ingredients and so that we would eat each ingredient in order of perishability and room in the fridge. This wasn’t quite as necessary to plan out for such a short trip but we felt that it would be wise to do anyway. Maybe I’ll tackle this in more detail in another post, comment below if you have any questions!
With the finances, we had everyone give a downpayment of $14 and in the end each person only had to pay about $50 total! That’s what happens when you have a group so large, sharing the load is a lot easier :).
Transportation was a beast. That’s why it got its own page in the spreadsheet! I wanted to give everyone an enjoyable experience and knew that I would be one of the only people to know almost everyone on the trip. So to encourage mingling, I spread out a couple of new people in each car that I knew would thrive with a couple new friends. Using this method, I was able to sort everyone into their car groups a couple days in advance!
The trip itself went very smoothly and thanks to everyone pitching in to help prepare and clean up meals, we were able to strengthen new friendships very quickly! I’m proud to say that a couple of the people who met on the trip also decided to take trips together already! (I could never have washed so many dishes on my own haha)
Huge shout out to the team that helped me bring this to life: Michael, Paul, Alyson, and Elisabeth. A very special thanks to Kyler and Alec for keeping me sane as well. It wouldn’t have happened without each of you!
What I learned from this whole experience was really that without a solid team, there is very little you can do on your own. I will cherish these memories forever! Do you have a special trip that you would like to take as soon as ‘Rona has left the building? Comment below!
Do you need help planning your own trip? Looking for ideas? Shoot me a message and I would be happy to help!