Got To Get Out is a social enterprise adventure group I set up back in late 2014 to try and encourage people to get active outdoors and make friends. The whole idea came about after a long career in corporate (marketing), when I started hearing that New Zealand had a lot of health issues linked to inactivity. On a personal level, I had become quite worn out from years of meetings, boardrooms, deadlines and stress, so I personally needed a change. Funny enough I was made redundant in late 2014, and this was the perfect push I needed to change my life - so I went to Nepal and hiked up to Mt Everest Base Camp, following in the footsteps of my hero Sir Edmund Hillary.
It was while in Nepal I came up with the idea that I could use my marketing and business skills for a better purpose, to mobilise people to get outdoors and maybe change some of those health stats in NZ.
At first Got To Get Out was just an outlet for me to share inspiring content online, with the hope that people would read what I was posting and get up off the couch. The page was basically me posting places I was hiking or visiting, and I always used phrases like "you've #gottogetout here too!"
After a few months of sharing my adventures retrospectively, I started hearing from our audience (mostly friends and family, to be honest!) that they were more keen on me arranging events than just sharing my own. I hosted one trip in early 2015, it went really, well, and I guess the rest is history.
My driving force is to help people change their lives through the outdoors. I love seeing new friendships form, people overcome their fears, get outdoors for the first time, or get healthy. It's the positive feedback from our adventures that keep myself and my group of volunteers showing up week on week to come up with new trips and run this growing organisation.
Today we're probably the biggest adventure group in New Zealand, hosting hundreds of events a year with themes ranging from hikes to bike rides, trail runs, indoor rock climbing and even surf school. As the GTGO community has grown we've set up different online interest groups to represent our diverse following, including the Got To Get Out riders, Got To Get Out runners, Got To Get Out Snow Club, and Got To Get Out climbers to name just a few. We've attracted over 13,500 followers - a community which is growing all the time both around the country and even the world. It seems people are really interested in getting outdoors!
Our events for the past few years have been mostly in the North Island (departing from Auckland) but this year we're partnering with a very exciting organisation who are eager to see us offer trips that depart all around NZ. Expect to see a very different-looking Got To Get Out in 2018 with communities forming in many different cities of New Zealand.
It's free to like our page (www.facebook.com/gottogetout), free to join one of our interest-groups (like the Got To Get Out Auckland or Wellington Adventurers, Snow Club etc) and best of all, many of our trips are free too!
We offer free trips each month to try and reduce the barrier for people to get outdoors. These trips tend to be half-day in length and pretty accessible for first-timers.
If people want something a bit harder and with less crowd, we offer monthly "Got To Get Out Must Do" events that you can pay for. The price for a weekend activity varies but usually, a trip will involve transport, guiding, accommodation and prizes. Examples of Must Do's the Tongariro Crossing, sea kayaking, ski trips, hiking Cape Brett in the Far North, and even cruising the Milford Sound!
All of these trips are offered at www.facebook.com/gottogetout/events
My personal biggest highlight was the first time I arranged a trip to Nepal, to hike Mt Everest Base Camp. Taking a group of Kiwis (and an Ozzie!) back to the place where I first came up with GTGO was super special, but also proved to me that anything is possible for Got To Get Out - we don't just have to offer free or cheap trips, we can actually arrange huge overseas adventures and people will come. I think that the first overseas trip opened my eyes that people are really eager to explore with other like-minded adventure lovers. I guess it was validation in a way, that a little group I had set up on Facebook was trustworthy enough to book a major overseas expedition with.
I just got back from trekking the Annapurna Circuit, the other hugely popular trek in Nepal. Ten of us walked 200km in below-freezing conditions, reaching an altitude of 5416m above sea level. It was incredibly hard going, and most of us got sick at one point or another (myself in particular!). Being the host of the trip but also dealing with high altitude sickness/pneumonia was hard for me; On the one hand, I wanted to be a great leader and keep the group buoyant and upbeat, but I was so sick I had a helicopter ready to remove me from the mountains at a moments notice. This all might sound dramatic or scary, but it was actually a fantastic trip and amazing views. The feeling of camaraderie built from 17 days sleeping eating and walking together can't easily be replicated in the real world.
The whole point of Got To Get Out is to get people into the outdoors. This means many of our treks are 'entry level' hikes/rides/runs, but if people want something more adventurous they can certainly join one of our MustDo events, or come to Nepal. There's plenty of time to train for Nepal 2019/2020 if anyone reading this wants to come, eleven months is more than enough time to get fit! We cater to all levels - what is most important, is that you start small and just 'get out'.
We offer social events and gatherings, sometimes called "Got To Get Social" or "Got To Get Inspired". These are a nice opportunity to come along, meet some of the regulars and leaders, and see if it's a group for you. Also, our monthly Free Hikes are a great entry-level way to get into the Got To Get Out community. In terms of indoor rock climbing, in Auckland, we meet every single Monday at Extreme Edge Panmure. Whether you are top-roping and outdoor climbing or need your first belay lesson, this is a friendly welcoming group.
We've got a sea kayaking trip coming up in February (our MustDo event), then each month you will have a different paid-for event to choose from. On top of those will be around 150 indoor and outdoor events on offer this year (thanks to our new corporate partner we can't tell you about yet!) and of course Everest Base Camp in December. So, lots to choose from.
We're in a country full of some of the most beautiful scenery, trails, beaches, and mountains in the world. But we're also in a country with high rates of sedentary based illnesses and mental health issues like depression and even suicide. I guess in my little way, I am trying to change some of those statistics by getting people connected to nature and connected to one another. One day, GTGO could have a base in different cities of the world - but for now, I think there's plenty of Kiwis (and new-Kiwis) who have got to get out, so I am happy to focus my efforts here in Aotearoa.
Check out Got To Get Out!