I would call my very first Instagram influencer retreat a success. I was nervous about it about 6 months ago when I thought it might be a fun idea. I reached out to a few girls and asked them if they would be interested. Well, about 6 months later, I was meeting my friend Sarah from the cute town of Chattanooga, TN, for the very first time in person at the Denver airport.
Some people think that the whole, ‘meeting people’ on Instagram is a little crazy, and I have to admit that you do ask yourself that, but it just seemed like where the Lord was taking at least 5-10 of the friendships I’ve been given to that next level of meeting them in person.
That’s what Instagram has become for me. It’s become that launching pad to the next level of friendship, to meeting people in person, praying together, sending them a quick message asking them to pray, and eventually, Lord willing, meeting them for the very first time and giving them a hug.
I wanted to share some of the highlights of the weekend (just in case anybody else ever wants to do one with me! Hint.. Hint…)
#1) All the Food – We visited grocery stores, had pizza, ice cream, gyros, and gelato. It was so fun finding new local foods at the Farmers market.
Sarah and I had a WONDERFUL weekend. Our very first stop included the Denver Central Market, a cute collection of a ton of different food shops from bakeries to a smoothie place to a burger place to pizza.
Sarah and I both settled on these delicious Greek pitas. Hers was filled with beef and a cucumber salad, I think, from Izzios Bakery, and mine was their Chicken Shawarma in a big warm soft pita.
Y’all, I can say that this whole weekend was a weekend of NORMAL eating. I’m not saying that I wasn’t eating normally before this weekend, but often on vacations, I would feel pressure to restrict because I wasn’t in my comfort zone. This weekend I felt that pressure (maybe once), but it quickly went away.
I felt the most normal I’ve felt in a long time. Sarah really modeled intuitive eating to me in the way she ate exactly what she wanted, and I was so encouraged to keep doing what I had been doing.
I love life posts on blogs, and so I think this is the entrance of more life posts, more recaps on what normal life, normal eating looks like. For the first time in FOREVER, I am facing new battles that don’t relate so much to food. It’s incredibly freeing, and it almost feels weird, but it’s good.
Sarah and I also made a delicious stop to some of our favorite grocery stores. It was really fun going out with a friend who loves to shop for food as much as I do. We browsed Whole Foods and Sprouts for a few hours after the Denver Central Market, and I was able to pick up these Made in Nature Figgy Pops (after they popped a few coupons in the mail for me).
Another Whole Foods Find was these delicious chips!
#2) Appreciating Local Places and Local People – Sarah inspired me to go to another local Farmers market in Castle Rock, Co, where we discovered people who sold tacos, veggies, fruit, bread, pastries, candles, essential oils, and even some of the biggest tortillas I’ve ever seen.
Instagram is such a cool thing, because it’s also helped me want to appreciate the more local vendors and local foods in my town/state; Sarah definitely cultivated more of a love for that in me over the weekend as we visited local vendors, stopped at a Saturday Farmer’s market (where I picked up the most delicious, soft, green chile tortillas, a candle, and some pasta.), and she even got a jar of a nut butter that’s produced right in my own little county.
Some Local Colorado Themed Soap I Found
Local Colorado Honey I Didn’t Buy, but it looked yummy!
The last day Sarah was here, it was cloudy and rainy, so we opted out of a hike for a yummy ice cream date at a Parker Ice Cream shop I discovered not that long ago. I got their Heath Bar Chocolate Icecream flavor. I got the single scoop, and it was HUGE, but whenever you give me a huge ice cream cone (knowing my huge sweet tooth), I’m pretty likely to finish it unless I’m not very hungry.
#3) Enjoying the Outdoors Together – Sarah and I were able to do two small hikes at the Ridgeline Open Space Trail and the Castle Rock trail. We enjoyed sitting on a teeter totter on Saturday night talking all things social media, relationships, how God is teaching us to trust Him. I’m struggling even right now with learning to trust God and hope in Him despite some rather hard circumstances, but I keep going back to this Psalm. Sarah also really really was so encouraging with a listening ear and sharing her own experiences.
Psalm 42:5-8, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.’
#4 – LOVE. LOVED our Air BnB. – Air Bnb is the way to go y’all. It’s not expensive. You can find a really quiet inexpensive place for cheap, and you can cook your own meals if you want, or you can go out to eat. Our little apartment was perfect for 2 people.
For our Instagram retreat, Sarah and I both rented an Air BnB. It was my first time and Sarah’s 4th time. It was a really cute clean apartment in a very quiet part of town. I sat out on the grass a couple of the evenings after Sarah and I had spent the whole day hiking and out in the sun/shopping.
#5 – The best part? It was the genuine in person connection that I have craved for so long especially when meeting those few friends on Instagram that you know are going to be friends for a long time.
I’ve met Alison and Janie both in person, and those were some of the most fun meetings ever; we talked. We learned about each other’s families and lives. We got to dig deeper behind the gram, because the gram is just the first part of meeting someone.
What I learned?
Meet those people you need to meet.
Be wise about it. Evaluate the friendship first before you go in for it, but when you go in for it, it will be such a pleasant blessing.
This reminded me that:
– The Person behind the gram is who matters (not just the photos whether they be food, dogs, or landscape photos)
– Meeting the person behind the gram is such a good way to remind you and me that we’re all human. We all have human struggles, wishes, dreams, prayers, hopes.
Making friends can be hard, but it’s 100000% worth it.
Have you ever met a friend from Instagram? What was it like making that connection?