There is a little over a month left to book your spot for next summer’s Gathering. We’ve heard from quite a number of you who have said “I’d love to go, but I don’t know anyone,” or “I don’t have anyone to room with.” Please do not let this hold you back from joining us. At our first large Gathering last May, most of us had never met before. In fact, I had never even met my co-organizer Jennifer Veach in person prior to the event!
Jennifer and I got to know each other first on Twitter, and later on Facebook when I set up our Outlandish Boston group there (As far as I know, we were the first regional group to do so). Through countless emails, chat sessions and phone calls prior to May, we got to know each other pretty darn well! We roomed together in San Diego for the Outlander premiere, and we put our friendship to the test by taking out a tandem sea kayak. Our guide said the tandem kayak is jokingly referred to as the “divorce maker” because couples usually do not have the communication skills it takes to successfully paddle one. I am happy to say that Jennifer and I led our pack of 20 or so kayakers–we were proud of how well we worked together as a team!
My other co-coordinator, Audrey, lives in another country! She graciously offered me a spot in her hotel room in New York City without ever having met me before! She traveled down from Montreal by plane, via Burlington for the Outlander fan event in the fall of 2013, and I came down from Boston on Megabus. We had also met on Twitter and had started to work together on Facebook on some graphic designs she was creating for Caitrionation. We had an amazing time, and before she knew it, she was sucked into working on the first Outlandish Gathering as well!
Karen Boilard lives in Maine and we are lucky enough to see each other fairly often as she attends Outlandish Boston meet ups on a regular basis. But a year ago we had never met either! She’s let me bunk with her in Seattle and San Diego and has proven to be one of the kindest, most generous people I have met in my life.
These three ladies have become among my closest friends in a short time. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to meet so many of the fans in the past year—and it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I never laugh so hard as I do when I am with my fellow fans. I miss them when we are not together, and so we contrive more opportunities for us to see one another as frequently as possible. Though Audrey lives in another country, in the past time I’ve managed to see her in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Boston again… and we are meeting up again in New York City next weekend with five other Outlander fans just for a girls’ weekend!
Our Gathering is about the fans.
Though it is always exciting to have a chance to meet the stars, that opportunity can also be a bit stress inducing as you get anxious that it will not be everything you dreamed. But the best things about fan events is always getting the opportunity to get to know the other fans. The Gathering we held in May was wonderful because we had three days to get to know one another and share our mutual interests. The fandom serves as a great ice breaker for conversations–but before you know it, you realize that these people are YOUR people and that you have a lot of common interests and values.
I know this experience is not mine alone. Many of the fans I am friendly with have become fast friends with people they’ve met through Outlander. We’ve put in the effort to drive long distances to be together. We truly enjoy each others’ company that much!
If your concerned about bringing a significant other, don’t let that stop you either!
A number of our Outmanders have also become involved in our get-togethers and have been surprised to find that they have enjoyed themselves! Some of them have become well-loved members of the group and meet-ups are not the same when they are absent. At present, more than 20% of our 150 registrants are men. Quite a few of us are making this trip our summer family vacation and bringing our children along, too! I am planning to bring my three school-aged children.
For those who are looking for roommates, we have a rooming list to help those seeking an arrangement. Though our room block at the Frontenac is sold out, there are 4 or 5 spots available for roommates there—and there are still rooms available in our block at the Hilton. If you need help finding a roommate, just ask and we will be happy to point you in the right direction. We don’t want anyone to miss out on this fun event just because they haven’t met anyone yet. There is plenty of time to get to know one another via social media, but there is only about a month left to book your spot.