I’ve talked before about how it’s a bit rubbish to just stay in your comfort zone, so last weekend I took a wee trip out of it.

In 2011 I joined a local photography group on the insanely popular, international website www.meetup.com. The intention was that I’d, you know, do what it says and … meet people. Like-minded people who also like taking photos, and get out and about, see more things and meet more people.

I’ve been getting loads of emails from them every week, detailing various outings and workshops.

It sounded great.

I quite fancied going. I really fancied going. For ages, I’ve really fancied going. Whilst photography is a huge interest of mine, it can be quite a solitary pursuit and every time I’ve gone on a workshop or short course before, the group/social aspect has always really sparked me up.

I was always nervous of going along to this Meetup group though. I thought it would be a bunch of people who knew each other really well and who all took blisteringly fabulous photos, and I’d just look like a useless numpty next to them.

So I kept putting off actually going to anything they organised. Cause I thought I’d be too crap. And I didn’t want to feel like the new girl.

Until last weekend, and I actually … drumroll! … WENT to one of their meet-ups.

And who’d have known! I had a great time! The location was this big country estate place east of Edinburgh which looked a lovely place to go and poke about in. (Some of my photos of it are below.) So I steeled myself to meeting a load of new people and just went.

We all met up in the carpark at the set time and that was the most awkward bit, to be honest, standing around like a fanny not knowing whom to talk to or what to say. Luckily I cultivated the art of making small talk quite a long time ago, thanks to doing a lot of temp work in my twenties for a few years and being in a different office for every week. You soon learned how to talk to people that really couldn’t be all that arsed talking to you, cause they knew you weren’t sticking around.

But even though I am fairly accomplished at making small talk, I still find it a bit uncomfortable. The face is smiling but the brain is cringing.

Of the twenty or so folks there, most were fairly reserved and just got on with doing their own thing but some were fairly chatty and I really enjoyed their company.

And I was quite relieved to see there seemed to be quite a broad range of ability, experience, and fancy kit there. And when we uploaded our pictures to the Meetup website afterwards, mine weren’t the best and they weren’t the worst, thank goodness!

I’m so glad that’s the first Meetup out of the way cause the next ones I’ll go to won’t be so daunting a prospect.

Isn’t it ridiculous … Here I am, a grown woman who’s perfectly used to marching into work situations and handling total strangers with aplomb, letting nerves at meeting total strangers in a social capacity put her off doing something fun for so long?

And as ever, inching out of the comfort zone was a very, very good thing to do.

When’s the last time YOU poked a toe out of your comfort zone? I’d love to hear about it!

Interesting links from the weekend
Fear of the unknown and why you shouldn’t indulge it