By Monique Garcia | Photos Courtesy of LGBTQ+ Explorers
Have you been looking to add some more adventure to your life? Look no further! Some fresh air and good company are exactly what you’ll get with SoCal LGBTQ+ Explorers.
All are Welcome
The LGBTQ+ Explorers have combined the love of the outdoors and fun activities into the perfect social community to meet new friends. With a variety of weekly and monthly events, the group is open to all who identify as part of the LBGTQ+ community, as well as, allies.
“One of the greatest things we set out to do was create an environment that is welcoming, friendly, and accessible,” said Eric Weiland, co-founder of SoCal LGBTQ+ Explorers.
Founders Laura Murillo and Eric Weiland were inspired to start their own group last year after gas prices soared, and attending their regular hiking group in Orange County left their pockets drained. The idea for the SoCal LGBTQ+ hiking group was born over dinner in their favorite Thai restaurant in Long Beach.
“We wanted to build an LGBTQ+ community where you could share a more meaningful connection with people,” said Laura. “Something that was based on a common interest.”
More than Just Hiking
The Explorers mainly host hiking events, but don’t worry! Their hiking trails range from beginner nature walks to moderate trails. So if you’re like me, and don’t hike too frequently, you can always attend one of their easier walks. They only ask that you bring the right shoes, a water bottle, and a positive attitude.
Hiking trails and activities change depending on the season and the weather. As the organizers, Laura and Eric try their hardest to make sure all attendees are safe and comfortable. Eric and Laura also do their best to shake things up by occasionally adding other events like indoor rock climbing, kayaking, or visiting museums.
Many social outings also end with lunch or dinner at nearby local restaurants. These shared meals are the perfect way to relax, talk, and get to know your new friends better. SoCal has so much to offer, and the Explorers love to bond and connect over new and exciting experiences.
“It’s not always easy meeting new friends,” said Eric. “But we have created an environment so welcoming and friendly that it’s hard not to!”
“When I was coming out, it took a while for me to find a community and a group of friends that I felt safe with,” said Laura. “I love that we’ve built a community where a person can be themselves and make some solid friendships.”
Hiking is rewarding and fun in itself, but what truly makes this community special is the individuals. You won’t find a more diverse, accepting, or supportive group of people.
So add something to your schedule that you will look forward to. You can join SoCal LGBTQ+ Explorers through Meetup at https:// www.meetup.com/socal-lgbtq-explorers/. There are plenty of events to RSVP if you have a busy schedule. Also, remember to follow them on Instagram at @explorers.socal to stay in touch with the friends you make.