Hi, my name is Gabe. I have been a regular participant of The Venture Out Project for over a year. I had discovered TVOP by stopping by their booth at the 2015 Northampton Pride. I had never heard of them before and I shyly and quickly grabbed a brochure, and then made a mad dash away from the table. That evening, I read the brochure I had ran away with and realized I was interested in the hikes, but I felt really timid!
After a few weeks, I decided to join a hike. As I pulled into the parking lot of the Notch for my first Thursday Night Hike I was so nervous. I was certain that everyone had known each other for years and were much better hikers than I was. After some introductions we were started to hike! I noticed I hung to the back of the group, didn’t talk much, and just listened. I really enjoyed the hike, and the people were so nice!
I kept coming to the weekly Thursday Night hikes but I didn’t know how everyone identified. I thought they were surely different than I was. After a month of regular hikes with TVOP, I finally started to realize that a lot of the folks in the group were trans just like me. As I became more familiar with the weekly hikers, I started to open and up and felt I was fitting in.
In hindsight, I’m so grateful I stuck around during those first few weeks of awkwardness! I’m still a regular on Thursday Night Hikes, along with attending other trips as well including backpacking & skiing.