So, I was writing with my friend Leslie over Skype last night and she posed a challenge for me. A blog post about “the last time you had more fun than you expected to. Something that surprised you with joy.” She also put a proviso on it. It couldn’t be about my kids, my man, or God. My initial thoughts were ‘um, what does that leave me’ and ‘that’s basically my life right there’. Once I got past those thoughts though, it led me to a realization that there’s more to me than only those things. So, of course, it’s going to be storm related. 🙂
I have an interesting relationship with social situations. I love them if they are full of people I know, or at least partially know. I am super uncomfortable with ones where the majority of the people are unknown to me. I know most people are similar.
I also have an interesting relationship with Twitter. I think it’s awesome in the summer when all the storm-chasers are posting updates and photos of storms that they are following. I don’t like how time-consuming it is. Confession: I joined and quit three separate times before it stuck.
Unless you’re a Twitter person, ‘tweetup’ won’t make a lot of sense to you. Honestly, I still don’t really get them completely. A ‘tweetup’ is a get together with a bunch of Twitter people in real life. Like a party, with mostly people you’ve never met in person before. It’s a combination of uncomfortable and cool all at the same time. You could potentially make some awesome friends, or you could want to swear off Twitter entirely.
I had a combination of those experiences my first tweetup. I met some really strange people, but I made some awesome friends. (@ItsGodzirra and @mellowdeekay, you two redeemed my first tweetup and I am so grateful for you both!)
My second tweetup is where the unexpected fun happened. One day I was thinking about storms and tweeted out ‘Anyone ever thought of putting together an storm tweetup?’. Thankfully, an awesome local weather specialist saw the tweet and ran with it! She had way more resources to get it done and I’m grateful she did it!
So, the storm tweetup was born. I had my usual trepidation as the day approached. Wavering back and forth between wanting to go and wanting to stay home in my safe zone. Yes, I do this all the time. Taking a risk is not something I do easily. Yes, I still want to go out and storm chase! Unpredictable weather is less scary than the unpredictability of people.
However, I had made a decision at the beginning of last year to be more brave. To step out of my comfort zone more often. Not in a dangerous way… though I think there’s always a danger outside of the comfortable little boxes we tend to sometimes live in. To be bolder. To not let fear rule my life. I’m a work in progress. There are many times where something hard happens and I consider staying in my comfortable little box. This was not going to be something I would let fear take. I wanted to go.
When I arrived I was shaking. Yep, shaking. I was greeted at the door, thankfully, by a familiar face. Greg Johnson, the local Tornado Hunter, had a brief conversation with me and put me at ease a bit.
Settling in at a table with the only other person I knew, I listened to storm-chasers talk about the storms they’d seen, the gear they use, the anticipation of the next season and the sadness that the year was wrapping up. It was great! As a new ‘storm-enthusiast’, this was awesome. Hearing the stories and the excitement just made me want to get out there more.
Greg gave a talk about his storm year. 2013 was a wild year in the US for storms and Greg, Ricky and Chris were down there for a lot of it. I really enjoy hearing about storms and I find Greg a really dynamic speaker. He took questions after and I was able to learn a lot. At one point, when the questions dies down a bit, Greg looked at me and said ‘Sarah, I find it hard to believe that you don’t have a question‘. Yep, I’m making a name for myself as being someone who asks a ton of questions… annoying and otherwise. 🙂 The conversations continued and I got to meet some great local chasers and hear some great stories.
I walked away from the experience really glad that I went. Not only did I meet some great people and hear some awesome stories, but I learnt a lot about storms and what it takes to chase them. Thanks to everyone who made the experience an awesome one! Looking forward to the next one! Good luck this year in your chasing!