New Zealand is full of beautiful scenery and the best way to take in the views is by hiking some of the incredible trails that are right on our doorstep. Got To Get Out is an adventure group that encourages people to step away from technology and explore the great outdoors, founder Robert Bruce is on a mission to get people active and outdoors making friends and seeing the world - and over 11,000 people are liking what he’s doing. We caught up with Rob to talk about the social enterprise, how it all began and what’s in store for Adventure Week this week.
So, what is Got To Get Out?
Got To Get Out is an adventure group social enterprise that’s run mostly on Facebook. We’re an online enterprise, trying to get people offline! Basically, it’s a group that curates and creates adventures on a regular basis with the sole mission of getting people outdoors and active. The goal of the group is to combat both physical and mental health issues that as we all know, are on the rise in this country. Social media isn’t helping – people spend hours a day looking at their phones. I am trying to get people looking at nature and actually talking to one another instead. Since 2015 over 2500 different people (who we call ‘adventurers’) have joined one of our 200+ trips that have included activities like hiking, biking, surfing, sailing, climbing, canyoning and more. Many of our trips have been offered free of charge, as part of our mission is to reduce the barriers of entry for people getting out into nature. We call these #freehikes. We often get 50-60 people showing up and it amazes me. It’s a great way to meet new people too, our mission statement is we are a social enterprise getting people active and outdoors, but we are also connecting international people with locals and that’s really cool.
How did it all begin?
I had been a corporate worker for over 10 years and like a lot of people I was working at a computer grinding away, it was long and stressful. Ironically, I built up a fast growth company and I sold it in 2012 and then the company that bought it made me redundant. I started to question whether I was being the best version of me, am I being the me that I would be proud of in the future. I couldn’t answer yes to any of those questions, so I started exercising and hiking and I decided to follow in the footsteps of my hero Sir Edmund Hillary and I hiked the Himalayas. I was feeling fit, clear-headed, and with no emails or phone to distract me I really had lots of time to think. I decided during the two-week walk that my mission was now to try and get people moving and outdoors – so I basically started the group on the spot, by sharing my own adventures online. Before long we had a few hundred, then a few thousand followers – the rest is history I guess!
What adventures have you done, and which has been your favourite?
We have run trips all over New Zealand, with hikes to Tongariro National Park, Cape Brett in the Far North, Mt Pirongia in the Waikato, Mt Taranaki, and also hikes in Wellington and Christchurch. We offer a range of trips for all fitness levels and budgets and we still offer free walks each month. So, if you take a look at our Facebook events page (www.facebook.com/gottogetout/events) you can get an idea of what is coming up. The highlight event for me personally has to be taking eight kiwis to Mt Everest Basecamp in 2017 and we also hiked Cape Brett two weeks ago which was stunning.
What are your favourite outdoor activities other than hiking?
I am a keen snowboarder and I’m actually looking to set up the Got to Get Out ski team, which will be fun. I also enjoy mountain biking in Woodhill and anything else that Got to Get Out throws my way.
Adventure week kicked off last night with a launch party, are you able to tell us about it and what’s in store for the rest of the week?
A group of 70 event management students are working on Adventure Week as their final year project. They have split into 10 teams and each team is running a different adventure orientated event this week. Sunday we had the launch party, tonight we have rock climbing, Tuesday night is got to gear up where you can find out what gear you need to venture outdoors, Wednesday night is pub quiz night, Thursday night is got to get inspired where the Sustainable Coastlines team are going to inspire our listeners, Friday is paddle boarding night, Saturday is a multi-event day where you can pick out of 3 activities - there is sailing, a tree adventure, white water rafting and then there is a party at the end. Then on Sunday to wrap it all up is a Mother’s Day walk.
What are your growth plans for Got To Get Out?
My vision is to have communities of hikers in each major city in New Zealand. Top of the list is Wellington as I’m from Wellington and I’m eager to spend more time there and help grow a community. I’d also like to take Got to Get Out around the world.
Visit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/gottogetout/events/ to find out more.