An Ode to the Traveling Gnome

The Gazelle Sports Activator Blog Series is written by a group of passionate individuals, willing and eager to share their personal stories of trial and triumph. Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle is filled with ups and downs, lessons learned, successes and failures. Get to know them as they share their journeys—you might learn something new!

By Eva Reiter

This post goes out to any of you who have moved to a new city or state at some point in your life, or may have recently done so and are working on building a sense of familiarity with your new environment. Believe it or not, I’ve lived in seven different states in 10 years including Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In doing so, I have become the master of that super awkward feeling when your exciting plan of moving somewhere new lands you with that “oh darn it, I’m completely and utterly alone” feeling. While my history of homes may be an extreme case, the feeling is generally the same.

Around late 2015 to early 2016, I made a significant life choice to step away from Netflix and go on the ultimate self-proclaimed “anti-hermit spree” (I seriously called it this publically). I participated in running clubs, women’s beer clubs, young professional events, running tours, etc., all in an effort to be a wee bit less of a hermit and try desperately to meet friends in my new city. And guess what? It worked! Making friends as an adult is challenging at best, but this anti-hermit spree actually did some good.

The moral of my story is that while finding friends as an adult can be extremely difficult, with some creativity and humility, it’s possible to leave your inner hermit home to watch Netflix with the dog while you go out on adventures in your city.  Also, if you’re flush with friends and really want to be the coolest kid in town, take a moment to introduce yourself to the new person at running club or a young professional night! I promise you that their sad puppy eyes will instantly vanish and they will be delighted by your willingness to help them feel included.

Sometimes it’s okay to leave your dog at home so you can meet new people!

So What’s Next?!

I challenge you to share something you’ve done to reach outside of your comfort zone and meet new people. Did anything super cool happen as a result? Did you find a long-lost friend? I want to know!



My name is Eva and I will be one of your friendly neighborhood Gazelle Sports Activators for roughly the next year. When I’m not marauding through the streets of Grand Rapids in obnoxiously bright high-vis gear that could melt the retinas of Medusa herself, I’m a just a “normal” young professional and a profoundly proud mom of a goofy dog named Howard. I’m excited to share some of my experiences with you over the next few months and hopefully provide some form of inspiration. If nothing else, I hope to at least leave you with a laugh or two. Because who doesn’t need a laugh?!


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