As we get older, life makes it harder to stay in touch with our friends: jobs, wives, families, cross-country moves…
So do you just give up and say, “I guess we’ll just see each other on social media from now on.”?
Nope. The answer is to plan an annual guy’s trip. To create a habit—nay, a ritual—of meeting up with your buddies in person every year.
You see, most guys suck at planning on a regular basis. But surprisingly, we do have the ability to stake a flag on the calendar, just a few days a year, when we can get together with the friends who matter.
The Benefits of an Annual Guy’s Trip
1. You Have No Excuse Not to Show Up
Yes, life is hectic. Yes, it can be hard to fit your buddy in when he shows up on your doorstep unannounced. For many of us with families, gone are the days when we can do the last-minute “Whadaya doin’? Wanna hang?” call.
And the alternative….actually making plans….figuring out schedules? It takes so much energy and time.
That’s the beauty of the annual guy’s trip. You figure it out once and lock it in. It becomes sacred, and all other future events have to be built around it.
Obviously, it’s best if you nail down a consistent patch of dates for your “mancation”—the first weekend in July, or the last few days of August, or whatever might work.
Once you’ve planned the standing event, nobody in the group can bail using a stupid excuse like “but my girlfriend and I were going to stay at a BnB and visit pumpkin patches that weekend” or “but I scheduled elective surgery to have my nostrils tightened that day…”
Nope, those reasons won’t fly, because THIS EVENT was planned A YEAR AGO!
2. You’re Forced to Give Your Undivided Attention
It’s easy to half-ass a casual interaction on social media or on text. But when you spend a weekend or more hanging out in person, it forces you to be completely present with your friends.
For most guys, that undoubtedly means some serendipitous moments when ridiculous ensues…and inside jokes are forged. Like how a after trip to Austin, one of my friends forever earned the nickname “Oyster Anderson” (for reasons that are too stupid to recount).
But on a more serious note, that time and space—that proximity—of hanging out with your buddies, allows things to percolate in a way they wouldn’t otherwise.
Every year in July, a friend of mine from college invites a few of us to his family’s cabin near Yosemite. There is no goal or expectation that we will accomplish anything. The unwritten agenda usually involves drinking a bunch of booze, dusting off our musical instruments and making some loud noise, and swimming in the lake and sipping beer on the shore while we dry off in the sun. One of the best parts about that time is that there is no real agenda.
It’s those lazy moments when you get the real update about your friend’s rocky marriage. Or when you hear about how your buddy feels genuinely and truly blessed to have the new job he just landed.
3. Guy Time is Good For The Soul…and The Body
The final reason you need to plan an annual guy trip is that hanging out with other men is just plain good for you.
As I mentioned in my article, “Making Guy Friends as a Man: Male Friendship 101”, research suggests that social isolation and lack of close friendships can have pretty negative health consequences. So nurturing friendships is good for you, that’s clear enough.
I also suspect, though I can’t prove, that there’s a chemical component—that maybe when you hang around with other men it raises your testosterone levels or something. Unfortunately, in my research I couldn’t find anything to back this up. (if you know of any data like this, please leave a note in the comments).
For Glover, being with other men seemed to help him ‘recharge his masculine energy,’ and that renewed confidence and energy somehow brought a new excitement to their marriage.”
But intuitively, we do know this:
Hanging out with other men can have a comforting effect on a man. For just a few days, you just have to be you. Just a man, and that’s it. No distractions or worrying about your girlfriend or wife, or your kids…or worrying about how you appear to the outside world.
That “safe environment” is a good thing. You feel more centered, more comfortable in your own skin.
The best part is, you bring that quiet confidence back with you.
In our podcast interview, Dr. Robert Glover (author of No More Mr. Nice Guy) told me his second wife immediately noticed a difference after he went on a guy’s trip. She said “when you go away and spend time with your friends and you come back, I’m so much more attracted to you.”
For Glover, being with other men seemed to help him “recharge his masculine energy,” and that renewed confidence and energy somehow brought a new excitement to their marriage.
Now that we’ve established why you should plan a standing guy’s trip, here are a few potential themes you can use for your mancation.
20 Ideas for Guy’s Trips
Key Pointers for Planning Your Mancation
- You have to get out of town—you’ve got to get out of your usual environments
- Spend at least 2 nights away (more if possible), otherwise the trip won’t be long enough
- Keep the circle small—anything beyond 8 guys is probably too unwieldy
- It doesn’t have to just be your “bestest” friends—New blood can be a good thing. Sometimes it can work out well when one of your buddies brings their friend who you haven’t spent time with (as long as your friend can vouch for him).
Guy’s Trip Activities
You don’t really need to DO anything besides show up. A strict itinerary can definitely be a buzzkill. But, having a little structure or some focal point is helpful for anchoring the trip. Here are a few ideas:
- Sporting Events
- Ski Trip
- Music Festival
- Food Festival
- Beach House Vacation
- Brewery Tours
- Distillery Tours
- Whitewater Rafting
- Yoga Retreat
- Cooking School
- Dude Ranch (yes, they actually still exist)
- National Park
- RV Trip
- Endurance Race
- Motorcycle Trip – While I’ve never ridden a bike, I can’t help but be envious of the adventure and bonding that happened between Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on Long Way Around and Long Way Down series.
What other ideas might be good for guy’s trips? Leave a comment below.
Plan Your Guy’s Trip Now
If you’re interesting planning your own guy’s trip, get it going now. I mean right now.
Sure, maybe a dozen excuses are popping up why you should just wait. You’ll do it later right? Yeaaah…no.
Maybe it’s too late to do something this year. That’s okay. Figure out who your 8 are, pick a date, and send an email to lock it in NOW. Even if it’s 2 years out.
You won’t regret it.
As that famous Chines proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
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