Do you like beer and can you tolerate a little mild good-spirited humor? If so, you should consider hashing.
As a traveler, hashing is an excellent way to immediately integrate and socialize with locals. With over 1,500 chapters worldwide, it is easy to find a local hash group in nearly every major city. Whenever we travel to a new destination, we always try to connect with the local hash chapter and attend their meetings.
So What Is “Hashing”?
Hashing is the term for participating in the activities of a group called the Hash House Harriers. The group is generally described as “a drinking club with a running problem”. The groups meet mostly on Sundays or Mondays (every hash is different); either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending upon the local chapter. They gather. They run/walk. They drink beer. There are some “rituals” and songs. Maybe a bit of light-hearted humiliation. It is always good fun.
Why Should Travelers Join A Hash?
The Hash House Harriers can be very beneficial to frequent travelers. The group was started in Malaysia by British ex-pats in 1938. The historical roots of the group make it popular with the ex-pat communities around the world.
5 Reasons Every Traveler Should Hash
1. Meet Local People – the hash attracts members from all walks of life. Every hash is typically comprised of a mixture of locals and ex-pats living in the community. Many of the activities in the hash are designed to encourage socialization with the members. We went to the Antalya Hash in Turkey on our third day in the city. The hash allowed us to connect with nearly 40 locals in one afternoon. As traveling outsiders, I can’t think of a better way to meet locals.
2. Camaraderie – there is an immediate openness and acceptance among fellow hashers. If you join the hash, you will be accepted and embraced by hashers all around the world. Each local chapter varies to some degree, but they are all generally the same.
3. Beer – there will be beer. If you don’t like drinking beer, well then this group is not for you. Go check out the International Knitting Association, I hear they are looking for members… That being said, this is still a responsible group of people. If you are driving, you can request non-alcoholic beer. There will be plenty of beer drinking, but generally not to the point of excess.
4. Hidden Locations – the hash allows you to experience a destination through the eyes of a local. During each meetup, a “hare” is selected to set the trail that the runners and walkers will follow. These trails are typically about 5km to 10km in total distance. Hares are free to set the trail anywhere they choose and are encouraged to make them interesting. Since we have been hashing, we have run through many interesting places; tiny villages in northern Romania, slums of Bucharest, mountains of Antalya, and forests in Transylvania. We would have never visited any of these places without the hash.
5. Fun – hashing is a damn good time. It is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The run is good exercise. If you are a runner, you will enjoy the competitiveness of trying to find the trail. After the run, there are a few “rituals” that include beer drinking. There is typically always good food and music afterward. There are also “away hash” weekends and annual parties that chapters participate in.
Now go become a “hasher”. Break out of your shell.
If you do, make sure to come back and tell us about it!