In June this year, my husband and I headed to India to see 5 people we had never met. This included 2 Russians, an Indian, a German, a Norwegian and myself, of course. And I've only known these people I've never met for 3 years.
Let's rewind a bit...
In 2011, I started playing a team 'computer' game with a few random friends from church called DotA (Defence of the Ancients). It involves 2 teams of 5 who go against each other to try destroy the others base (city). It is a ton of fun when you get 10 people together in what you call a LAN (all players on a network together, but not online). It sometimes involved hours of gameplay (if a few games), even late into the night or morning. It can also be seriously competitive.
Then they brought out DotA 2, but since it was only online, it mostly died out among the group. My husband, a good friend and myself played a lot at some point, but eventually it was just me playing quite regularly. It became my pass time (like anyone who enjoys watching TV in the evenings).
In 2013, after struggling for a year to fall pregnant, my depression started. My life revolved around this obsession of not being able to have a baby and I could think of nothing else. DotA then became the only way my mind rested and stopped thinking about it. It was not always a healthy escape but it got me through so much.
It was more than just a game.
When Lisa met Gwen and David
At some point during all this, I made some friends online. The first being Gwen and David (an Indian and Norwegian). They were some of the rare decent people playing online (online gaming is definitely PG13 sometimes). We then threw a Russian into the mix, Vlad, who invited his friend, Kastyan.
We were a nice group of 5 and even started taking DotA more seriously and practicing team games (DotA by the way is a huge online competitive game between teams from all over the world. It has become a sort of online sport, involving multimillion dollars prizes for the top teams). Our 'leader' David taught and took us a more than just random public matches. It was incredibly fun, and as you can tell, incredibly social too.
A few months later, my husband and I adopted our daughter, but since she was such an incredible sleeper, the regular DotA playing continued.
Sometime in the last year, 2 more good friends joined in - Sebastian and Ørjan (a German, and another Norwegian), friends of David. Also down to earth and fun to play with (I can't tell you enough how rare it is).
A Trip to India
Then one day, our Russian Vlad went on a trip around Asia, where he would eventually land up in India, and Gwen and him got to chatting about meeting up. By some weird chance, we were all able to get to India at the same time (except for Ørjan :( ) so serious plans to meet each other began, and late June we all headed to India.
And it was FRIGGIN AWESOME. We got on better than I could have ever imagined. These 6 random strangers (plus our better halves) got on so well. We were all chilled, no one was annoying and we all went with the flow. It was the best trip of my life. We did get to play a game or two one of the days, but mostly we were a group of friends exploring Bangalore. It is more than just a game.