Backpacking newbie trying to tag along with like minded people
I am new to backpacking. As a newbie backpacking can get really overwhelming especially due to the idea of being on your own and of course there's all this gear you have to buy. While I am getting some really good help from the REI store folks but due to the covid 19 situation all the activity classes are not happening. Is it a good idea to look for someone who I can tag along for the first couple of backpacking until to get a hang of it? Unfortunately, none of my friends are up to it so yeah I am on my own.
For a quick background, I live in North Texas and I have done a lot of small to medium day long hikes in Zion, Bryce, Smokies and Rockies NP's so I have some experience. I also like outdoor and nature adventure so that's why I am putting in some money to buy all the necessary equipment and gears for backpacking. Any help in finding like minded people to tag along would be really helpful.