Working for a company where I have to periodically visit places like Vail, Colorado, is so taxing. A rough life, this definitely is.
Do our circumstances define us? Or do we define our circumstances?
Can we change our world in order to change ourselves?
These are the questions I am left with tonight, and not exactly the questions you would expect to be considering after watching a movie you expect to be an action adventure. Tonight, my expectations were turned around.
Me: Excuse me Riley, I need to get something from the cabinet
<Riley moves, I open cabinet door, Riley looks in>
Riley: …it … opens…
Me: Cabinets do that.
Riley: <in her best George Takei impersonantion> oh my!
In many ways, Riley’s innocence is something we all share, and all too often it is lost too early.
Spring 2000. Y2K had come and gone with a whimper (where was the chaos I was promised?). My father had passed away the previous fall (miss you Dad!). And I had just returned to college after a nearly 4 year hiatus.
Mankind. Humanity. We have come a long way as a species. We have traveled to outer space, and we have explored the depths of the oceans. We have created quadrotor robots that look like bugs but fly like synchronized swimmers.
We have even created what amounts to cybernetic implants (i.e pacemakers and robotic limbs like the i-Limb).
Truly, technology is amazing.
And I, for one, greatly enjoy the ability to use Multi-Million Dollar Satellites to find those ever elusive plastic containers hiding in the world around us called (get this) Tupperware.
If you prefer a more catchy name, I enjoy Geocaching.
You’ve never heard of that before? Well Tupperware is… Oh you meant you’ve never heard of Geocaching. That’s understandable.
The question to ask yourself: do you like scavenger hunts? If you answer yes, then Geocaching may be for you. The basic premise is that people hide things in the world. The “thing” in question might be anything from a mini M&M tube, to a 35mm film cylinder, to an ammo can, to (yes) Tupperware. In these containers are logs that you get to sign informing the next visitor that you were there. If you remember to bring some swag (you know that old silly key chain you found once, or that coin from France that you have no need for?), you can even trade it for something else that is just as silly but new to you. All the while, you must use your ninja skills to keep from being seen – the whole point here is that you are trying to find something hidden after all; who wants to go to the trouble of searching for something that has been vandalized? All of this is tracked online through a free website.
Yes – I said the “f” word. Geocaching is free to play.
The real appeal, though, is not signing the log and tracking your find (though there is a certain pride you feel when you get to 50, or 100 caches found). Like anything worthwhile, the joy comes from the journey. I have found countless spots that I never would have known existed before. I have spent time with good friends digging through a bush (happily). Geocaching is another great way to bond with friends and family.
Another fantastic part to this hobby are the Travel Bugs. Travel Bugs are small items that have been tagged and tracked. They have goals, which might be as simple as “I want to see everything there is to see” or very complicated such as “I want to travel to London by way of Australia”. It’s fun to find these, and help them on their way. Be sure to log a fun anecdote about how you found the bug, or some other story that matches the theme of the bug. The owner will appreciate it, as will anyone else who finds and logs the Travel Bug after it leaves you.
And of course, you can hide your own caches in the world. Have a favorite spot you want to share with others? Know a place in the park across the street you can see from you window – and like to watch people try to be sneaky? Have a special connection with the place that you had your first kiss? All great places to hide a cache.
Now, with all great fun comes great responsibility (thank you Uncle Ben for making phrases like this possible). There are some rules to consider:
In conclusion, Geocaching is a great hobby. Give a try and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your stories. You can either add a comment here or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information, visit Geocaching.