“All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” – Paul Fussell
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:
- Hide the cache better than you found it;
- Be like a ninja and don’t let the muggles see you at your game;
- If you take something, leave something in its place; you can always leave something without taking as well;
- If you find a Travel Bug, remember that it is not yours and you cannot keep it – be sure to help it on its journey; and
- Pick up trash! Part of the fun is seeing new places – no one wants to see an empty soda can in a park.
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 (email@example.com).
For more information, visit Geocaching.