Next Sunday – August 25th – will mark my 6th anniversary of being a geocacher. I can still remember the sense of exhilaration upon discovering this entirely new and exciting world – I could hardly wait to fully immerse myself in all things geocache related. There were a few things I didn’t know when I embarked upon my journey to become a fully addicted fledged geocacher…
1. You will start to view the world differently
That probably sounds more profound than how I meant it. When you have found (or at least searched for) all the geocaches in your neighbourhood/town/city, you will find yourself thinking of specific locations relative to geocaches hidden there.
2. Some people will think you’re weird
And it’s likely they will never ‘get it’, but that’s okay. Since I’ve started geocaching, I’ve come across three types of muggles: the ones who think I’m crazy, the ones who don’t really get it but don’t think it’s weird per se, and those who are intrigued enough to try it. You can’t convert everybody!
3. Many pursuits will be planned around geocaching
Days out, trips to the grocery store, attending funerals, entire vacations…. if there’s a geocache nearby, any trip can (and will) be a geocaching trip.
4. A whole new world of jargon is about to open up
A world of FTFs, Jasmer, Fizzy Grids and countless other terms the average muggle on the street will have no idea about. It’s almost as if you’re learning a second language and it won’t take long until you’re speaking fluent geocache-ese.
5. Travelling will never be the same
I’ve experienced entire trips planned around geocaching, mostly when I go somewhere with my mother, who is also a geocacher. Travelling with a muggle never revolves around geocaching, but there is always geocaching involved. Always. Even now, when we’re travelling with an infant, putting some smileys on the map is an absolute necessity.
6. You will do things you’ve never done before
Things like climb a mountain or a tree, or don a wet suit and go kayaking down a river. Or even just sticking your entire head in to a roadside bush without a care for who is watching or what they might think. Speaking of which…
7. You will (eventually) start to no longer care what muggles think you’re doing
This is a question I see often from newbies: ‘what do you say you’re doing if people ask?’ They feel self conscious. I get it. I did too. I once needed to retrieve a cache right next to a taxi rank where a driver was sitting waiting for a fare. Since it was an FTF opportunity, I bit the bullet, walked up to him and told him what I was about to do. He was utterly bemused. Just then, someone climbed in and as he drove off, he shouted from his window, ‘you need to get a hobby!’ I just laughed and yelled back, ‘this IS my hobby!’
My point is, nobody really cares what you’re doing. If they do ask, keep it simple: I’m on a treasure hunt. They may probe further and if they do, tell them more. But 9 times out of 10, people will throw you a look of bewilderment and have forgetten all about you when they walk around the corner.
8. There isn’t just one way to play
Yes, there is a find count but the game doesn’t have to be about the numbers. It can be whatever you make it. It can be power trails of hundreds of caches a day, or hiking for miles for one smiley, or doing nothing but attend events when life gets too busy for hitting the trails (me right now!!).
Whatever geocaching is to you today, may not be what it is tomorrow. You can play the game however you wish*. That’s the beauty of geocaching.
*As long as you sign the log!
What do you wish you knew when you started geocaching?
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