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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Bug's Travel Bug


I haven't talked much about Geocaching, even though I've been doing it for a while, and I have the Geocaching.com badge on the blog's left column. I've reached a new level! I have created my own Travel Bug!

Let me explain. Geocaching is kinda dorky - but I like it. :) What happens is that someone goes somewhere (you'd be surprised where - sometimes parking lots, sometimes in the woods or in parks, sometimes on the side of the road - basically anywhere) and hides a small box or some such. Boxes can be very small - about the size of watch battery - or very large - like a big tool box or even larger. Inside the box is a log book, and often prizes, trinkets and things. This is called a "cache" and the person who hides it goes to a website, geocaching.com, and enters some information and hints about it, and the GPS coordinates of where it's hidden. Then, you can go online and get the coordinates of the cache and find it. When you find it, you sign the log and record that you found it on the website. It's like a big scavenger hunt.

So, I've been doing this since March, when my co-workers decided that they wanted to give it a try. We went out a couple times at lunch and found some caches right near my office. Then, I went to Bonaire and found one that didn't require a GPS. Once I returned, I decided to go ahead and get a GPS, and now I cache periodically (I've found 26 to date). They're all over the world, and we plan to cache in Hawaii and Indonesia when we go - we found a cache while we were in Florida in early August.

So, why? Well, frankly, the answer is "because." I find it interesting and it gives me something to do. I like looking at my stats and seeing where things are hidden, and they can also lead us to interesting and pretty places. There is one in Indonesia that claims to take you to a secluded beach with an old temple on it, and that sounds interesting. I know Boy Scouts and things will sometimes Geocache in order to learn navigation and such. We were unable to cache in Little Cayman because it was just too hot and we would have had to bike over 14 miles in order to find the cache. The interesting thing is that the person who hid 2 of the caches on Little Cayman was, by complete coincidence, our wedding photographer.

So, I made a Travel Bug. What's that? Well, it's an item - and it can be anything, with a dogtag attached to it (geocaching.com also tracks geocoins, which are coins that are similar to the dog tags, but without an item attached). Each dogtag has a code on it. When you find one in a cache, you take it and then go to the website and enter the code. This will show you a log of where this item has been, and sometimes the items have goals. You don't keep the Travel Bugs, you place them in a new cache and help them on their way, either to their goal or to travel around the world. As an example, I have had a travel bug that wanted to be photographed in National Forests (I was unable to help, but picked it up in Hampstead and dropped it in Cunningham Falls State Park). Another travel bug wanted to be photographed in Disney World. Again, I couldn't help without keeping it for too long, but I picked it up in Thurmont and dropped it in Leesburg, Florida (getting it awfully close to Disney!).

This travel bug is a photo of The Bug. The Bug's goal for his travel bug is to have it photographed with cats all around the world. Let's see how far he gets! I hope to drop him in a cache within the next few days. There is a good sized cache just around the corner from my house.
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1 comment:

Nick said...

The Bug appears to have the a look that says, "You've used my likeness without my permission!"

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