What in the world are you looking for?
Maybe it’s because the seasons are changing here after 100 inches of snow this past winter, or maybe it’s because there always seems to be a new season of life approaching, but there’s been a question rumbling around my brain recently like a pair of tennis shoes in the clothes dryer.
If someone asked me, and people frequently do, “Why do you geocache?” I usually cite family as the number one reason. There’s a seven-year gap between our oldest and youngest kids—not that much when your kids are, say, 23 and 30; but a huge gap when your kids are 3 and 10. The gap ruled out family hobbies like canoeing and biking.
The second criterion was that this hobby needed to be cost-effective. By that what I really mean is our family doesn’t look too much like the ones you see in those “family” magazines where everyone is wearing matching $2,000 custom made outfits and posed by a professional stylist. We’re lucky to have clean clothes and if my sons have brushed their hair—well, I consider that a good day. We weren’t going to spend a lot of money on outfitting ourselves, (having fun is more important than looking good). So, we crossed downhill skiing and buying a speedboat off our list. Our list, in fact, was quickly growing shorter and shorter.
Our third criterion was two-fold: it needed to be something we could do outdoors, and it needed to be enjoyed any time of year. Anyone with one boy in the house (let alone three) will attest to the need for an excuse (uh, I mean motivation) to get everyone engaged in an outdoor activity in the middle of January. And, yes, we do geocache in the snow—New Year’s Day, 2004, was one of the best!
The whole point is that geocaching works for us, and I’m guessing that for your own set of reasons, it works for you, too. At first I thought it was about getting the controllers pried out of the kid’s hands. Then I thought it was about teaching boys about adventure and treasure. But lately fun has made a comeback in our household. There is so much in life to do and to keep busy with and to fill and fight for your time, but geocaching—despite the doing—is really about having fun.
I just bought a book for a friend, and decided I needed to read it before giving it to her. Early on the author makes the observation that Americans have substituted entertainment for pleasure. Unfortunately, I’d say I’d have to agree. Geocaching is simply our way of checking out of entertainment and caching in on pleasure.
May you find many moments of pleasure in your geocaching journeys.
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When she’s not pursuing additional education in Ultrasound Technology, Darcy Kamps spends her time juggling hats and putting out fires. She drives a mini-van but has never been in the PTA, loves to cook but hates to clean up, and loves to plant but frequently forgets to harvest. She hopes to graduate before her children.
Originally published on May 7, 2008.