The conversion has begun…
I had pretty much given up on trying to explain geocaching to my ‘friends’ on Facebook. Whenever I have posted photos of enjoying my outdoor experiences, it is normally met with indifference. No ‘likes’ here, or God forbid, someone make a comment. Yet a different person could post a single vacation photo or sadly, and even more common, a photo of a plate of food from a restaurant … and the flood gates open with comments and the ‘likes’ pour in.
I can honestly say that for awhile there, it upset me. How does a plate of food, with its distorted Instagram filter, rate higher than a beautiful sun-drenched day outdoors, with smiling faces of people who have hiked into the wilderness, and experienced the joy of finding an object that very few people have ever found (or you had the honor of finding it first)? The excitement of venturing out to places in the world that you never knew existed only adds to the joy of this activity.
But then … it hit me. The answer was right in front of me. What appeals to these individuals about a plate of food is merely the fact that it’s an activity that we all share – eating. Who among us doesn’t enjoy a good meal – especially when we’re surrounded by people we care about. There’s little difference between loosening your belt after a gluttonous feast, and picking the briars out of your clothes after signing the logbook. Well, ok, there is a difference, but still, it’s all about the experience and sharing a common activity.
So, I took it upon myself to ask a FB friend (former classmate from school) to join my wife and I in the hunt for a few geocaches. We drove to her home, picked her up and off we went. She lives in a more suburban location, so the finds were very common placements and not very exciting. One cache find was somewhat eventful, as the location put us at the end of a fence line of a driving range. We soon became the goal of every golfer who had the power to hit a 300+ yard drive. I’m not sure if our laughter was out of fear or just the absurdity of looking for a loc-n-loc under fire. Regardless of the reason, she no longer wanted to be an observer … she now wanted to play this game for real. She brought out her smartphone, opened a new account on geocaching.com, downloaded the app, and we were on our way to the next cache. Just like that, a casual observer became a player. And at the end of the day, she wanted to know when we can do this again.
So, now when I post a photo on FB from caching, I can rely on one additional ‘like’ or possibly a comment, other than from a family member. It’s one small victory in sharing this activity with others. Not everyone will enjoy this, which I understand. But it’s my mission to see more photos of smiling faces holding a travel bug, than a massive plate of gravy-dripping carbohydrates.
Let the conversion begin … (FB post: “Who’s up for an adventure?”)