Here is a question that gets asked a lot
“What has Geocaching given you?”
“What do you believe the benefits are?”
The time honoured answer is usually along the lines of health & fitness for all the family, to get the children away from the games consoles and television. Now don’t get me wrong, those people are absolutely correct and that is how most geocachers start out on their journies. For some of us though, that journey can become incredibly personnal, and I apologise to everyone now because my story is a personnal one.
I first heard about geocaching sometime during 2010 after a chat with my little sister. A mutual friend of ours had discovered this “walking with a purpose hobby” and she though it would be something I would enjoy… And she’s not wrong! I love it. However, I had just moved and my family and I were still unpacking boxes and getting our lives in order.
In April 2011 I took a closer look at this game via the free iPhone app while we were out on a walk discovering our new area. Well, I couldn’t get my head around the built in compass, so needless to say I failed to find anything that day. My family thought I was mad rummaging in the undergrowth while they were exploring a nearby fort, which to them was far more interesting.
Anyway, we headed home and I took a look at Groundspeak’s website, Geocaching.com to find out more and began to plot the coordinates of a nearby route onto my OS map while everyone else were either on the pc or the wii, all ignoring each other (this had become the norm). The following weekend only the girls and I went out (on our own again) and we had much success. We then discovered that a “meet” was not too far from home and decided we would go along and get some advice.
This was when we first met Top rope Ian, Sir-Lancelot, Nick the trucker and Kallescrew. Little did I know then that these first faces would become some of my closest and much loved family. A week later I was told by my husband/partner of 14 years that he was leaving. I was devastated, distraught and angry! I had been trying to find a way to bring us closer together as we all liked the outdoors, I had no idea that in actual fact he didn’t want us to be closer…
Those first couple of months were the worst of my life as you can well imagine, but something I did have was geocaching. I didn’t do very much in the way of hunting or finding, but what I did gain were the best friends anyone could hope for. You see, on the first day I met those mentioned I had also joined the Facebook group, Geocaching in Kent, and that is where I turned when I felt my world was upside down. Everyone I spoke to were non-judgemental and incredibly supportive, they took me out on weekends when my kids were away, not to geocache at first but to get me out of the house, to cheer me up and to introduce me to more geocachers/friends.
Geocaching in Kent were my support group, forget all those marriage berievement groups and guidance counsellors, these guys held me up when I was at rock bottom. They gave me a shoulder to cry on, plenty of things to really laugh hard about and they gave me support where my own family couldn’t, almost three years on they still do.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I haven’t been a burden (well I hope not, but I know they would tell me if I had) and I have been there for them too when thay have had times of trouble. We help each other out of life’s little scrapes e.g Getting the car stuck in a green lane. One thing I can safely say with hand on my heart is that Kent Geocachers will always be there for you when you need them. Friends really are the family you choose for yourself, and these friends chose me at a time when I really needed them.
I guess what I am trying to say is – My benefit of geocaching was not the health & fitness, but finding an incredibly loving family of genuine people and for that I want to publically say THANK YOU to each and every one of them for everything they have done, continue to do and may well do in the future. I LOVE YOU GUYS XXX