Freaking GeoCaching Etiquette

GeoCaching:

1) What happens when Nerds go outside.

2) Using million dollar military satellites to find Tupperware in the woods.

3) www.geocaching.com

4) One of my favorite things in the entire world.

Long and short, people volunteer to hide containers (the sizes vary from teeny tiny to HUGE) then post the GPS coordinates of said container. Other people then go find said containers using descriptions, hints, and GPS devices. The containers can be hidden anywhere and everywhere and the type and contents are limited only to the owner’s imagination.

It’s a great way to get outside, stretch your mental muscles, and meet some great people. I am super passionate about it and spread the geocaching word whenever I can (my Cacher name is WarriorScholar….friend me on the geocaching.com website).

So, just like everything I’m passionate about, I get a little upset when people do things that either go against the spirit of the thing I love or are just plain lame. Hence, this guide was born.

I always hope that when I see some shenanigans it is simply because it’s a newbie or the cacher just didn’t know. I hope that this guide will help generate some discussion and help people cache a little nicer. It is written sternly, in hopes that it will hit home for cachers who just don’t care so if your new or just don’t know, I’m not yelling at you (I’m yelling at them ;-))

geocache
Here is a sample of one might look like (But there are SOOO many variations…don’t just look for something like this)

No One Wants Your Used Q-Tip

One of the many fun things about caching is the ability to put small trade items into larger sized caches. These are little trinkets that you can take from a cache and keep as your own (DIFFERENT from trackables – see below). These are typically kid or kid-spirit friendly or revolve around the caches theme (for example, an all purple cache or a cache to trade out those support bracelets or just little cheap McDonald’s style toys).

So….knowing this, who puts dirty Q-tips or random toothpicks in a cache that isn’t themed that way? Kids (ok, and some adults *cough, me*) take joy in trading out fun items. It’s no fun to come upon a big cache only to find old soda can tops and used grooming products.

You are supposed to trade kind for kind and if you don’t have something equivocal to trade, take nothing.  Again, embrace the spirit of caching and be fair!

Along with that, clean up your trash.  GeoCachers are very big on the Cache In, Trash Out (you’ll hear it called CITO) movement.  Embrace it yourself.

Do You Work In Adult Films?

I’m glad to say I’ve only seen this a time or two, but please watch your cacher names. Super filthy is not ok. This is a hobby that a lot of children take part in.

When you pick a cacher name that is dirty or blatantly inappropriate, that name is seen on the websites and logged in pen on cacher logs. I am FAAAAAARRRRR from easily offended and even I’ve seen a couple of names that gave me pause.

Just be reasonable.

Pick up a Trackable? LOG. THE. DARN. THING.

One fun part of caches is the ability to purchase what are called “trackables”. They are also referred to as travel bugs or geo coins. They have a unique code on them that allows them to be moved cache to cache and be mapped during travels. They usually have a goal (i.e. – visit all 50 states) and usually have a theme or a friend attached. (See one of mine by clicking here.)

When you come across one you can either leave it in the cache you saw it in or take it with you. Either way, you can go to a website and enter the code to “log” it. It’s nice to log it even if you leave it there (called Discovering it). It’s a nice way to let a trackable owner know it’s still there.

It is a MUST to log it if you take it. A trackable is easily spotted and simply cannot be confused for a standard tradable item. LOG IT ASAP. Then move it on. Don’t keep it forever and if you can’t drop it right away, take the time to log your plans with it so the owner knows where it is.

Someone spent money on this item. It usually means something to them or to their kid. It is their possession and they sent it into the world to brighten their, and other cachers days. Treat this property like you would treat any possession that you borrowed from a friend, because that it was you are doing when you take a trackable.

Owners – Maintain or Delete

This is for the more advanced cacher – the person who places their own caches.  For the love of Pete, either maintain, adopt out, or delete your cache.  It is so disappointing to not be able to find a cache and then learn the owner has neglected maintenance requests or Did Not Finds for months.  I will leave it at that, for if you are placing caches, you need no further explanation.

Well, there you go.  Caching is fun and really cool (yes, cool).  It is great to do alone and it is great to do with friends and loved ones.

Please just be respectful and follow basic common sense and courtesy and we can all get along just fine!  Remember, find me on Geocaching.com as WarriorScholar!

Fellow GeoCachers – What did I forget?  Newbies – What you would like to know?  Comment/Ask away in the comments.  You may inspire another blog 🙂

geocache
My triumphant find!  (I’d been looking for this one forever)

 

 

What I’m Built For

  
I was built for the dark times. 

I find great beauty in the moments most people sleep away. 

I find motivation and drive in the dark moments most people turn from. 

I find purpose in exposing the deep meaning and sense the dark times hold. 

I was built for the dark times.

100 Mile Party – Fitness on Road Trips 

I love to drive places and I do it often.  At least once a month I haul a few hundred miles to Atlanta for the Navy.  I have been known to drive twelve hours each way to a race without thinking twice.

Driving makes me happy.  This is for a few reasons.  1) I hate flying.  It is a hassle and I have an irrational fear and deep control issues.  2) I love the adventures I have while driving.  3) I have a tradition called the 100 mile party.  This tradition helps break up my drive and encourages me to get some fitness squished in where ever possible.
So let me tell you about the 100 mile party.  It was born out of driving from Ohio to Florida with two small kids.  It’s hard to do and we needed to not be miserable during the drive.  So we carefully monitored the odometer and every 100 miles we stopped at the nearest rest area or exit area.  The kids got to pick a physical activity – play on the playground, run circles around the building, whatever, and one treat from the gas station or vending machine. It broke up the drive and it was really fun.  The kids loved keeping track of the miles and knowing there was a goal to be reached.

I decided to keep up this tradition, even when I drive alone. Every 100 miles I stop and do some form of physical activity and usually find a GeoCache.  I have done everything from burpees to yoga to run up and down hills.  I normally get strange looks, occasionally get quizzed by officers, and I always have fun.

Push Up Challenge in a Georgia rest stop.
Push Up Challenge in a Georgia rest stop.

This is just one idea to add more fitness to your life, be more safe while driving (getting tired behind the wheel is  DANGEROUS) and make a boring drive much much better.

Go Forth and Be Epic, my friends!!!!

Who Am I?

I have been pondering a blog post about who I am and why I think my blog is worthwhile (aka – answer the question why the heck should I listen to you?).

The writing prompt from WordPress today nudged me in the direction I needed.  The prompt today is “The Satisfaction of a List:  Who doesn’t love a list? So write one! Top five slices of pizza in your town, ten reasons disco will never die, the three secrets to happiness — go silly or go deep, just go list-y.”

So here is a spin on my biography.  Theses are the things that make me who I am, in list form…..

Wait – before you read the list – it is surprisingly hard to summarize your self in a list…try it.  It is fascinating.

  • Friend to a Few
  • Acquaintance to a Ton
  • Fighter for Love
  • Dreamer
  • Adopted Daughter
  • Food Lover
  • Teacher
  • Coach
  • Yoga Practicer (Different from a practitioner….I am not quite at that level yet)
  • Rucker
  • Writer
  • Outside Player
  • Ex-Wife
  • Busy Brain
  • Constant Seeker of Knowledge
  • Motivator
  • Sometimes a Failure
  • Always a Rebounder
  • Reader
  • Binge TV watcher
  • Lover of the Outdoors
  • Naval Officer
  • Cook
  • Attorney
  • Clean Eating Fanatic
  • Adventurer
  • Fearer of Boredom
  • Challenge Accepter
  • TED Talk Obsessor
  • Lover of Random, Useless Knowledge
  • Tutor
  • Want to Be Mother (there are at least two people in my life who are losing their minds if they read this – chillax….)

I am almost positive that I will be updating this list as time goes on.

You can check out the WordPress daily challenge page here:  The Satisfaction of a List

“Spirited Debate”

WordPress gives this prompt today – “It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

Vehemently Disagree!  We should always be looking to grow and develop.  You can only do this if you push a little past your comfort zone.

My time is precious to me.  I like to enjoy every moment I live.  I love thinking about and discussing politics and religion.  I love meeting new people.  I love to easily tell if I want to continue to spend time with the new people I meet.  A very quick way to figure this out is to discuss politics and/or religion, preferably with people who don’t agree with me.  It is a great way to be challenged, hopefully learn something new, and get to know someone.  Even when it raises to level of a yelling match, it just means passions have been ignited and as long as you are friendly at the end, why not enjoy a nice dose of spirited debate.

The whole idea of off limit topics is baffling to me.  Push yourself. Push others.  Stay civil and kind, but always look to grow.  If you take permanent offense to my spirited debate, I most likely have no desire to get to know you any better.

You can see all the blogs participating by clicking on this link – Polite Company

Suicide

I titled this one word on purpose – it is in hopes that it will catch some of your eyes……pull some focus to a horrible trend that you may not be aware of.

This article punched me in the gut yesterday:  READ/WATCH here  A female Air Force Captain took her own life. There are some indications that something bad happened to her while she was deployed and it was just too much for her. I am not one to cry or show my emotions all that much, but this article made me cry.  I have always been aware of the problem with returning vets and suicide rates, but it took this situation to really pull it into focus for me.

She was obviously professionally skilled, and from all indications, a kind and loved person.  It really hit home.  She is about my age, she’s the same rank, she was even stationed where I just returned from.

Something happened to her that she couldn’t deal with and it breaks my heart.  I fear she felt what a lot of females in the military do (and I am sure men too, but I can only speak from my perspective) – we self impose an internal strength that leads us to deal with our issues on our own.  An idea that we have to be a little stronger and tougher emotionally because we aren’t as physically strong as the guys. If she’d only truly known that it is ok to reach out.  That there are women that understand and are here to talk.

All I can say is suicide is not the answer.  Whether it is mental scars from what you saw in the course of your job, physical wounds that are too hard to cope with, or some other horrible event that happened (*side note, rape is disgusting and if you are in my military and rape anyone, there is a special place in hell for you), there are people out there that can help you.

BOTTOM LINE – IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING, OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS (OR EVEN THINK THEY ARE) REACH OUT TO SOMEONE.

Getting help is not a weakness.  I know this is a hard thought to overcome (I am the queen of the I can deal with it myself mentality), but it is much better than the alternative. Military females are some of the most bad ass people in the world. We need every single one of them walking this planet to keep things spinning in a good direction.

Social media and in-person friends, do you know someone that you think needs help or do YOU need help?  REACH OUT TO ME.  I am not a counselor and can’t give treatment but I can be an ear to listen or I can get you to someone who can help.  Let’s not lose another soul.

Resources:

http://www.veteranscrisisline.net
http://www.veteranscall.us/

http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp?isflash=1
http://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/immediate-help

I won’t post my cell here, but here are a few ways to reach me (if you already have my cell, feel free to use it):

Facebook
Twitter: @legalheaven
Instagram @legalheaven
Post a comment here

The Halo and The Sledge Hammer

Today’s writing prompt asks:  You’re tasked with creating a brand new astrological sign for the people born around your birthday — based solely on yourself. What would your new sign be, and how would you describe those who share it?

The Halo and The Sledge Hammer

To me, the Halo is a representation of blessings or being blessed.  The sledge hammer represents an ability to crush through anything standing in the way of what I want to accomplish.  My life, to date, has been a wonderful mixture of pure blessing, amplified by hard work.

I have nothing short of a blessed life.  Even through rough patches, good has always come out of things and I keep adding people to my list of reasons to be blessed.  From the fact that I was adopted and raised by an amazing family to the people I have met during my time in the military, to the jobs I have had, and the mentors I still have, I have been so blessed.  Top that off with the people I have met through racing, my support system and foundation for life can only be explained as a blessing.  I have not actively sought out much of these good things – I somehow “stumble” on them.  Call it what you like….luck, fate, whatever….I call it a blessing.  So, the Halo is the first part of my personal zodiac.

Then there are the down times……the areas that I would describe as rough patches.  That is where the sledge hammer comes in.  Nothing stands in my way.  I work hard for what I want and fiercely protect those that I value.  My Mother once gave me what I think was one of the best compliments I have ever been given (I am not sure she meant it as a compliment) – she said “Nothing stops you.  You aren’t afraid of anything.”  While I do have fears, they do not stop me.  I sledge hammer my way through anything that stands in my way.  Sometimes it is a velvet covered sledge hammer, but the job gets done.

So how would I describe those who share this sign?  Those born under the Halo and the Sledge Hammer are stubborn and incredibly hard working.  They are deeply caring but tend to hide these feelings. Burn out is common and their defense mechanism is to cut themselves off from the world.  If you show them loyalty, they will give you the shirt off their back.

Thank you to everyone that has had an impact on my life.  I look forward to what other blessings are to come my way and who is helping me hold the sledge hammer at the next obstacle.

Want to take part in the writing prompts?  Check out the post a day page at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/custom-zodiac/

Twenty-Five Seven

Today’s prompt asks us, if you had an extra hour a day, how would you use it?

On it’s face, it seems like a simple question…..I would guess that most of us instantly think “More time?!? That equals More Productivity!!!  Easy Day!”

But wait….what about all the questions this simple question raises?

This simple prompt sent my brain into overdrive:

  • Does everyone else have this extra hour?
  • Does my boss know I have this extra hour?
  • Does this mean my body needs more sleep?
  • Is an hour enough time to really make any difference?
  • Is doing NOTHING for an hour an option?
  • Yeah, right, like I can do NOTHING…..
  • I could read for an hour….
  • NO, I could write for an hour….
  • NO, I could workout for that hour….
  • Crap, I have a lot I need to get done…..even with that hour….
  • People are going to think I have all this free time on my hands if I keep writing blogs….
  • But I LIKE writing blogs…..
  • It would be cool if I could make a living writing….
  • But I love to teach….
  • OH, I could take an extra class with that hour….
  • Or I could teach an extra class with that hour…
  • Oh, I have to get that teaching application done….
  • Crap, I have to work on that paper..
  • Would an hour help me focus or just make me less focused?
  • Do I over analyze things?
  • Yeah, the fact I have this many questions/comments from one single prompt is evidence that I do over analyze.
  • What else do I over analyze?

I am stopping the documentation of my train of thought now.  I could go on forever.  My over analyzing monkey brain just latches onto these prompts and GOES.

In closing, I know I didn’t answer the prompt question….But I don’t know that I can.  Wait, I can.  I will give the lawyer answer….IT DEPENDS!

Want to join me in the crazy stream of consciousness that these prompts inspire?  Visit the Post A Day/Post a Week Challenges.  Today’s is here:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/twenty-five-seven/