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24 Kasım 2013 Pazar

Geocaching and me (Guest Writer-Sarah Sweeney)

Almost everyone I know associates geocaching with my husband, but I also have a connection to the activity. I don’t have a user name; I like to call myself “Omaggo’s other half”. I don’t seek out caches on my own, or hide them for that matter. I am not competitive about being the first to find a cache. And I tend to lose interest rather quickly when the cache isn’t easily found. But geocaching is still a big part of my life.

I took my boyfriend home to meet my parents a few years back. One night, after dinner we were all watching the news. There was a report about a suspected bomb found under a bridge in a national park. The bomb squad was called and the park close.  When the canister was finally opened, the police were surprised to find the item was part of a treasure hunt called geocaching. My father made a comment about those stupid people hiding things, didn’t they understand how much it looked like a bomb, and now look at how much of the tax payers’ money was wasted on this?
My boyfriend had other ideas. He went straight to the computer and searched geocaching. He pulled up a map of my parents’ town, and we learned there was a hidden geocache just down the road. The next day we drove into the city, and my boyfriend bought a GPS device. By the evening we had created an account, and searched the town for caches online.  We were flying out of the country the next day. So we only had time for one cache.

With the little blue device in my hands, and my father watching disapprovingly from the living room window, we set off down the road. And that was our first cache.
You can imagine our frustration when we checked for nearby caches in Istanbul and found one! That was before we had a smart phone. We ended up having to phone friends to go online and look at the hints to help us when we were in the location.  There were some caches scattered around the country though, and I thought I might be able to convince my boyfriend to take us on a tour of the country, if I made a route for him with caches along the way.
I had been trying to see Mount Nemrut on the other side of the country for years.  But Omaggo wasn’t interested, that is, until I learned there was a cache hidden on it. The very next long weekend that we had, we borrowed a car, and headed across the country to find it! I finally saw Nemrut. I was happy. The cache was missing. Omaggo was not happy.
Omaggo was on mission to make caching more popular in Istanbul so that we’d have more caches to find. I usually prepared the boxes, pencils, log paper, and I tended to upload all the info to the website. Then one day, on New Year’s Day to be exact, I woke up to find some co-ordinates. I was shocked! He actually prepared his own cache? 
We set out together on a windy January 1st, and found the nearby cache he had hidden on his own. It was in an olive tree. I pulled it out, and recognized the container that I had prepared earlier. I opened it and found a message inside. After all those years together, when I’d finally given up waiting for it, Omaggo finally proposed to me! With a geocache! Of course, I said yes, and we were married a while later. There were no geocachers at our wedding, because the community still hadn’t really begun to grow yet.Now, how many years later, I don’t know, there is a wonderful group of geocachers here in Istanbul, who I consider my friends. 

My husband often goes to caching meetings without me, but he knows I’ve got his back, and even if I am busy, I am a geocacher down to the bones. The proof is found in the 3 empty face cream containers, empty tic-tack containers, and Tupperware containers that I keep in a safe place with little ikea pencils, and paper. I’m always ready with a cache!
Sarah Sweeney

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