I’m in Plainfield, Vermont, where I teach at Goddard College. I took the opportunity yesterday to drop Juan TB3P00 in Country View. It’s an aptly named cache. Here’s the view:
Meanwhile, my geocaching enthusiast brother, David, planted Juan TB33P02 in College Woods Cache, which is in Connecticut.
So the breakdown thusfar of where these Juans are:
Juan TB33NWZ started in Port Townsend, WA and is now outside Asheville, NC.
Juan TB33NX9 started in Port Townsend, WA and is now outside Chico, CA.
Juan TB33NX8 started in Seattle, WA and is now 28 miles east of its original location.
Juan TB33P02 started in New Haven, CT and is still there.
Juan TB33P00 was dropped yesterday in Plainfield, VT.
I am almost nauseated by how wholesome this is, but here’s a really succinct explanation of what exactly geocaching is.
By the way, I activated another story this weekend and put it in the hands of my brother from Connecticut, who promises to plant it someplace on the east coast. Stay tuned.
This blog has been silent awhile, but gears are whirling in the world of Found and Lost. I just applied for a King County 4 Culture Grant, which would allow me to produce the stories on a bigger scale than I currently can. I’ll buy my own laminator! Just think of the around-the-house uses I’ll find for it. My fingers are crossed.
I posted a message on the boards at geocaching.com and have been marveling at the response. A number of geocachers with far more experience than me are offering to help spread the stories far and wide. An editor for an online geocaching magazine who goes by the awesome handle TheAlabamaRambler has solicited a piece and I’d love to send him something (though I won’t be sending the actual Found and Lost stories; I’m committed to them only being available via cache). I’m starting to think more about my “mule” program in which I’ll send stories to various geocachers to distribute worldwide. More on this soon.
Another geocacher named Snoogans alerted me to something called GeoWoodstock 8, a convention to be held July 3 in Carnation, WA. Sounds very cool.
On Monday I announced my Found and Lost geocaching project with no idea how the actual stories would look. The comments and emails I received helped me think about ways I might quickly and cheaply create these chapbooks. I quickly decided that whatever form the stories were to take, they couldn’t be too precious; the production values by nature had to be low and the design had to withstand the elements and hippies’ backpacks.
"Juan," the first installment of Found and Lost, on my desk at Hugo House.
Brian McGuigan at Hugo House has been tremendously helpful, offering suggestions on how I might introduce the stories to the world. More importantly, he introduced me to Hugo House’s laminator and a program for Mac called Pages. I used Pages to lay out the story, then made copies, cut out the pages, and laminated each page. The “binding” is actually the travel bug tag chain. I bought the travel bugs at REI using my spouse-of-an-employee discount. The result is an inelegant yet sturdy little story designed to withstand a trip around the world.
This morning I made a number (I’m not saying how many) of the first installment in the Found and Lost series, called “Juan.” As I put assembled them I got the same giddy feeling I would get when I was in elementary school binding my little books at my dad’s civil engineering office. There’s something incredibly gratifying about writing, designing, producing, and now distributing one’s own book.
Producing "Juan." Note the fly laminator.
My next step is to find geocaches where I can plant them, then activate the travel bug codes so I can trace their progress online. All of this has been ridiculously fun.
Thanks to everyone who has commented or sent me thoughts on how to pull off this geocaching short story distribution thing. Jez Burrows (who does amazing design stuff in the UK) referred me to this service I’d never heard of called Lulu which will print a book of the size I envision for about five bucks a copy. My friend and colleague Beatrix Gates recommended Bookmobile and then tonight at Hugo House Matthew Simmons suggested I might be able to do something with the new Espresso Book Machine (really sucky name for the thing, imo) they’ve got running at University Bookstore.
One commenter on Slog raised an issue I hadn’t thought much about, whether folks would simply take the books and not pass them along because they’re cool. I’ve always figured a number of books will go missing, and I accept that, but I’m curious about whether there’d be a correlation between the stories’ production values and their tendency to live permanently on someone’s shelf rather than get passed along, as I intend them to be. In other words, should I produce these stories to be completely no-frills? Should I simply send them out into the world as pieces of loose-leaf paper in Ziploc bags? Continue reading
I’m excited to announce a new project: a series of stories distributed solely via geocaches.
What Is Geocaching?
From geocaching.com: “Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS device can then try to locate the geocache.”