Geocachers come from all walks of life from babies stuffed in backpack carriers to people older than your grandma. I think it’s safe to say that of all stages of life, few of our single-years are as active as those in college.
Lia Steinberg is a remarkable student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication (you practically need a degree to put that entire phrase in a conversation). She’s a consistent Dean’s list achiever and is a Barack Obama Scholar, so she’s so busy you wouldn’t think she has time for any extra-extracurricular activities… but she happens to be a geocacher. She even maintains the blog College Cacher where the college-aged geocacher can garner tips and ideas.
Paurian: As a repeating Dean’s list broadcast journalism major, a Barack Obama Scholar, and a very active participant in extracurricular activities, do you consider your experiences with geocaching an augment to your overall life or as more of a relaxing hobby?
Lia: As a busy college student, I rarely have a moment to relax and do the things I truly enjoy. That’s why geocaching is the perfect hobby for me. I can take ten minutes out of my usual routine and do something exciting and adventurous. If I have an hour before my next class, I can whip out my GPS and find the nearest cache without taking too much time out of my day to have fun. It’s a great way for me to unwind and enjoy my surroundings even on the busiest of days.
Paurian: Your blog is really great for young and first-time cachers, with videos, helpful tips and interesting polls. What prompted you to build it?
Lia: Last semester, I took a class called Online Media that focuses on building an online identity and visual communication. For an assignment, we were required to start a blog about a hobby or interest that we felt we could be an “expert” in. I thought geocaching was the perfect subject to blog about because not many people are familiar with the hobby and thought it would spark some interest. Even though the blog was required for a grade, I did not view it as such. I thoroughly enjoyed blogging and sharing my adventures with people who share the same interest. Now, even though the class is over, I still continue to blog as much as possible.
What was your first geocaching experience?
Lia: My first geocaching experience was about a year ago with my boyfriend. I heard about geocaching on another blog I read and it really amazed me how there were so many caches in my area that I never knew existed. I immediately tracked down the nearest one and found it about 15 minutes later. The rest is history.
What types of swag do you consider cool … what about lame?
Lia: I really enjoy finding travel bugs because I like to see where they have traveled to. I don’t really find the toys or coins very thrilling, although I still don’t mind if I find them because it gives me an idea of what kind of people have found it before me.
Paurian: What is the most helpful non GPSr geocaching tool that you take into the field?
Lia: The most useful non GPSr geocaching tool would definitely have to be tweezers. They have saved my butt a few times when I simply cannot retrieve the log book if it’s squished inside a micro. Otherwise, just having someone else to help find geocaches is great because they sometimes give you a different perspective that you might not have thought of.
Note: Lia has a helpful list of extras on one of her blogposts titled “Geocaching Essentials” .
Do you or your friends have any experiences or thoughts on caching with the non-groundspeak services, such as terracaching.com, navicache.com or Garmin’s opencaching.com?
Lia: I have never heard of those websites before, although now you’ve sparked my interest to check them out!
What is the collest geocache hide you’ve ever gone after or heard of?
Lia: The coolest geocache I discovered was just a couple weeks ago when I was visiting family in Tampa, FL. The GPS took me to an old shed located next to a baseball field. The size of the container was not specified the hint was “not a glue.” As I was searching near an electrical box, I noticed a pipe coming from the ground with a gardening hose attached. I pulled the pipe right up from the ground and found the cache inside. So clever!
As mentioned before, you’ve got great advice all over your blog for newbies. To date, what one post do you feel has been the most helpful.
Lia: I try to keep my posts interesting for new geocachers as well as for the well-experienced. I think my post labeled “The Thrill of the Hunt” pretty much sums up my entire view on geocaching. It gives my opinion about why geocaching is rewarding and fun, as well as gives special tips on how to have a pleasant experience.
What excellent feature/element/idea/thing would you like added to the geocaching experience?
Lia: If I plan on geocaching all day, my preferable mode of transportation is a bike. A bike with a geocaching GPS on the handle bars would be amazing because I always get annoyed at having to stop all the time to see where the GPS wants me to go.
Paurian: You mention on your blog how you introduced a good friend to geocaching. How many others have you personally introduced to the world of geocaching and which was the most memorable experience?
Lia: I have introduced many of my family and friends to geocaching and it has been such a fulfilling experience for me to enjoy my surroundings with the people I love. Caching (in my opinion) is way more fun with a friend than doing it alone. I have always loved to hike with my family, and now we can have something to hike to besides a beautiful view. Also, through my blog, my fellow classmates and professor were very interested in learning more about geocaching. They couldn’t believe a hobby like this existed and I feel passionate about sharing my new favorite hobby with people who are eager to discover it as well.
You can read more about her geocaching adventures and pick up tips and advice that appeal to any age (you don’t have to be in college) at her College Cacher blog.