If you are new to geocaching and not sure what a Travel Bug or TB is, then check out one of our past videos discussing this activity in geocaching.
I enjoy placing TBs out there and watching to see who discovers them and where they go. It adds excitement to the hobby, and I can even become a mother hen when I see they are stalled and missing.
I got started in using TBs partly as a way to give back to the hobby. I enjoy finding them, looking up the logs to see where they have been, looking up their specific mission, and then moving them along. I enjoy being able to take them overseas with me, especially if they have been stalled for a period of time. I relate it to amateur radio operators who like to look over their contact sheets or divers who reminisce over dive logs.
There has been some scuttle in the hobby lately that I’m not quite sure why. Some hobbyist are becoming agitated that “thank you” notes are not added to the log from the TB owner. I know I try to add one from time to time, or at least say something kind to the person who discovers it. Perhaps I will have to re-evaluate my own TB courtesies.
An area I do find troubling though is the TB collector. This is a person who discovers the TB and keeps it. There are two types of hoarders. Those who simply keep a TB and you never see it again. It becomes an MIA in the geocaching world. For whatever reason, lack of knowledge about the etiquette, not knowing how to post, or simple greed keeps the TB from ever surfacing again. The other is the person who holds the TB and travels from site to site with it and instead of “dropping” the TB they “visit” a cache. Both of these are options when logging the TB. I currently have a TB in the hands of someone local for the past 6 months and is never dropped into a cache.
I admit to holding a TB, but in all of these circumstances, I notify the TB owner of my intentions and give them the option of me dropping in the next available cache or if I hold it for an upcoming trip. This often means that a land-locked TB in Utah or Idaho gets a free ride to Korea, Japan, or China. All of these are gateways to other international travelers who will then take the TB to another country- or in some cases another continent. Most TB owners love seeing a TB get some frequent flier mileage and don’t mind the few weeks of waiting.
On all my TBs I ask for photos of the various places the TB goes to and enjoy when someone picking it up follows through. Regardless, TBs I find I try to do the same. It just makes the hobby a bit more interesting.
If you find a TB, make sure you log it properly. If you own one, at least leave a kind note for someone moving your TB along. This is an activity that can become more about the technology than the people. Let’s keep it about the geocacher and not electronics.
Here is the original forum that inspired this story: http://www.geocachingmaine.org/forum/showthread.php?2541-Time-for-a-Rant-Travel-Bug-Goals
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