horse

Geocaching got me through…

17th July 2012…

I’d had enough.  If I’d stayed in the office any longer, I really don’t know how things would have turned out – I just know it would have been bad.  Dramatic?  Maybe, but experience tells me its no exaggeration.  Despite all the good things happening at home, my mind was focused on the bad things happening at work.

I was working away from home, living in a local B&B, at the time.  For a while I retreated back to my room, at the B&B.  Lay on the bed, all sorts of bad thoughts going on in my head.  All I knew was that this wasn’t doing me any good.  Dwelling, brooding, whatever you want to call it, it was just making things worse.

We’d taken up Geocaching the month before, in that time we’d become hooked.  Like most Geocachers, there was a pack with all my gear in it in the back of my car.  It just made sense to go out and Geocache.  A doctor once said something about getting out and about helping lift depression – I remember thinking maybe I should give it a try.

The B&B, I lived in, is in a place called Upwood – near Huntingdon.  In those parts Poshrule is the main hider of Geocaches.  He had plenty of long series, so I aimed towards one of them.  The one I picked was The Woodwalton Waggle.

It’s true that the memory plays tricks on us.  I had in mind that I’d done the series backwards, but looking at my stats it seems this isn’t true.

The first cache was near the pub car park, I’d left the car in.  It was a micro in a phonebox.  Looking at the logs I wrote, they seem to reflect my mood that day.  “tftc”, “good hide, tftc”.  I apologise to Poshrule for that.

On the way to the next cache, I somehow ended up in a ditch and with very wet feet.  This wasn’t helping my low mood.  Did I turn back?  No.  Why?  God knows.

Between the second and third caches, I saw something that lifted me a little.  It was a horse and her colt/foal.  I spent a while just watching them.

horse

Eventually, I carried on my walk.  Around the next corner there was a mother taking her toddler daughter for a walk.  This, again, had the effect of lifting my mood slightly.  As they came towards  me, the toddler was splashing in the puddles.  For some reason that always makes me smile, seeing kids do what kids do.

On I went and found myself in the middle of nowhere.  The only company a farmer working in his field.  Do you know how slowly a tractor seems to move when you’re waiting for it to turn around, so you can grab your next find?  FOREVER!

little church

Parts of this walk were turning in to real happy memories.  Then I came across St Andrews Church.  A tiny church, in the middle of nowhere.  The cache near is GCTGYY – Friends of the Friendless – St Andrew.  For me this place is a prime example of why I Geocache.  Amazing location.  Most importantly, it was so peaceful.  I spent a good while look round the area, then sitting on a bench at the rear of the church.  It had such an impact on me, that I took Amy and the kids a few months later.

peace

When I’m in a low place, I just want peace and to be left alone.  This little church and its grounds provided that peace.  This was the turning point that day.  I felt like I had time and space.  Nothing was pressuring me.

Eventually, I carried on with my walk.  Seems I took a long route to the next cache.  I remember it being another micro, which I fumbled and lost in the tall grass.  I’d contacted Poshrule to let him know I’d replace it, but he got out before the replacement cache arrived.  The micro I’d ordered is now our first hide – even that little thing helps trigger happy memories.

The walk got harder, overgrown areas and rain contributed to this.  Amy called me at one stage, hearing her gave me a boost too – she always does.

One of the caches was a bison tube hidden in a group of trees.  It took me a while to get, but I found it.  That was when I realised that if I’m stubborn enough to stand out in the rain, searching for a bison tube, then I’m bloody sure I can put that stubbornness to good use in fighting my real issues.

That day is why I Geocache.  It’s like having a release valve.  It acts as a reminder that the world is full of great things.  I have four kids and Amy, they are my reason for getting up in the morning – is that corny?  Probably, but its how I feel.  But Geocaching helps too.

Geocaching wasn’t a cure, but it got me through.