Friday, October 30, 2009

It's all about the hunt

I have always wanted to be an artist although there were times, as a youngster, that I also thought being a professional baseball or football player sounded good. And there was a period in the 60’s that I thought I wanted to be a scientist. But when I was asked the question a few months back, “What would be your dream job?” I surprised myself by answering, after some contemplation, that I would like to be a treasure hunter.

I enjoy the reflective, satisfying feeling derived from painting and drawing, but the activity that has always given me a sensation of excited anticipation and gut-wrenching thrill has been the search for treasure. I have never considered anything as extensive or dangerous as shipwreck diving or spelunking, but I have often gone in search of my own sort of treasure.

When I was a kid, my family moved to a different house from time to time. We would sometimes find old coins, buried deep in the cushions of furniture left behind. Occasionally, there were old coats hanging in deserted storage rooms that also yielded coins from the pockets. This led to a coin collecting hobby that continues today.

Garage sales and estate sales have been some of my most lucrative hunting grounds. Whether it is an old picture that I can hardly wait to bring home and open up the frame to see what might be hiding behind it, or a vintage Fisher Price toy that costs $2.00 and can be resold on eBay for $50, the hunt and the find is rewarding. Coming across old issues of art magazines and books, or an old Currier & Ives print, is exciting…it could just as well be a buried chest on a deserted island in the south Pacific.

I can only imagine the thrill and challenges felt by people who dive on sunken ships or explore ancient tombs. In my own little world, I feel similar anticipation when I check out a deserted barn or discover an old car in a field. The possibility of stumbling upon old treasures of the past as I roam around a junkyard or dumpsite is enough to make my adrenaline flow.

More recently, my wife and I have started geocaching, which blends elements of exploring, hiking and treasure hunting into a very enjoyable pastime. With our portable GPS, we have had an opportunity to visit some unique roads and trails as we follow the coordinates to hidden treasures. Hundreds of thousands of caches are hidden, all over the world. We often spend Sunday afternoon searching for newly placed caches in the area, and always make it a part of our annual vacation to search out those near our destination. Just a couple of months ago, for the first time, we prepared a cache of our own and hid it in a nearby regional park.

So, just as blogging seems to have satisfied my desire to be a writer, I think geocaching has filled my need to explore and hunt for treasure. The next time you see someone on hands and knees, peering inside a hollow log, stop and say hello – it just might be me!


Laura said...

geocaching is fun!!!!!!!!!

Tonia said...

Agreed- Geocaching is an excellent hobby. I love it when you find a cache that was obviously really well thought-out, and all the items fit a theme.

Dana Leigh said...

Great post. I had no idea that you were into geocaching. I have a GPS but I have yet to use it for that. It has saved a few fights between M and I on the road though! :) P.S. I read all of your posts, even if I don't comment on all of them!