Everybody loves that S.W.A.G. (stuff we all get)! It’s kinda like hidden gifts throughout the world, geocachers paying it forward to each other, sharing the joy of our great treasure hunt game. As another caching year ends, I decided to look over the fun swag swaps I made in 2017, remembering the adventure behind each piece. One of my most popular posts has been Best GeoSwag Finds, so I thought I’d make a point to do an annual post about the loot my family accumulated over the year, telling the story each object symbolizes.
Blue Fidget Spinner: 2017 was the year of the fidget spinner. I swapped for this gem at a FTF, a geocache miles away home as I was driving from the airport where I had just taken a trip to see my best friend in Arizona. This spinner reminds me of enjoying my alone time, driving down a road only geocaching led me, surrounded by wind turbines.
Hess Racing Car: My dad and I finally set aside the time to hike the Maah Daah Hey Trail this year. This toy was placed in the hardest D/T cache we found the day we went. The significance of this car was the brand – Hess – the company where my dad built his career, and also retired from a couple months ago. We had been talking about hiking this trail for years, and now that he has the time, I hope we go again soon.
Penguin, Stone, and Carabiner: I’ll be honest; I don’t remember acquiring these three items. However, I know that we found this penguin closely after releasing our Hurtigruten trackable into the wild and wished I had used it as a hitchhiker. The stone is just a neat item, something I could use for a project, as well as the carabiner.
Zebra and Cross Sun Catcher: Both of these objects were found on our family’s trip to Scobey, MT while placing our MCA Geocoin. Sophia instantly enjoyed playing with the zebra, and I plan to hang the sun catcher with its bright message up on a window.
Wooden Geocoin: I’m not sure where I found this woodie, but since I traded DarkDoDo for a few this year, I thought I’d see how many I could collect purely on the game board.
Key: This was my last addition to this swag pile. While my sister was home from college over Christmas break, we drove to Watford City to find a few caches and play in their parks with Sophia. I love having a reason to go on an adventure with them. Plus, keys are one of my favorite items – what do they open? Each one is different and mysterious.
Bear: We found this Paddington bear at a FTF, where we also complete the #GeoChallenge of the Cache Pants Dance. Sophia chose this toy, even though she wanted to take the whole bag! Our family watched the sunset and drove home as dusk settled into night.
My Little Pony: Traveling home from that same trip I found the fidget spinner, I stopped to find my 900th geocache. I wanted to trade swag here for an item to commemorate this milestone, so this little pony joined our collection.
Little People Boy: The first cache my dad and I found on our trip to Utah held this Little People figure, and since Sophia loves Little People, I knew it was a sign. This was the only swag item I acquired over our spontaneous father-daughter adventure.
Dorothy: This was Sophia’s first swag item ever. She picked this toy out of a big box of possible figurines. We found the cache on the “Big Blue Switch Day” and received our souvenir.
Pig: Jon and I had the honor to be in our best friends’ wedding party this past summer in Custer, South Dakota. During our time there, we of course went geocaching. This was our momento from the trip.
$8.38: Whenever I find money in a geocache, even just a penny, I always trade for it and put it in a jar at home. I like to show off the money I “made” from my hobby, the cash in caches.
Since Sophia started geocaching with us more, I have definitely seen a change in the type and quantity of swag we have brought home. Over time, I’m excited to see what she chooses to add to our collection, which I intend to place in a shadow box and hang on a wall capturing our family’s adventures. Now I’ll empty the jar where I’ve kept these items, giving the toys to Sophia, perhaps re-swagging a couple into new caches, and saving a few pieces in a separate container for our memory box.
What was your most significant swag item from 2017 and the story behind it? How do you decide what pieces of swag you’ll add to your collection?
May 2018 bring you great treasure!