Geocachers love to make anything and everything trackable. We’ve seen trackable pets, cars, stuffed animals, and even a drum set. Over 500 geocachers have taken their love of trackables to a whole other, more permanent level – trackable tattoos.
There are many reasons as to why geocachers decide to brand themselves. Maybe it’s because they want every geocacher they encounter to have a way to remember them, or maybe it’s an artistic way for a geocacher to express their love for the game. Either way, getting a trackable tattoo is a pretty reliable way to ensure your TB won’t go missing.
We asked Geocacher NutmegBrownie to share her recent experience with us, and we were amazed by the amount of thought and creation that goes into the process. Here is what she had to say:
What inspired you to tattoo a trackable on your body?
“I’ve always been interested and pretty much fascinated with tattoos, the history they have played and the stories behind the ones people choose. I’ve known that I was going to have one for a very long time and that it would be nature related somehow… On the other hand, timing and funding were another story. While researching tattoo artists that do that kind of realistic natural work and trying to find one somewhere near me, I stumbled on the site for the first human trackable and was immediately hooked – I thought it was absolutely awesome and just knew my first tattoo would have to be a trackable! I have a blast geocaching and have met some truly amazing individuals through it that I otherwise would likely never have known. It just makes perfect sense for something that I enjoy participating in so much and look forward to doing long into the future. Sometimes I forget it’s there and then I’ll catch a glimpse of it and it just makes me smile every single time!”
Can you tell us more about the design?
“Narrowing down the things that I really liked and wanted for my first tattoo was tough and took a long time… We’re talking years. My job as a Naturalist and various volunteer work as an Assistant Wildlife Biologist in an NPS entomology lab as well as various insect surveys helped narrow down my choice… Well, kinda. My first choices were more physically interesting specimens, but the space they required to get the detail I wanted made me go back to the drawing board. I knew that my insect interest was perfect for a TB and that I also wanted to mix scientific accuracy with some Steam Punk elements. This particular insect doesn’t have any research, photos, or drawings, of it’s wings so that allowed me to take a bit more artistic license with my idea. The idea of mechanically driven insects isn’t anything new and there are some artists out there with amazing miniature works of art where they have taken a real preserved insect and added clockwork innards. So I just took mine a step further and gave the wings a bit of a mechanical feel too. I was also really lucky to have a super laid back and talented artist that didn’t mind my insistence on an 18th century scientific font or adding some additional small details as we went along. I had spent some time in their shop prior and a few e-mails regarding design elements I wanted so we were really comfortable at tattoo time. He was really great and did amazing work!”
How did you decide placement?
“You always hear and or read that placement of a tattoo is a personal choice… It is, but other variables come into play as well. I originally envisioned my first tattoo being on the inside of my right wrist and just a little bit up the inside of my forearm. Partly because it is an area that is almost guaranteed to age well (i.e. no noticeable weight gain and little loose skin down the road in the later years) and also because I was getting the tattoo for me to enjoy and I wanted to be able to see it easily every day. Well, a small wrist doesn’t leave much room for anything but a pretty small tattoo and hard to notice details… So when the tattoo artist asked me if there was anywhere else I would consider – I immediately said the inside of my shin just above the ankle. He was good with that and there my insect sits. Now I have my wrist free for a second tattoo. Hmmm… decision, decision, decisions!”
What advice would you give to other geocachers who are interested in getting a trackable tattoo?
“Absolutely don’t be in a hurry, not even a little – take your time deciding on your design, research tattoo artists (near and far) then check them out while they work, be flexible and have a back up design and location (or two) on your body just in case. Do be prepared to sit still for quite a while to get it done and, I have been told that it hurts, sometimes a lot. I seem to be a bit of an anomaly because the 2.5 hours that I sat there watching wasn’t long enough! I actually enjoyed the tattoo process and was a bit disappointed when the tattooing was done… That isn’t the way it is supposed to be so just make sure you are mentally ready for the process and the pain. Choose the design carefully and make sure it’s something that you don’t think you’re going to get tired of seeing, explaining, or sharing… because none of that is going to go away.”
“A nearby cacher in the next state over from me was the first actual physical human trackable that I found, and I was literally so excited when I met him and his tattoo last spring. I was kind of dancing and hopping in place and making some embarrassing girlie squeaks (so not me). He just gave me some great advice at our Fall Event yesterday. He said be ready for the cachers that will forget to cover up your trackable number before posting pictures. It will happen at some point and once it’s out, well it’s out, so think about how you want to handle that ahead of time when the virtual logs start rolling in. I hadn’t thought about that because of course all cachers play by “the rules” and follow “TB etiquette”… LOL Rules?!? Etiquette?!? Absolutely appreciated the warning and shock prevention he provided. Oh, and like a trackable, tattoos aren’t for everybody so don’t be disappointed or surprised at those who show little or no interest; it just isn’t their thing. If you got your tattoo for you, it won’t matter one way or the other! :>)”
Mulling over the idea of getting a trackable tattoo? Here are a few things to consider beforehand:
– Tattoos are permanent so make sure you’re “all in.”
– It’s easy to get a tracking code for your tattoo. Purchase a set of Travel Bugs from Shop Geocaching or one of Geocaching.com’s Official Distributors. It is important that you do not send the Travel Bug into the geocaching world, as it will cause confusion.
– Use the unique tracking code from your Travel Bug as part of your design and have a trusted tattoo artist work their magic.
-You can receive a custom trackable icon for your tattoo. Send an email to email@example.com and include a photo of the tattoo that clearly shows the tracking number. The icons are typically updated within a week of receiving your email.
If you were to get a trackable tattoo, what would the design look like?
N 24° 46.665 E 110° 29.127
It’ll take a bit of a climb—and maybe an international flight—to reach this EarthCache, but rare is the geocacher who regrets it. This EarthCache takes you on a short hike above the city of Yangshuo in northern China. The area is known for its dramatic karst mountains, which are the focus of this cache’s earth science lesson. Karst mountains are striking and easily recognizable. The isolated, steep-sided limestone hills are typically surrounded by flat plains. They’re formed when mildly acidic water begins to dissolve weak, soluble bedrock, creating fractures and openings in the rock which deepened over time.
Or, as the Cache Owner puts it in words we can all understand:
“In the beginning there was a huge limestone plate. Like a chocolate table on the desk. There are movements of tectonic plares in the earth’s crust and the table was broken to pieces. Imagine the table of chocolate divided to pieces as if you want to eat it.
Next the water from rain and rivers come. If you put water on chocolate it will start to dissolve it and flow parts of it away. The holes and openings become bigger and after some time most chocolate is out. The same as here. The rests of limstone’s plate are karst hills and mogules of different shapes.
You can ask why the water did not make a deep canyon – the bedrock is too hard. The water took the chocolate, but the desk remained the same. The end of the story is sad – after some time there will be no chocolate at all. But here in Yangshou it is a question of many million years.” -Golem team
“During our China trip we also visited Yangshuo. A beautiful place with lovely mountains which are lighted during the evening. Together with CaliburnNL we found this earthcache it was a challenge to climb this mountain. Not the climbing was the problem, but finding the start of the climbing. After climbing we had a beautiful view and were able to answer the questions. Team Golem TFTC. mnmjwe from the Netherlands.” –mnmjwe
“We spent two weeks in China. The landscape around Yangshuo is fantastic. My family wasn’t glad that I left them alone in the park while climbing up the hill (especially because they didn’t know that I had to go up). But it was worth. The answers I sent to the owner. And I would like to leave a favorite point. Thanks!” –alpinpoet
“Today we (my youngest son AO99) ans I decided to climb the hill instead of shopping together with the others in our tourist group. A good choice to my mind. The climbing was a bit sweaty (36 degrees C and moisture about 90%) but worth every step. A gegorgeousiew was our salary for this exercise. Unfortunately was my GPS unreadable because of the chineese text in the description, but I think I have managed to answer all the questions, even if there was a small misunderstanding. This cache is a clear favourite to me and FP added! Thank´s for all the work you have done to create this cache! And greetings from Sweden.” –benke.olsson
Last April, I created a trackable for my daughter and named it Thor. We dropped Thor into GC5RCNK – Left Field Bench in Wilsonville, Oregon. But subsequently my sister, who geocaches under ljh, traveled to Europe and took Thor with her. They traveled together throughout Germany, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
In August, I created a Jedi Master Yoda trackable for my son. We dropped Yoda into GCXYTC Seaside View on Angel Island, California where he stayed for about a month before getting grabbed and taken to the east coast.
On September 18, Thor was moved from Europe to New York City.
On September 19, Jedi Master Yoda was moved from California to New York City.
When I looked closely, I realized that both Travel Bugs were in the same geocache on the same day: Snug as a Bug in Central Park (GC12F8M). Thor was placed September 18th and moved September 19th. Yoda was placed September 19th and moved the next day. I have no way of knowing if both Travel Bugs were in the geocache at the same time, but they were clearly logged in on the same day.
What are the chances of this happening: two Travel Bugs created by the same person, placed thousands of miles apart, and brought to the same geocache by different people on the same day?
This is why we love Geocaching. I wanted to share my store with the Geocaching community, but wasn’t sure how. That’s why I’m writing you here. Please feel free to share this story!
Washington County, Texas
Washington County is filled with many “firsts” and “oldests.” This is where Texas became Texas. Tour th county exploring historical sites, quaint communities, good eateries, wineries, and museums.
Any time of the year is a great time to visit Brenham and Washington County – really! The most popular time is in March and April for antique shopping and Bluebonnet photo ops.
Washington on the Brazos is THE historic site where Texas declared its independence from Mexico in 1836. Just 20 minutes from Brenham, you’ll learn all there is to know about Texas history at the Star of the Republic Museum. You can also explore what life was like in the 1800’s at Barrington Living History Farm. There are two geocaches on the GeoTour here, plus three state park caches!
Visitors can earn points while geocaching, eating, sleeping, and shopping around Washington County. Those who collect more than 25 points will earn a collectible two-sided, colorful geocoin!
“We greatly enjoyed touring around Washington County, picking up caches one by one and learning new stuff about Texas history at the same time.” –Dhaulaghiri
“That was fun… This was our first geotour and we were happy that y’all cared for these caches so much. Thanks for putting out this series. The favorite point that we give this one counts for the entire trail.” –Ground Beef
“Omg omg omg I cannot tell you how much I love this!!!! Been wanting to come for decades. Now (I have an) excuse to do it!” –browningfamily
Brenham will be the host city for Texas Challenge, a geocaching Mega-Event in March 2016!
Note: All the above information was provided by the GeoTour host. Copy has been edited by Geocaching HQ.
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