Catching up with the creator of Geocaching While Black—interview with Marcellus Cadd

We’ve enjoyed collaborating with Marcellus Cadd (atreides) for a few years now, and we love hearing about his adventures and geocaching plans. Since we’ve interviewed Marcellus twice before, we thought we’d mix things up this time and really get to know what makes Marcellus, Marcellus! Read along to see what projects he’s working on, his favorite pastime, go-to road trip music, and more!

What have you been up to since our last chat?

Well, I recently started my sixth year of caching. I finished all the counties in Washington and dipped my toe into Oregon and Idaho. Geocaching While Black reached its 1,000th entry talking about my visit to Headquarters. Oh yeah, there was also GeoWoodstock in Abbotsford and, more importantly, the Geocaching 20th (+2) Anniversary Celebration in Seattle! I also finished writing a book about my early travels around Texas. Add in a couple of Megas, and it’s been an eventful year, considering that I’ve stayed in Austin. And, most important of all, my older daughter took the plunge and is now an official geocacher!

Marcellus’ youngest daughter retrieves a magnetic geocache container from a lamp post.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Spare time? I feel like I’m always writing in my spare time! I also know that’s not always true. When I’m not caching or writing about caching, the odds are good that I’ll either be catching up on movies I haven’t seen (ask me about my top ten sometime) or indulging my other non-geocaching joy, baking apple pies. I intentionally bake three times during the year (Pi Day, Tau Day, and Thanksgiving), but a wild pie can appear at random times.

If you were a geocache type, what would you be and why?

I would have to be a Mystery Cache. I am a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma smothered in secret sauce…

A bison tube hidden in the mouth of a green toy is held in front of a cache container disguised as a birdhouse attached to a tree.

How do you choose what geocache you want to find when visiting a new place?

Often, when picking up new counties, I’m happy to get the easiest cache I can find, whether it’s a park-and-grab at a rest stop or something close to the county courthouse. Favorite points help as well, but sometimes highly Favorited caches are inconvenient. I started using Atlas Obscura to find interesting places to visit on the road and noticed that interesting locations and caches tend to go hand in hand. You also have to be open to inspiration as well. There’ve been a lot of counties where I saw a sign pointing to an attraction and was led to a cache. Have an idea but be prepared to play it by ear!

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you like to visit first?

Before the beginning of July 2023, I would have said Niger in hopes of being second-to-find on L’Arbre du Ténéré (GCTPKA), but that honor has, unfortunately for me, been claimed by another. I’m also interested in several caches in Türkiye, especially Earthquakes in Istanbul (GC2NNB9). But if I have to pick one place, the answer to the question is London. I’ve been there twice, and it’s my favorite city that isn’t Austin, so I think a week-long layover on the way to Istanbul would be pretty great! The EarthCaches alone would be worth it! I’d also have to get the Virtual at the Greenwich Observatory (GCK7HH), and there’s also an entire series of Mystery Caches devoted to a painting series called A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth. And there are a few other caches in town as well. I would probably grab a couple more while I was there.

East Austin’s Rhapsody mural.

Do you have a go-to geocaching playlist or podcast while on the road?

When I’m on the road, I tend to pick an artist I like and go through their entire discography from beginning to end. The drive from Austin to Memphis is almost the same length as all of Leonard Cohen’s fourteen studio albums. Eighteen (non-kid) albums from They Might Be Giants cover a lot of time going from county to county. I’ve also had a lot of drives home where I dropped in on Geocache Talk’s live show if I have enough connectivity. There’s no problem on highways, but you can’t be entirely sure of reception on state and county roads.

Do you have any hidden talents that people don’t know about yet? If so, what are they?

I love karaoke, but I don’t know how much of a secret that is! I’ve got no qualms about going to a standard karaoke night, but I especially enjoy punk and indie rock karaoke. I’ll never turn down a chance to sing some Elliott Smith, Mclusky, or The Decemberists!

Marcellus geocaching with friends.

What Events are you planning on attending/attended this year?

Right now, I have two Events on the horizon, both regional. The first is one I’m planning myself, the TXGA’s annual Lone Star Roundup (GCA68VQ). Like Texas Challenge, it moves around the state each year, and this year it’s in Austin. It will be quite unlike any other Event because there will be an annular sun eclipse on the same day!

The second Event is going to be in East Texas in October. TXGA’s East Texas Rep and others are hosting a wheelchair-based Texas Challenge-type Event for disabled cachers (not all the details are worked out yet but keep your eyes on GCAB044). Caching is for everyone, but just saying that is not always enough. You have to be active about inclusivity, so I’m really looking forward to attending and lending my support however I can.

I think a lot of cachers look forward to Mega-Events like Going Caching (GCA4A3J) or Yuma Mega (GC9X7TN), or MOGA (GC9RXK9), and rightly so! Still, you can make some significant memories and a big difference in your own backyard with a bit of imagination and the desire to do something different.

Did you accomplish any goals or major milestones this year?

In June, my daily streak reached five years. That was nice, but I’m also sitting on the cusp of a few others. Geocaching While Black is about to celebrate its fifth anniversary. If you had told me at the beginning that I’d be writing it for that long, I probably would have laughed at the thought. Yet here it is. I’m about to hit 7,000 caches in the next couple of months. Finally, assuming nothing cataclysmic happens in my personal life, some friends and I will take a week-long caching trip to the Northeast. We’ll start in Baltimore and end in Boston. I should return with thirteen new states (four of which should be completed) and a new province, ten states’ oldest caches, a few Webcam Caches, many EarthCaches, and ninety new counties and county equivalents. Tack on the dozen or so challenges I should complete on this trip, which should all add up to one heck of an accomplishment!

Geocaching in the neighborhood.

What is your 2023 motto?

Considering all the planning and preparations I’ve been making while sitting at home, it would have to be “An object at rest cannot be stopped!”

If you could go geocaching with anyone from history or current day, who would you want to be in your geocaching crew?

I have a list of folks I enjoy caching with. Still, if I could choose anyone from history, I’d love to go find some deep wilderness caches with a weird bunch of dudes: Bass Reeves (legendary deputy US marshal on whom the Lone Ranger was reputedly based), John Muir (mountain man and cofounder of the Sierra Club), Teddy Roosevelt (former US president and conservation advocate), and Simon Bolivar (renowned liberator of South America, but also known for his riding endurance). I would love to go on a horseback odyssey with these men, finding caches in wild and barely touched places. Of course, I would first have to learn to ride a horse. But it’s a wonderful fantasy, no?

Geocaching Event with the community.

What part of geocaching could you not live without?

I don’t know that I could choose one answer to that question, and if I did, that answer would change with my mood or situation. When I’ve been happy, it’s given me a sweet bit of accomplishment. When I’ve been depressed, it’s given me a reason to get out of bed. When I’ve been in the routine of mere existence, it’s given me something different from the banality of daily life. It’s given me a reason to create (I don’t write this much on my own!). It’s given me a reason to advocate for other cachers. It’s given me a reason to travel. It’s given me a reason to meet new people and congregate. It gives me a reason to plan and think about the future and, at the risk of sounding maudlin, to hope.

Geocaching has done many things in my life, and I can’t reduce its benefits to just one. Truthfully, I know I could live without it. I did it before it existed and before I started doing it. But with everything it does and has done for me, I really, really wouldn’t want to live without it.

Mackenzie is a Senior Community Manager at Geocaching HQ. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest she loves finding new geocaches and exploring the area. You will typically find her out on the coast discovering new lighthouses.