Editor’s note: Groundspeak Lackeys traveled thousands of miles from H.Q. this year to share smiles, shake hands and make geocaching memories at more than a dozen Mega-Events worldwide. Nicole Bliss, a.k.a. Louie Bliss, attended Mega-Event Catalunya 2011 in Calella, Spain. Nicole has been a Lackey helping geocachers in customer service since 2010. This is Nicole’s account of the Mega-Event.
Oh Mega, My Mega! Catalunya 2011
I recently attended Mega-Event Catalunya 2011 in Calella, Spain and represented Groundspeak. It may have been my fifth Mega-Event, but it was my first international event. I was surprised at how Mega-Events can be so similar 5,000 miles away from each other. There were still the same activities: discovering Trackables, shopping for merchandise, dinner events and, of course, lots of caching. I even attended my first flash mob – one of the best parts of the event! Yet, international events can be so different; everyone speaks different languages and cache descriptions are all in the local language. The difficulty rating goes up at least a star for foreigners. It helps that many geocaching phrases are universal.
With an international event, it was amazing how many countries were represented. I met cachers from Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Czech Republic, Portugal, UK, Canada, France, Netherlands and Spain. I was the only American. I spent so much time with a group of French cachers that at one point, I felt like I was in France instead of Spain.
I learned a lot about what to plan for when attending a Mega-Event. If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, listen up! Here’s 7 tips for attending a Mega-Event –
- Check to see if there are any additional events nearby. Plan to arrive a day or two beforehand to attend these events and find nearby caches.
- Plan your routes ahead of time. If you are a Premium Member, you can sort by Favorite Points so you’ll know which are considered the best local caches. The event organizers may even publish a new GeoTrail for the event so it is a good idea to run a Pocket Query on the day of the event.
- Check the event forums to see who else is going. It is much more fun when you meet new people or go in a group. I cached with a few different groups and had a great time.
- Are you attending an international Mega-Event like I did? I suggest learning the major phrases of that language. It can still be overwhelming, but it is much easier and the locals appreciate it. I was surprised that Barcelona and Calella, Spain primarily spoke Catalan and my Spanish was almost useless.
- Make time to see the tourist sites. There’s a Mega-Event there for a reason! Of course, you can cache along the way.
- Considering organizing a Mega-Event? Check out the Knowledge Books article on Mega-Event Classification.
- After the event, log your Trackables quickly! Too often, Travel Bugs have gone missing from events because they are forgotten.
In the end, I realized geocaching is a language all its own. No matter what our native language is, we can understand each other perfectly.
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