Let’s talk about “geocaching burnout.” What causes it? How can you work through it and continue to enjoy this great activity you once loved so much?
First of all, what even is burnout and how does it happen? I’ve found there are two main time periods in someone’s caching career when burnout may be possible. Early on, maybe around the 50 finds mark, the cacher might think, “I tried the hobby, and it wasn’t for me.” For more experienced cachers who have been at it a while, the thought is more like, “something’s changed, and it’s not fun anymore.”
What causes someone to feel burned out and quit?
It could be personal reasons. They have time constraints and other activities and interests take priority. Maybe their family doesn’t “let” them stop for a cache. Perhaps they’re feeling uncomfortable while searching for caches. Or maybe they feel like finding a cache is a chore.
It could be due to the area in which they live. They get easily discouraged because the majority of the hides or puzzles are too difficult. There might be a lack of variety and high quality hides. Maybe they’ve “cached out” their area and now have to drive too far to find anything. Or perhaps the climate makes it difficult to find caches in the winter and they lose interest.
Or maybe it’s the local geocaching community contributing to their burnout. There are some regions with very few cachers and there’s not a community at all. Or maybe the community exists but is too clique-y and not welcoming to newer cachers. Or maybe your regular caching buddies have slowed down themselves, found a new significant other who doesn’t cache, or found other hobbies.
Geocaching is supposed to be fun. If you’re not having fun doing it anymore, then maybe you need to take a step back and wonder why you’re doing it at all. If you can work out why you’re not enjoying caching any more, you’re halfway to finding the solution (if you want to).
How can you avoid burnout?
Take a break! Moderation is key. Make it a marathon, not a sprint!
- Go to an event! Talking to other people about geocaching might help you get excited again. They may have some suggestions on great caches to find or places to go. I had no idea there even were events when I first started, and my first event really changed what geocaching meant to me.
- Or STOP going to events for a while! Stay out of the drama and politics. We all know that when you gather any number of people together, there will be differences of opinions and feelings will be hurt. Take a break from the large crowds, hang with your close buds, or find a new caching pal whose company you enjoy.
- Find a geocaching BFF! Someone to help solve puzzles, another set of eyes while searching, and camaraderie on the trails!
- Introduce a newbie to geocaching – this might get you excited again to see the hobby through their eyes.
- Host a geocaching 101 event.
- Change things up – try different cache types or solve those puzzles you’ve been avoiding.
- Focus on quality over quantity.
- Or maybe it’s time to focus on quantity over quality!
- Start hiding more than finding. Create the experiences you’d like to find yourself!
- Work towards a goal! Don’t set unreasonable, unrealistic, and/or unattainable goals. But do have one! Maybe it’s working on a challenge, clearing an area, filling a grid. Or maybe it’s to have the best “experience” by targeting high favorite points or go on a road trip with friends.
No matter what the reason for burnout is, the way to get through it and keep caching is to find your why! Remind yourself why you started geocaching to begin with and figure out why you want to continue.