So, you'll look this over and then begin to think, "Sure looks Portuguese to me," and, by golly you're right.
'Tis this month's edition of a Portuguese geocaching magazine featuring a cover story about our daughter Annie Love of Sandpoint, Idaho, and Seattle, Wash.
Annie contributes her own articles to the publication.
You're probably also thinking Marianne sure must be proud of this.
You're right on that count too. We're all very proud for and of Annie, who lives life to the fullest degree. And, since we can't all quite keep up with her lightning-fast pace, we simply live vicariously through most of her adventures.
Occasionally, we get to share in her fun.
Well, this piece in the October edition of Geo Mag https://www.facebook.com/geomagpt, thoughtfully written by Bruno Gomes, a geocacher Annie met on one of her work trips to Portugal. I told Annie to tell him that her mom was very impressed with his questioning---from one journalist to another.
This extensive Q and A offers a tremendous insight into what makes our daughter tick.
We've been keeping fairly quiet about this article, even though we've known about it for a while, but this past week, it came online for all the world to see.
And, since Annie sent me the English version via email, I thought, as a proud mama, that I'd share it with you on this weekend morning. You'll find it below the page layouts.
I hope you find it as inspiring as I did. Enjoy, and Happy Saturday.
First of all, thank you for accepting the geomag interview! A friendly and well know face for many Portuguese Geocacher, you have what geocachers consider a dream Job! How the Geocaching entered in your life?
Back in early 2007, my Dad told me about the game of geocaching. On my University graduation day in Southern Idaho, I asked him to take our family geocaching. We visited some really cool sand dunes and found the geocaches hidden nearby. It wasn't until later that year when I moved to Seattle and started hiking in the woods by myself a lot, that I asked my dad to get me a GPS so I wouldn't get lost. I also figured that if I had a GPS, I might as well combine my love for the outdoors and hiking with geocaching. I've been enjoying my adventures with the game ever since!
And the life gave you the opportunity to work in something that you love to do in your free time! How did the opportunity to work at Groundspeak came up?
I always joke that I “begged” for my job at Groundspeak. In 2006, was looking for a career change from the hotel industry and was sending out resumes to different places. The moment I realized that Geocaching HQ was in Seattle, I wanted to work there. I didn’t see any job listings that I was qualified for but I decided to send in my resume and cover letter anyway. I didn’t hear anything. Then about six months later I resent the resume and cover letter saying “I’m still interested!” and heard back from Bryan Roth (one of the Founders) that day. He said he didn’t have a job for me but asked if I wanted to come in for an interview. I thought that was strange, but scheduled the interview anyway. By the time of the interview Bryan had put together a job description based off where the growing company needed help. Within the next day or so I accepted a position at a company that has changed my life for the better over the past ten years!
And now you have a Manager position at Geocaching HQ. What does a Partner Programs Manager do?
Yes, I’m now the Partner Programs Manager at Geocaching HQ. Basically I wear many hats as my job has evolved with working on different projects over the years. I manage our tracking codes program – so every trackable design or tracking code goes through me. I also work with all of our retail distribution partners around the world for Shop Geocaching merchandise. I work with our logo license and API partners as well. Among other tasks, I take all the pictures of Shop Geocaching merchandise on our shop website and create the banner ads for that merchandise you see on Geocaching.com. On the fun side of things, I’m a founding member of our office Keg Squad (the group that makes sure we have beer on tap at HQ) and our staff Lackey Council (we plan fun parties, health awareness programs, geocaching contests, etc. for the office).
Let's talk about your work as a Lackey... One visible part of the Lackey job is to attend events around the world! Most of the portuguese geocachers know you from your two visits to our country. Beside Portugal, which countries you have had the privilege to meet?
I’ve been extremely fortunate to get to travel to some amazing places for my job at Geocaching HQ. I’ve attended Geocoinfest events all over the United States including places like Salt Lake City, Omaha and Minneapolis. In Europe aside from Portugal, I’ve attended Geocoinfest events in Germany, Czech Republic and I’ve attended another Mega-Event in France as well as two Giga-Events in Germany. Usually on my work trips, I try to add in some personal travel to geocache or meet up with geocaching friends and that’s taken me to places like Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Spain, Belgium, etc. Not only do I love travel, but I absolutely love getting to connect with our community in Europe. I’m not saying this because of this interview, but Portugal and the Portuguese community is one of my favorites.
I was just talking about this with Carly who attended the Love Love …Braga event. When you visit Portugal, the people there are so immediately welcoming. The moment you say hello they have a big smile on their face and are excited help you or get to know you. They’re genuinely proud of their country and for good reason. Portugal’s beauty is stunning. From the rocky cliffs of the ocean to the magical forests around Sintra, it’s unreal how beautiful the country is. Geocachers there are adventurous and don’t blink an eye at going for a 14km hike to find a bunch of geocaches – even if it’s in the middle of the night! I find that very inspiring.
Thank you for your kind words about our country. It's incredible to think how a small country like Portugal can have so much different landscapes. Here you can find beautiful beaches, breathtaking cliffs, wonderful forests, and so much different cities, full of History and each one with a different type of arquitecture. After two visits to this little piece of paradise by the sea, there were some places that got a special place at your memories, no?
Yes, definitely. Sintra is a magical place – like stepping into a fairy tale world. I’ve visited there twice, discovering new surprises around different corners each time. On my last visit I got to tour the Quinta da Regaleira and it was AMAZING! A little bit creepy and very cool at the same time. I’ve loved touring the streets of Lisbon with my geocaching friends. That is definitely a city I could feel at home in. One visit I spent a couple days enjoying the beaches and geocaches of the Algarve and I’d go back there in a heartbeat. I’m hoping to someday visit Porto and hopefully walk the Camino de Santiago via the Portuguese route. It’s also my dream to someday visit the Azores and Madeira. So I will be back!
And you're welcome anytime! I don't mind to go along in any of that trips! I know that in one of your visits to Lisbon you went to Sporting's stadium! Soccer is one of your other passions, isn't it?
Yes! Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved to play and watch soccer. I haven’t followed that many international teams, but ever since Seattle earned a spot in the MLS (Major League Soccer), I’ve been a season ticket holder. Our first season, on our first game in the MLS this young Colombian named Fredy Montero scored two goals and assisted on the third for a 3-0 win. I was a bit sad when he left us a few years later – but not too sad since he ended up playing for Sporting CP in Lisbon. Having the connection to Portugal, I knew I’d easily be able to follow his career. I was hoping my last trip to Portugal would be during the Sporting CP season, but unfortunately it wasn’t. At least I ended up getting a shirt with his picture on it! A few weeks later, I did get to see Fredy again in Seattle – and yes, I was wearing that shirt.
You say that you played soccer! What was your position? Did we get a fantastic Lackey at Geocaching HQ but the world lost a soccer star?
I do play soccer and I love it! I haven’t been on a team with a coach since I was really little, so I never really learned to be a good soccer player. But right now I play on two Seattle city league teams. Just playing for fun twice a week with fun groups of people. One team I play striker and the other I play center defense. I was happy in my match last night, I ended up with an assist for one of my team’s goals. I don’t think I ever would have made the Olympic national team, but I do love those 90 minutes out on the pitch! I’m good with where my life brought me. I couldn’t have asked for a better fit career wise.
How! That positions couldn't be more different! But knowing you, we can say that in your personal and profissional life, you don't turn your back on a challenge...
No I don’t. I love new challenges. I’m a dreamer and an adventurer so that combination keeps me pretty busy. Before I’ve started my next adventure, I’m already trying to think of what’s next after that.
Talking about adventures: You already did the Camino of Santiago, climb the Mt Fuji in Japan, travel along the ET highway in Las Vegas, among others...From all your adventures, what was the ones that you consider most special?
Definitely the Camino de Santiago. It’s been on my bucket list for several years now. A lot of research, preparation and saving money went into making it happen. Walking the 500 miles across Spain was not only a physical challenge, but it was a chance for me to really be the person I want to be. It was a journey that has forever changed me. Opening my mind and my heart to new possibilities, new people and, of course, more adventures.
You say that was a journey that forever changed you! Can you tell us a little more about how does it changed you?
I think it was the experience with spending time with people from all over the world that changed me. Sure I went there alone and thought that I’d be walking alone for much of it, but I was never really alone. I still had the time to think about my life and what I wanted out of the journey, but I was regularly surrounded by some incredible people. Most people on the Camino come there with an open mind to others. They tell you real stories about themselves and you feel comfortable to do the same in return. I learned not to judge people so much by first impressions and learned to be more open and honest about who I am and who I want to be.
So, most of all, the Camino was a selfdiscovery journey! It's interesting to see that for someone who loves to hike a lot, and I think you must hike alone many times, It's necessary to cross the ocean and meet so many different people to do the most introspective journey of your life!
Yeah, I’m an explorer by nature. I’m always looking for the next adventure, even if it’s just a daytrip out of the city to find some caches or go for a hike. I think you can learn a lot by traveling outside your comfort zone and seeing different cultures though. Every place I’ve visited has helped me become who I am today.
You said that the Caminho teached you to be more open and honest about who you are and who you want to be. So, taking advantage of this opportunity, there's something I have to ask: Who are you and who you want to be?Mostly I’m the same as I was before – always looking for adventure, staying busy doing fun things, surrounding myself by great people. But one thing that may be a little surprising about me, is that I can be shy around new people. Not so much in the geocaching world because I feel like there’s already a connection with the love of the game – but more so when I’m meeting people outside of work related environments. I’ve always wanted to be the outgoing person that I am when I go to geocaching events and I think the Camino helped me to be more of that person.
There’s also the lesson of not judging a book by its cover. Sure, it’s a lesson I continue to learn over and over in life, but the Camino really reminded how important it is not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions too quickly.
We already talk about geo, soccer, hiking... We have to talk about another of your loves: photography! How does the photography came into your live?
I’ve loved taking pictures ever since I was really little. It runs in the family actually. My mom had a darkroom in our house when I was growing up and always took amazing black and white photographs. In school, I took a photography class from my aunt. Later my mom gave me my first DSLR camera and I was really hooked. Early on in my days at Geocaching HQ, Bryan asked me if I’d like to take pictures of the new Shop Geocaching merchandise. Ever since then I’ve been the main photographer for all merchandise photos and any Shop Geocaching banner ads. Though my love is nature and wildlife photography, I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve learned through taking pictures of Geocoins, t-shirts, etc. I love looking at the world through a camera lens. You end up seeing things the little things that you might miss when looking at the bigger picture outside your camera.
That reminds me a quote from Dorothea Lange "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera"... Talking about famous photographers, do you feel inspired by the work of someone in special?
I love that quote – I haven’t heard that before. But it’s very true. From a young age, I knew of Ansel Adams work and loved how he captured nature. His images always made me want to explore new places and that’s what I’d like my work to do for others – inspire them to go outside and see what I saw. I’ve also been inspired by photographers like my mother and my aunt and sometimes just friends on Facebook/Instagram who capture places that are special to them. Often my geocaching friends from Portugal post pictures of amazing places in Portugal and those photos inspire me.
You would say that you do some Geocaching when you go out to know nele placea and photograph or you photograph when you go Geocaching?
Definitely both. Geocaching takes me to amazing places, so it’s natural to want to take my camera there. And as long as I have data, I usually search for geocaches when I’m exploring new spots. With smart phones having better cameras now, it’s easy to capture some fun photos even if I don’t have my nicer camera along. I’m pretty much always looking for that next cool photo.
Talking about photos... One of your common photos, beside the nature ones, is you facing the camera with a big smile and a thumb up... It' like a brand image... What that sign real means? And how you came up with that?
It has become my signature look in pictures – that or holding a Sounders scarf. :) About five years ago in the office one day, one of my coworkers noticed that I tended to give the ‘thumbs up’ (a general sign of approval for most of the world) in many of my pictures. He suggested that it was “my thing” and so I just kind of ran with it and now try to give a thumbs up in many of my pictures. To me, it shows that I’m happy and/or enjoying the moment I’m trying to share in the photo.
Like I said before, I think any Geocacher would love to work at Geocaching HQ, dealing with something that usually do for fun. But like any job, there must be some things that you enjoy most to do that others.What would you consider the best and the worst part of your job?
Even a “bad day” at Geocaching HQ is still a good day in my book. It’s hard not to love every aspect of working at HQ. My favorite part of the job is having opportunities to travel to geocaching events and meet geocachers from around the world. At these events you’re reminded over and over why you head to the office every day. You get to see first hand the positive benefits this game has on people and that’s incredibly inspiring. Since I love variety in my job, I guess the least exciting days are when I’m mostly just sitting at my desk answering emails. But most days I have a lot of variety in what I do, from meeting with coworkers about projects, taking pictures of new products, etc.
Let's talk now with Love, the Geocacher!Looking at your profile, we can count more than 5000 founds around the world! In that number of founds, certanly there are caches that were more special! Which caches would you elect for your top 5?
Wow that’s a good question as I have had so many great experiences. Definitely number one is the EarthCache on top of Mt. Rainier (GCPZBX). I trained for six months and got in the best shape of my life so make the technical climb up the mountain just to find that EarthCache. As for the other top five, it might be the following (in no particular order):
GC2MDQ7 – This is an EarthCache on a sandbar off the coast of Hawaii. I organized an event cache on the sandbar with my Hawaiian geocaching friends in order to find my 1000th geocache find. Beautiful location and a great memory.
GC2ZK7J – A few years ago I found this one along with 2399 other geocaches to complete ET Highway with a few geocaching friends (including Moun10Bike). It took us 4 days to find all the geocaches – such an amazing journey through the middle of nowhere in Nevada!
GCZ8ZQ – This one is special to me because it’s one that I found with my Dad. We set out to climb Mt. St. Helen’s together several years ago and the day before we visited these amazing lava tubes. The walk through the lava tube is scary and really cool at the same time!
GCJ39P – Another highest point geocache for me. I set out by myself to climb to the highest point in Ireland. I was really proud of myself for going up the very steep “Devil’s Ladder” section by myself. There was a moment I wanted to give up because it seemed dangerous but some other hikers passing by told me that I could do it….and then I did.
Looking for this top 5, it's interesting to see that 3 of the caches are Earthcaches! Is this your favorite cache type or is just a coincidence? In your opinion, what a cache have to have to become special?
I think it's partially coincidence. Traditionals are my favorite cache type - I like the journey to the cache more than figuring out how to find it, etc. However, EarthCaches tend to take me to some pretty amazing places on our planet. I feel like EarthCaches, even if I don't log a find on the cache, I've "won" at the game because I've discovered an amazing new place. As far as what makes a cache special, I think it's usually a combination between the interesting location it takes me to and the cleverness of the hide.
You say you like the journey more than figuring out how to find it... I have to ask you, you never had the temptation to cheat a little bit and discover the location of a final waypoint using your privileged access to the site Geocaching.com?
I actually so rarely look for multis and mystery caches that I wouldn't need to peek at the final. Those types of geocaches are great, but traditionals, EarthCaches and events are more what I search for. I'm terrible at solving puzzles, so I usually have to rely on group efforts for caches like that anyway! It's nice knowing I have admin access but I believe there's something a lot better about doing the work yourself or with your caching friends to find a geocache. It's so much more rewarding.
Eheh, I was just teasing you! Looking again at your profile, we can find also an owner side, where you are responsible for 20 caches. How do you define yourself as owner?
I really only have about five active geocaches (and a couple I need to get out and maintain this weekend). Most of the cache listings I’ve owned are events. I’ve hosted events around the Seattle area, in Oregon, in Hawaii and even over in Ireland. As for the physical geocaches I own, I’ve tried to place them in areas that are beautiful to visit. One in my hometown, that my dad helps me maintain when I’m not visiting, is located next to a beautiful river. It’s a nice walk through the woods on a trail people may not know was there if it weren’t for the geocache. I try to place geocaches that I know I’d enjoy finding.
We know that for an owner, every caches that you own are special. But from all, there any with a even more special meaning?
Probably the geocache I placed with my Dad. He got me into geocaching to begin with, so it was fun to head out with him years later and go on a mini-power trail in North Idaho. One of the geocaches we stopped at was one he had placed and he said that the hiking trail it was on would be a good place for a second geocache. Luckily, I had a container with me and we picked out the location together.
One more history where we can see that for you Geocaching is very related with feelings, with relations... Is this vision of the Geocaching that make you have a special affection for the events?
Yeah, definitely. Before I worked at Geocaching HQ, I didn’t know geocaching events were a thing. I didn’t know groups of geocachers got together to go for hikes, etc. Once I started participating in that part of the game, a whole new world opened for me. I have friends all over the world because of those events. We all share this special connection so it’s easy to become instant friends and start making some great new memories together.
And It's fantastic how something that seems so simple (the act of hiding and/or finding a box) can join so many people around the globe. I think when you choose to share a secret place, a great spot that It's special to you or the lastest gadget that you built as a container of your new cache, you also share a bit of you. Don't you agree?
Yes, I definitely think the location you pick, and/or the effort you put into the creativity of the container reflects who you area. I'm not the most creative mind when it comes to building cache containers, so that's why I usually place simple geocaches in a location I think is interesting to share with others. I'm an explorer, and I like to help give others a chance to explore too.
Annie, it was a great talk! Keep up the good work and remember, you are always welcome to Portugal! We Will wait for your visit! There's anything you would like to say to portuguese geocachers?
I will be back, for sure! I love the Portuguese geocaching community and the country so much. I’d just ask that you all keep inspiring me every day with your pictures in this magazine, on Facebook, Instagram, etc.