Travel Bug Or Social Butterfly?


Categories: Facebook Geocaching Rules The Social Traveller TB Walker-Clan


… on July 29th to be precise. Have you?

Over the last six weeks, this virtual trackable has been rocketing from country to country via the information super-highway as part of a social experiment by British cachers Walker-Clan (no relation to Cumbyrocks or myself, whose surname is also Walker).

Since its launch on July 7th, TB40BWB has been discovered by 99 cachers in eight nations and nearly a dozen social networking sites, travelling some 119,000 kilometres (74,000 miles) in the process.

In case you haven’t guessed, this is no ordinary travel bug. Its presence in a cache is electronic, rather than physical, with its code being passed on by individual social networkers, who in turn upload the above image to their profile page.

The Social Traveller’s listing page says:

Pass the TB [code] onto one of your friends or if you have seen its profile picture, then ask that person who they passed it on to. You will have to grab the TB from whoever has it so please don’t just give the code out if you have it; let’s try to keep it moving and maybe you will find some new friends. When you have it, dip it into a cache near your home; once you have done that, post the following picture as your social networking profile image. Let’s see how many people can log the TB and see how far we can get it to virtually travel.”

Its owners, the Walkers of Warrington in northwest England, introduced their trackable to society on July 8th using the forums of a local geocaching group.

That initial message on Warrington Cachers read: “Right not sure this will work but hey, I got a TB from Pete’s cache as a FTF prize and have been wondering what to do with it. I wanted to do something different so I came up with this … TB40BWB The Social Traveller.”

Later, Andy Walker added: “Just something for fun, may just fall flat on its face but hey!” Yet within three days, the TB had visited eight cachers and logged 298km (185 miles).

My own introduction to the Social Traveller came courtesy of American Lucas Smith (GC handle: wifiducky), whom you will soon read more about on It’s Not About The Numbers.

He made the trackable’s aquaintance on photo blogging website Dailybooth, then profiled it on Facebook, where I befriended it. After dipping it into one of my own hides in Wellington, New Zealand, I introduced the concept to the members of our Facebook group.

Before you rush to our Comments section below, yes this is technically against Groundspeak’s rules. Such methodology may even result in the offending item being locked on

Obviously, the Walker family’s experiment won’t appeal to all members of the geo-community, but as I remarked during the brief uproar over Dutchman Willem Heeringa’s 10,000 Discoveries Geocoin, everybody plays the game differently, Groundspeak’s rules are a mass of contradictions and without the creative efforts of our fellow seekers, this hobby would soon get dull.

If you still disagree, then don’t log it – but if you want to help the Walkers achieve their goal, you’ll first have to track down the Social Traveller’s latest geo-pal.

At the very least, this TB deserves credit for strengthening international geocaching bonds. The family has even set up a Facebook group for participants to join after logging – which, to date, has 16 members. So in that respect, its virtual creation is proving to be a real social butterfly.



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