View Full Version : Overcoming Self Consciousness

04-22-2010, 02:34 PM
This has probably been answered before but I started Geocaching about this time last year and only found 3 caches before I got to the point where I would get out of my car, circle around a while and then chicken out because I was too nervous to go looking closer.

I am not a shy person by nature but recently I seem to get really self conscious snooping around town looking behind benches or fences etc. probably because I am the kind of person who notices when *other* people are acting "suspiciously". I am fine in the woods away from eyes but in town or along highways I seem to freeze up.

Has anyone else started out feeling like this and gotten over it? Maybe I am too paranoid about what others are thinking when they look at me?

04-22-2010, 03:28 PM
I don't think what you are feeling is unusual. Many of us do on different levels. For me, it is usually when I feel the cache may have been placed without those nearby knowing about it. It is always a good thing for these urban caches to state in the description that permission has been granted.

General passersby do not bother me as much. I make a quick assumption about anyone watching me and back off or go ahead and get the cache anyway depending on what I think.

I much prefer the thought that a fox or bear or deer is lurking in the woods watching me go by. Animals are much more predictable than humans!

04-22-2010, 03:34 PM
nope, people stare at me all the time... :rolleyes:

Heh, I recall one cache we were trying to find downtown portland, with lots of people around. We knew where the cache was but were having a hard time tryin to get it out of it's hiding spot without giving it away. So I did the most reasonable thing I could think of. I leaned over the gaurdrail and pretended I was throwing up, quite loudly. Nobody questioned a thing... and we got the cache without giving up it's spot. :D:D:D

Usually I'm out in the open with people if they come up to me and ask what I'm doing. Explain the whole caching thing. But in some cases there's a lot of people nearby and you can't explain to them all, most probably wouldn't care. But you don't want to give up the cache either. When I'm in a spot where I feel uncomfortable like that, I just move on, there's plenty other caches to be had. :D

04-22-2010, 03:39 PM
When looking under a bench, try tying your shoe or do push-ups!
If someone looks at you holding your GPSr, just put it up to your ear and pretend it's a phone, or you could pretend it's a camera! Pretend your taking a picture of the guy who's looking at you and he'll turn away!
Dress in camo and put camo grease paint on your face! No one will be able to spot you.
Ask dubord207. He has lots more ideas! Like telling people you are taking sizmonic readings of the earth....or something like that!

I hope my suggestions help!


04-22-2010, 03:59 PM
Most of the time , it seems to me , if you look like your supposed to be there and look like you know what your doing, most people dont think much of it. you could be a bolt inspector for the city they dont know.
Pretend your 007! maybe you will get miss moneypenny to sit on your kev it wont work for you!

04-22-2010, 04:28 PM
First of all, your feelings are not uncommon. People that know me know I'm not shy at all but when I first started caching I frequently felt self conscious.

Fast forward a couple thousand caches. I'm in downtown Lisbon at about noon. Ms. Toastmaster has hidden a nano under a bench in the middle of things. I drive by and there's a person sitting on the bench. No problem, I'll least for a couple of minutes. Nope, the guy starts reading a book! Sheesh!

Ok, time to get proactive. I walk over, tell the guy I think I lost a contact lense there earlier in the day, get on the ground, lying on my back, find the nano and now I have to sign the thing! So I get out my phone, hit speed dial to my office and start talking with one of my secretaries....and signing the log, rolling it up and replacing. The guy makes one comment...."Hey, you're a busy guy huh?" and away I go.

So that's the extreme but I've told people I was checking for reported radiation in the area, "taken" a lot of pictures and of course while in the country we men folk can act like we're on a nature call.

But seriously, you'll get more comfortable playing the game and there will come a time where you'll either be asked what you're up to or you'll see the need to explain it. I've explained it to a lot of folks, written down the website and even invited people to email if they're seriously interested in taking up the game. I agree fully with brdad that you'll will also face some situations where you have to wonder why somebody placed a cache in a spot that's way too close to a home or anything that offends your sense of respect for property owner's rights. In those situations, move along and maybe log a DNF indicating you were uncomfortable with the placement. Happens all the time.

Welcome to the game and happy caching to you!:)

04-22-2010, 04:51 PM
If I'm out looking for a cache near a trail and someone comes along I've often told people I'm a surveyor looking for a boundry marker. That has never failed. Keeps me from feeling conspicuous or "nervous" about being seen.

04-22-2010, 05:46 PM
I might take a slightly different approach to caching. I see it as an adventure. From the most hated, and should be banned nano's, to the 5 gallon pails on the side of the road. I approach each cache as a mission Each cache was hidden. That means it is a secret to all except a few special agents. The finding is to be done with having not to answer questions. If you are spotted you have failed miserably, compromising the entire endeavor. My approach is stealthily. Awareness of the surroundings is tantamount. Muggles must be dealt with in a subtle manor. City, busy caches are to be done in the dead of night, in the cool dark fog. No muggles, no worries. Scare the crap out of the cops and next time they see you they wont even slow down while going by.

Come to think of it I have only been confronted a couple of times by cops, but they know my vehicle and wanted into what ever action I was up to. I usually tell them a ghost story or ask them if they saw the aliens or Bigfoot. They give up real quick. Although I was accosted by the Holden Fire Chief today. I smacked him and before he could get up I was in my van and on my way.

I'd be happy to take you out on an expedition or two and I'm sure your anxiety will be much lessened. Like anything else, experience makes you tuffer. Really a couple days with me caching and nothing will ever bother you again.

04-22-2010, 05:47 PM
If someone looks at you holding your GPSr, just put it up to your ear and pretend it's a phone, or you could pretend it's a camera! Pretend your taking a picture of the guy who's looking at you and he'll turn away!

Sheesh! Goods ideas, but many times we've had people see us with our GPSr, and come up to us asking "are you geocachers"? That's when it gets good...

04-22-2010, 06:15 PM
Yes, I had someone ask me that in Bath a few weeks ago when we were looking around downtown," are you geocaching" and when he found out the answer was yes, he went to his car and got his GPS and wanted to know what the co-ords were. He was a seasoned cacher. Myself, if there are people lurking, and you could not remove the cache without people possibly investigating it after you leave, I generally come another time so that the hide won't be compromised. On Main Street Bath, that would be never or midnight:-) so you have to be stealthy. I did not feel self consious like you mentioned and hopefully you will get over that after a while and it may seem more fun!

04-22-2010, 07:28 PM
Sheesh! Goods ideas, but many times we've had people see us with our GPSr, and come up to us asking "are you geocachers"? That's when it gets good...

Today I was caching with my "geocaching" t-shirt on. When we finished we went to Camden. Every store I walked into asked me about caching and the shirt. I gave advice, showed off the Oregon, but didn't get a discount. Perhaps I should charge a fee...:D Back to topic. My wife and I team up. One of us tries to draw attention to ourselves while the other tries to find the cache. It's part of the fun. I did feel a little wierd going into a persons yard to find "The Relic" but past that, I think it's just part of the challange. Of course, I've always looked a little funny so I'm used to having people look at me. ;)

04-23-2010, 09:03 AM
I was once self conscious . . . but now I'm short, fat and balding so I've lost what little bit of self consciousness and self respect that I ever had in the first place. ;) :)

Actually . . . go caching with Hiram . . . you'll soon lose all of your self consciousness and inhibitions . . . and suddenly find yourself craving alcoholic beverages for whatever reason. ;) :) . . . Of course he also tends to attract cops . . . cops and ticks . . . so you soon learn to get over that self conscious feeling.

And then there was the Fitz Cache . . . :) . . . I would like to say that this cache helped me lose my self consciousness, but to tell the truth I was pretty oblivious about what was happening here . . . God loves idiots, right? :) ;)

OK, in all seriousness, at one time I was all about being the Stealthy Ninja Cacher -- and in fact my Ninja Name was Wo Tan Jang . . . I did all of the tricks . . . tying the shoelaces even though I was wearing boots with zippers, acting as though I was taking pictures with my GPSr . . . of a stop sign and pretending that I was using my GPSr as a cell phone . . . and was on the receiving end of one of those 1-900 phone calls.

But then I realized something . . . something I discovered in my "normal" work . . . if you act as if you belong somewhere and don't act all secretive, most folks will simply ignore you . . . they may give you a quick glance and wonder why you're lifting up all the lamp post skirts . . . or stopped beside that guardrail . . . or blindly thrashing through the woods and then crashing out on to the trail . . . but for the most part they ignore you . . . or may ask what you are doing . . . which is pretty much what Just PJ66 said.

I try not to lie . . . I was raised by Bible-thumping Baptists parents . . . although now ironically enough in my adult life I find that my own mother lies all the time, but that's a whole other story about how she lives in her own fantasy world and so perhaps those lies are reality to her . . . but as I said that's a whole other session on the counseling couch . . . what I'm trying to say is that if I'm asked by a person I look at it as an opportunity to explain geocaching and perhaps gain another convert to our cult of caching. No need to come up with some cockey-mainey ideas . . . although it might be fun just once to tell a person I'm a stalker and see what they do . . . probably mace me.

That said . . . if I'm ever in doubt I have been known to move on . . . I have no issue wading in to a place and letting folks know what I'm doing if they ask . . . but sometimes folks look sketchy to me . . . and in these cases I may pass on the cache. If I'm in doubt as to whether I should be some place I read through the description and/or logs hoping to find some guidance (i.e. "Don't worry about the no hunting signs, I have permission to place a cache here" or "There are some No Tresspassing signs, but that's for the neighbor's land . . . you will not be tresspassing" or "Don't worry . . . I know this cache is in the front yard, but the person here knows about the cache and actually likes watching cachers" or "Don't worry if you hear banjo music here and someone yelling, "Squeal like a pig. Squeal like a pig" . . . it's OK.")

If someone is right next to that bench, statue, etc. I may wait for them to move on, I may pass on the cache or I may just wade right in, explain what I'm doing and let them know that I'm about to search for a cache so they have the option of just sitting there and letting me get within 5 inches of feeling them up, they can move over for just a few minutes or they can join me if they are so inclined . . . I always hope they'll go for the first option . . . but they never go for that option . . . comes back to the whole being stalked by a short, fat, balding blind guy I suppose. :) ;)

04-23-2010, 10:22 AM
I remember one cache that was on a bench somewhere. Unfortunately some old man was sitting there, I asked him to go sit somewhere else, found the cache, put it back and walked away. :)

04-23-2010, 10:34 AM
This is the best technique for urban hides. You are simply invisible if dressed in that manner. I have my blaze orange vest and yellow hardhat, but I never seem to have them with me when I need them.

masterson of the universe
04-23-2010, 02:47 PM
It may generate worry and suspicion if I'm every actually spotted but I do find that in some of the caching I've done its fun to play ninja (or voyer depending on how you look at it i guess) and hide if someone comes into the area while in the woods. I was in the BCF one day out looking for the Hare Trail cache which can be seen from one of the main roads and remember ducking down in the bushes to hide from joggers and walkers. If you make a big noise, sometimes it makes the joggers take off sprinting.
While out doing the Dodge Point caches with my dad and son we tried this and got busted by a chocoalte lab with a really good nose. We found the cache down by the water and were sitting on big rock signing the log. Some people walked by with a collie and the three of us waited silently as they passed by. Being only about 20' off the trail, it was funny to watch my 4 year old son trying not to laugh as he was getting away with something. They passed and we heard voices in the distance. All of a sudden the lab came sprinting down the trail and came to a screaching hault right where we had left the trail. It looked around, sprinted back to the owner then came flying up the trail again and started barking where we were. The owner luckily knew what we were doing and we had a quick talk before moving on.

04-23-2010, 03:17 PM
I have my bright yellow/green safety jacket that I like to wear if there are people around. With the GPS and jacket people don't seem to really notice me. LOL

04-23-2010, 10:51 PM
We haven't heard from Emelano. Is any of this helping?

04-24-2010, 05:30 AM
After reading some of the ways some of us cache, she may have moved on to a new hobby.:)

QUOTE=Ekidokai;64777]We haven't heard from Emelano. Is any of this helping?[/QUOTE]

04-27-2010, 08:53 AM
I remember one cache that was on a bench somewhere. Unfortunately some old man was sitting there, I asked him to go sit somewhere else, found the cache, put it back and walked away. :)

Thank you CANO! I got a really big laugh out of your post!:) I can SOOO picture you saying that!:D
I enjoy your European sensibility.;)

05-16-2010, 04:05 PM
I am a shy person by nature, so this is right on topic for me! I have been at caching for 4 months, but more intensively for the last 6 weeks. I feel totally self concious, especially when "using stealth" as I don't really know what I am doing yet! That said, it has become much easier to not feel so self concious if I use 'props'. Thats where geo dog comes in handy! I find in the very rural areas, as a woman alone and caching near the road, a lot of nice people want to make sure that my car hasn't broken down. If I bring the geo dog, I can suddenly be 'obedience training' when I hear the cars coming! Or, I can lean on a guardrail and bob my head to the 'music' coming from my mp3 player (which is really my gps). Also, I ofter am wearing binoculars and/or a camera to bird watch while caching, so when the cars come by, gps goes in holster and binos are used (which is a good way to look for a distant cache too! In the city, its quite a bit harder for me, but it has definately improved with what little experience I have as my confidence goes up.

06-11-2010, 02:46 PM
Actually this does help knowing others overcome their phobias by actually being more "out there" than normal. Since I posted, I did a few more caches around Popham and Dodge Point. I feel quite comfy in the woods, on paths where people are "supposed to be"; it's the guardrail nanos and the city center LPCs etc which still get me very nervous.

I have actually set my pocketqueries to only give me larger-than-nano sized caches as most of the larger ones tend to be out of town.

Thanks for your responses, "she" (ahem) hasn't gone onto a new hobby just yet ;-)

06-12-2010, 12:09 AM
This is the best technique for urban hides. You are simply invisible if dressed in that manner. I have my blaze orange vest and yellow hardhat, but I never seem to have them with me when I need them.

That is a sight I would like to see.... have you any photos to share?

06-12-2010, 12:13 AM
I remember one cache that was on a bench somewhere. Unfortunately some old man was sitting there, I asked him to go sit somewhere else, found the cache, put it back and walked away. :)

Cano and I got accosted by some security people in Portland near the Expo looking for a nearby cache.... and all of a sudden, out come running a whole team of FEMALE FOOTBALL players running from the locker rooms to the nearby football field... how odd. Once they were gone, we quickly made the find....

I think though that most of us are overly self conscious.... we ASSUME that everyone around us is watching our every move. You wouldn't believe how many muggles DO watch me, and then walk away without caring. Then again, some do ask questions.... but really, the majority don't care.

If I am asked, I usually am bluntly honest. The worst that can happen is that they muggle the cache, which really doesn't happen much and the best that can happen is that they are intrigued and look into Geocaching, and start caching themselves! Most act interested and then promptly go back to what they were doing and forget about the whole thing....