Introducing Andrew Howard aka RoamingHowie

Geocaching Victoria is very excited to announce that we have a new committee member – Andrew Howard aka RoamingHowie!! For those of you that know him, I am sure that you will agree that his smile and laughter is infectious and he will make an awesome addition to the team.

With over 7000 finds to his name, he has worked hard to tick many challenges off his list and is known to go on crazy adventures all in the name of caching. He has travelled a large part of Australia and even collected a cache in America. But it’s not his caching stat’s alone that make Andrew a great person, its his genourisity, his compassion for others and willingness to make a difference.

Recently I had a chat to Andrew to get a little more information about who this ‘RoamingHowie’ is and to understand what makes him tick. We hope you enjoy this chat.

1. Share with us when you started Geocaching and what got you into this crazy hobby we love?

I actually started Geocaching in 2011, however with only 14 finds in my first 8 years it didn’t stick. That was more about my career and other things than the game itself. Fast forward to Easter 2019 and I had turned my priorities on their head and life had changed for the better. I was away camping with a group of Friends in Mildura and one of them randomly found a Tupperware container in a tree stump we were walking past. I think that’s a geocache! I downloaded the app and started to explain the basics that I knew. We found a couple of other local caches, which happened to be quite good gadget caches. We then discovered a night cache which we tried that evening. We didn’t find it as I recall us trying to manually convert coordinate formats and coming up with all sorts of incorrect answers. (There is an app for that!) The next night we worked it out and were so excited that a group of us spent the whole next day finding caches. The bug had bitten, and bitten hard. Over the coming weeks I started looking more into it. Oh there is this thing called GeoArt, and there are puzzles, and there are challenges, and what is a MEGA, and…. the rest is history!

2. How do you like to play the game? Are you a numbers person, do you chase challenges, do you love the adventures or have your own approach to caching?

I’m all of these at the same time, and then none of them at other times. I love adventures no matter where we are. It was adventuring that had me rediscover geocaching after all. I love puzzles and challenges, sometimes to the point of obsession, planning weekends away with the sole purpose of being near a dead premier or new LGA, but still exploring while there. I prefer quality over quantity, however sometimes quantity is required to achieve a challenge (or am I just being obsessive and wanting to qualify NOW!). I struggle to just drive past a cache if I don’t have to…. How about just one more. Being an accountant (don’t hold that against me), numbers and stats are certainly my thing, but it’s more about the challenge and the goals than just adding to the tally.

3. What is the craziest thing you have done in the name of caching?

There are all sorts of crazy things I would never have thought I would be doing before caching. I never thought I would be walking through underground drains or climbing ridiculously high trees (for someone with a semi fear of heights – yep at 2m tall go figure!). I didn’t have a habit of tearing shorts before geocaching (multiple pairs and counting). One particular pair whilst sliding down a very steep hill whilst dragon hunting, only to standup when I finally managed to stop myself, and feel the cool breeze on my bare ass having just torn my shorts, jocks and half the skin off my rear end! (day1976 you have so much to answer for!).

I had never aimlessly followed a GPS arrow walking through thick bush with not a track to be seen, or wandered through thick 3m high reeds at night, only able to hear the general direction of your caching partners – marco/polo style. Not to mention the countless number of cemeteries I’ve visiting by moonlight – I mean who does that but for caching! The exciting thing is, what’s next?

4. What is currently on your Geocaching Bucket-list?

I would like to visit SA to complete a caching trip I was involved in planning that was shelved due to Covid. Who am I kidding, I want to tour all around Australia as I wasn’t caching when I visited so many of them! I’m still yet to complete my first D/T loop (D4/T4.5 I’m coming for you!!!!) and I have 4 more spots to fill on my AUSMER grid so they are definitely eating away at me. The evil Signal keeps dancing on my left shoulder reminding me all the time, while the good Signal calmly sits on my right shoulder telling me good things come to those that wait!

I’m also looking forward to diving into the world of GVI and helping the team on the amazing work they have been doing with all the exciting things ahead of us. Shhh stop talking…. You’ve said too much already. Rookie!

5. What is the most remote or unusual place you have collected a Geocache?

Whilst I managed to collect one solitary cache in New York during a work trip (oh how that has paid itself back many times over when it comes to challenge caches!), the most remote was probably Lamberts Centre at the geographical centre of Australia. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. Only a short 1km walk away from the “campsite”, I set off over the undulating dunes and found the cache. Turning around to head back to camp I soon discovered there was nothing but emptiness for miles around. Not a single vehicle, campsite, person or animal to be seen. There was barely even a plant. My own footprints had even disappeared. This is how people get lost in the desert! Lucky I had a GPS to find my way back!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s