A few years back, my wife came home from a visit with a friend more excited than I had seen her in quite some time. She insisted she had discovered something “amazing” for us to do together that was “going to be a blast”.

photo by sugarskull7

Lisa’s friend Monica told her about the hobby of Letterboxing. Monica herself had gotten pulled-in as a result of spending too much time with an art teacher friend. She evangelized us, sharing her cute, little pastime with my wife and we’ve been hooked ever since.

Letterboxing came to us at a time when we were trying to learn to live with more frugal finances. I remember making a list of free things to do for fun so we could share our passion for quality time without having to spend too much money.  Letterboxing fit the bill.

But what is this so-called Letterboxing?

Well, it’s sorta like geocaching but different. Letterboxing is a neat mixture of low-tech treasure hunting, stamp collecting, and art creation. Participants seek out hidden boxes that contain rubber stamps (usually hand-carved) and a logbook. Letterboxers carry their own stamp with them as their personal identification card.  They use their stamp to “sign-in” to the logbook found in the letterbox and then make a print of the rubber stamp they found in their own logbook that they carry with them. There are some great websites that share more more about the history of Letterboxing and clues to get the journey started.

I consider my wife and I to be casual Letterboxers. We have never been to a Letter boxing convention, meet-up, or stamp-swap. We just spend a few weekends  every summer going on little hikes in search of new inkblot souvenirs. It gets us outside, moving around, it provides a little adventure, and its a lot of fun.

Like any adventure, you come up against the unknown and unexpected. Sometimes you begin a journey with a certain destination in mind and end up somewhere other than where you thought you’d be. Sometimes you get to the destination and you don’t find what you are looking for. Maybe the treasure has been taken by someone else or maybe it’s hidden so well that you don’t feel like taking the time to find what you are looking for. Other times you find exactly what you were looking for and walk away pleased — but don’t take your find for granted, you can’t count on every experience being the same. There is excitement and disappointment around every turn. But that’s what makes it real. I have found that the journey is the best part. It’s not about what you find at the end as much as enjoying the beauty that is all around you at any given moment. That thing that lies ahead keeps us on the journey. Knowing that something worthwhile is out there makes the journey worthwhile through all of the twists and turns. Life-with-God is sorta like that…

but what was I talking about? Oh yeah, Letterboxing is pretty neat.

  1. I have another friend who just letterboxed up in Traverse City. Looks like fun – but we don’t have a GPS. 🙂 Maybe some time we’ll catch up and join in on the fun

  2. Barb, you don’t have to have a GPS for Letterboxing! That is why I love it! It gives you a starting location and then clues to follow that are sometimes simple, sometimes puzzles…Very fun for kids too, I imagine…Check out http://www.letterboxing.org or http://www.atlasquest.com to see if there are any close to you!

  3. LOVE letterboxing! I’m a pretty casual letterboxer as well, in fact it’s been quite some time since I’ve hunted one, but I love it. 🙂

    • Kim,

      Thanks for checking out the blog. I hope you don’t mind that I nabbed your image from Flickr. I just went to your Etsy store and…WOW! Your work is fantastic! I just carved my first stamp last week and now I’m a little embarrassed after seeing some of yours.

      Again, thanks for stopping by! Keep up the good work!

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