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Geocaching, tennis, and community building—Interview with Arnokovic

Sometimes we start amazing journeys without realizing it until after the fact. That’s exactly what happened to Arnokovic, a community volunteer translator and prolific geocache hider hailing from the north of France, when he found his first cache with a coworker back in 2009.

Since then, he has found over 50,000 caches and has hidden 168 of his own, including GC5552H (Eiffel Power, France’s most-Favorited geocache of all time). We sat down with Arnokovic himself to discuss his experiences geocaching, what it’s like to serve as a volunteer translator, and the various ways in which geocaching has come to impact his life.

Image courtesy of unsplash.com.

Geocaching HQ: What’s your background outside of geocaching?

Arnokovic: I am 45 years old. I live in Paris, but I come from the north of France (near Lille), where I was born and raised. I studied international business and spent a year in Finland, which has stolen my heart. I enjoy traveling, discovering new countries and cultures, walking, and hiking. I’m also into photography and street art. I love spending time with my friends and sharing some fun moments. I have a passion for tennis and exercise as often as I can, including cross training.

HQ: How and when did you hear about geocaching?

Arnokovic: I first heard about geocaching at work back in 2009. A colleague of mine, Blinette, kept talking about it and once said, “You should come out with me some time, I’m sure you’d love it!” So that’s what I did one day during our lunch break. It was a Multi-Cache. We had a lot of fun and I was the one who actually found the cache. I didn’t have a Geocaching.com account at the time, so the logbook was signed by “Nono le moldu” (Nono the Muggle) A year later, Blinette decided to create an account for me, because I kept saying, “Yeahhh sure, I’ll do it,” but I never did! I had no idea that by creating an account for me, she started me down an incredible adventure that’s undoubtedly changed my life.

Image by Arnokovic.

HQ: What’s the story behind your username?

Arnokovic: My first name is Arnaud (pronounced, “Arno,” – you know how much we love letters that we don’t even pronounce in French). I was playing tennis all the time back in 2009, with frequent tournaments and trainings. One evening during a training session, my coach offhandedly said, “You’re on fire tonight, you’re playing like Djokovic (who is still the world’s number one tennis player, by the way)! I will call you Arnokovic.” Then he kept calling me that when I was on the court. Naturally, I chose that nickname when my colleague created an account for me. This was in September 2010–one year after my first find. I had actually found 9 caches since that first one, so I had a total of 10 when I finally got started on Geocaching.com.

HQ: What inspired you to become a community volunteer translator?

Arnokovic: I was actually contacted by the French-speaking geocaching volunteer community to see if I was interested in joining their group of volunteer translators. This was just after the GeoNord Mega-Event in northern France in July 2016. Everything was clearly explained to me–the type of translations, the frequency, how much time to dedicate, and the pros and cons. I didn’t hesitate much before agreeing! Once my joining of the group was approved, I was introduced to all the team members. I also began getting familiar with the translation tools and organization methods surrounding our tasks. A few days later, I was translating subtitles into French for GIFF 2016!

I can’t explain why, but I knew deep down that it was a good decision to become a volunteer translator. The community was extremely welcoming. I was proud to take up this work, although I actually kept it secret for a number of years! It also feels good knowing that, thanks to the time we put in, a whole community of non-English speakers is able to geocache, read news about the game, etc.

Image by Carlixx from GC5552H, Eiffel Power.

HQ: What’s the best approach to creating a geocache?

Arnokovic: First, you should ask yourself: why do I want to create a geocache here? Is there something nice to see? Something to discover? Something to learn? Is this a cool place for the final of my Mystery Cache? I think it’s important to really take your time creating a geocache, making sure that it will be a pleasant find, and that all cachers will have fun while finding it. So in short, make sure that the location is a good one, that you have the necessary permissions, and that people will enjoy finding it. Maybe also think while creating the cache, would I give this one a Favorite point? It’s also important that you will be able to maintain the cache on a regular basis and whenever needed.

HQ: If someone reading this was looking for inspiration, whether to hide a quality cache or to become a volunteer, what words of advice would you offer them?

Arnokovic: Do things with passion, keep in mind that this is a beautiful game and that it’s just that–a game. The greatest reward in this game is the people that you will meet. There is a powerful community behind the game, so I would just advise that when you are having fun playing it, give thanks to the cache owners or volunteers who made that possible. Keeping that mentality when hiding a cache or when dedicating some time as a volunteer goes a long way, too. Think about all the joy and fun that other cachers will have thanks to you. This is the best reward.

Image by Arnokovic.

We love hearing about local cache owners who put a creative twist on their caches! Let us know your favorite geocache creators in the comments below!


Source: Geocaching

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