Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - Travelers

Index to Our Other Letterboxes


615. Wanda & Pete's F 50,000+ Pumpkin Just a little memento of our past letterboxing efforts now turned into yet another (gulp) "personal traveler"!

Just thought we'd resurrect this little pumpkinhead that we once used as a bonus stamp at one of our annual southern RI fall gatherings many years ago. That was way back when we were very happy to be reaching the milestone of 20,000 letterbox finds back in 2008, so it was a simple matter of changing the first number on that old leftover stamp from a "2" to a "5" to bring us up to date for reaching over 50,000 letterbox finds by the end of 2015 … and, of course, with over 600 plants and 2600 exchanges, PFX 50,000+ much earlier that year as well!

Yes, it seems that we can definitely say that we are the folks who have been letterboxing pretty continuously longer and harder than anyone else in North America by quite a long shot! We started out in the late 1990's when there were only a few dozen letterboxes planted around the entire country, so it was very slow going those first few years, and we really had to travel around and hike a lot to find our first 500 boxes. Things have certainly changed in the "letterboxing world" since then, to the point where nowadays, even in our "semi-retirement from letterboxing stage", we often find over 500 letterboxes in a single month, and have been averaging 4,000 to 5,000 letterbox finds annually for quite a few years now, even without exerting anywhere near the effort of those earlier times! However, we're still basically "quiet types", who don't do Facebook, don't list our finds publicly for "Hall of Fame" or whatever, and only rarely attend gatherings anymore - since so many of them seem to have turned into mere excuses for collecting vast quantities of stamps (sometimes even in same old repeat venues over and over with just different stamps - gasp!) , and adventure of discovering new places, visiting wonderful trails, and getting into the "hunt" itself , not just acquiring more stamps! So, it was with some sadness that we learned recently that some newer folks to the hobby actually thought that letterboxing was just about stamps! Some had even been to quite a few of what we call "stamp collecting gatherings", had swapped stamps in the mail, done talk list chatter or whatever, but had never even heard of us because they had hardly ever, or never, gotten out on their own to do any real letterboxing at all! Hopefully this little pumpkinhead can change that situation, at least a tiny bit, by letting people know about the vast number of possibilities for real letterboxing adventures (even if so many of the great ones that we did over the years are now long gone), so many of them still out there … and so many still to come!

Anyway, to get this little pumpkin personal traveler, just tell me what we count in our F-count. Easy answer: only finds!!! You could add "traditional finds" as a sort of inside joke, since before new people to the hobby started confusing actual finds with just plain stamps, that's all there were, at least in this country, where letterboxing itself was all about the hunt, and the stamp was only a little added bonus to prove that one had followed the clues properly to reach the letterbox site. It was only years later that AQ started adding the word "traditional" to finds in a vain attempt to stamp out the confusion ensuing between the actual letterboxers and the newer generation who mostly did gathering and "stamp collecting". To this day, we consider anyone who gets more than a very small fraction of their finds from gathering days to be more of a "stamp addict" than a letterboxer, and the letterboxers we admire the most are those, like many in our area, who never go to gatherings at all, but just quietly go about the business of letterboxing, with no need to record their finds on-line or anything like that. We ourselves have always preferred to play the game that way, so that only the people who actually go out letterboxing will know who has been there, like a sweet little secret surprise instead of a "public as a frog" flaunting. In, fact, the only reason we finally listed 100 finds on AQ recently was because we just found out that there were a few people restricting their clues to only those who listed 100 or more finds. But, just so there is no confusion with us, please note that, of our 50,000+ traditional finds, we do NOT include non-traditional stamps, stuff like event stamps,"tabletoppers", personal travelers and such among those finds, and shame on anyone who thinks we do! If we did do that, we could add thousands of random stamps to our count, but then it would be an S-count, not an F-count, and we're very particular about always wanting to keep our "F" in mind while letterboxing!

616. Wanda's Four "Tens" Yet another (gasp) "personal traveler" about our last "DWTS at Sea" cruise

Yup, I thought long and hard about this one… do I really need yet another personal traveler? Do I really need to tell anyone this particular story, even if it really meant a lot to me? Would anyone in the "letterboxing world" even give a hoot? Isn't it a bit narcissistic to think that anyone at all would actually be happy for me or care anyway other than as just a chance to get another stamp? But, then I realized that that is precisely what most personal travelers are all about - people want others to know something about themselves, whether it be the names of their kids, their pets, their jobs, hobbies, favorite foods, music, TV shows or whatever, so it seems there's some sort of "narcissistic mirroring" going on in most personal travelers by their very nature anyway, or maybe they're just a way to share a stamp and a little life story!

Anyway, here's probably the "last bright shining light" of something that happened to me on our last of the "Dancing with the Stars"- themed Caribbean cruises in January of 2016. We had been on one of those Holland America cruises previously to the Canadian Maritimes in June of 2015, and I had gotten chosen to dance the samba with a pro in the finals, where I was thrilled to get one "9" and two "10"'s from the three judges (even though I almost slipped in my slick old red Capezios!) This time, however, I didn't think that I would have any chance to get picked for anything, since there were so many great dancers on the ship, including professional mirrorball winners like Kym Johnson and Tony Dovolani, who ended up being judges, along with celebrities like Carson Cressley and Florence Henderson. So, Pete and I just went out on the dance floor along with hundreds of others to have a good time and learn a little waltz routine, and - lo and behold - I got picked to dance on stage with a pro yet again! (Apparently, Kym was impressed by my "develope" , "porte de bras", "ronde de jambe", and such, because, with my fractured spine from that near fatal car accident years ago, I certainly couldn't shine in a "round the world" back bend!) With the quality of the four people chosen this time from each of the four dances taught, I didn't think I could possibly get a very high score, so imagine my elation when each of the four judges gave me a "!0", and said such nice things about my dancing! So, naturally I had to save one of the "10" paddles we were given at one of the costume shows (and gave another signed by Kym Johnson to our friend Hope with whom we watch DWTS whenever we are back home in RI), and decided to add a little "10" stamp paddle to its handle to share with any letterboxers who might have taken the time to read this story and might care to stamp it!


You can find information about this hobby at Letterboxing North America (LbNA)

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