So what's up with these crazy Travel Bugs? Well, if you're inerested in knowing the backstory, read on...
I began geocaching shortly after it started, and like a lot of you, I was amazed and intrigued. It was the biggest thing I had never heard of, and I couldn't believe it was going on right under my nose. I instantly bought a Garmin GPS unit and started looking for caches.
At the time my kids were very young, and so geocaching became a family activity for us. Living in Colorado, we spend a lot of our time outdoors hiking, climbing and biking. Geocaching fit right into this, and I could get my kids to go on almost any hike without too much complaining as long as there was a cache at the end where they could exchange goodies. As a result, we really only found traditional caches, and I wasn't aware of the diverse geocaching eco-system that was developing out there. I didn't know that there were organizations, events, coins and such. It was a pretty solitary but fun passtime.
Fast-forward to a time when my kids had gotten older and lost interest in geocaching somewhat. We'd find a cache occasionally, but for the most part, I geocached by myself when I travelled in the summers as a musician. It was still enjoyable, but not quite as fun, more of a diversion when I was on the road really. I still believed that it was a wonderful, healthy, and worthwhile activity. I just didn't know how I plugged into it anymore.
That's when I came up with the idea of a CD of geocaching music. I had been looking for a new music project, and this seemed like a great fit. But if I was going to undertake this effort, which proved to be fairly large, I wanted to make sure I had fun with it. I wasn't just going to release the CD as myself (which actually could confuse my existing fan-base). I was going to create an entire band.
So I brainstormed and eventually came up with the idea of The Travel Bugs, a band of 7 members, each from a different continent. I bought some animal figures form the local toy store, assigned them names and positions in the band, and released them into the wild as actual trackables right as I released the album, which I had been working on over the course of a year. I even created a whole backstory for the band in the form of member biographies. Each Bug had the "mission" of getting to their respective continents, and at one point, 5 of the 7 were on their continent. Arturo never made it to South America, and Marvin never got to see his home in Antarctica, but there were bugs in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.
The album was well-recevied, and I did numerous side projects like a music video, a diarama cache (which never got placed actually) and a single. I hadn't really thought much about performing as the Bugs since I was a solo act and I already travelled a good bit for music touring. I did experiment with it, performing an unplugged set a the West Bend Mega in Wisconsin, but otherwise, it was really a studio project.
However, in 2019 I had the opportunity to not only go to England to perform, but also to be a part of the first ever full-band Travel Bugs concert. I was backed up by the Belgian band Bugsy Travels & the Ammo Boxes with whom I've become fast friends. What a great experience! We actually wrote a blog about the whole experience HERE if you wanna do a deep dive. We are booked to reunite at the HQ 20th anniversary party in Seattle if COVID will ever give us a break. And I'm secretly trying to figure out how I can get to Belgium to perform.
Bottom line is that I figured out that the way I could best contribute to the geocaching community was music and creative endeavours. I'm always looking for that next project or performance, so if you have ideas, need some music, wanna collaborate on a cache, wanna interview for your podcast or just wanna chat, just reach out.
Steve Weeks (The Madman behind The Travel Bugs)