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What Is a Personal Traveller?

07/23/2004
by Silent Doug

By definition, a "traveller" is any letterbox that doesn't have a permanent home. A hitchhiker is a common example of a traveling letterbox the hitchhiker's stamp and log are carried from letterbox to letterbox, and each new location is recorded in the hitchhiker's log (along with the stamp of each letterboxer who gives the hitchhiker a ride).

But another type of traveller that's becoming increasingly common is the "personal traveller." You can think of a personal traveller as a letterbox that makes its home in a letterboxer's backpack, and thus is carried from place to place by (and always remains with) the letterboxer. A personal traveller need only to consist of a stamp and a log book, generally kept together in a zip loc bag or small plastic container.

The traveller is completely separate from a letterboxer's personal stamp. While most (if not all) letterboxers carry a personal stamp (the one they use to log into the boxes they find or to exchange with letterboxers they meet on the trail or at gatherings), not every letterboxer creates and carries a personal traveller. Personal travellers are more common among Dartmoor letterboxers than they are in here in the states. Most U.K. letterboxers don't exchange personal stamps when they meet other letterboxers (as American letterboxers do), but exchange personal traveller stamp impressions instead.

Part of the fun of creating a personal traveller is finding a way to, well, personalize it! Besides coming up with an interesting theme for your traveller that reflects your personality, other interests or career, you can create a clue that others must solve before being permitted to stamp in. While you could simply invite others to stamp in to your traveller, you'd be missing out on the entertainment possibilities that personal travellers present. Most letterboxers require seekers to solve a riddle, sing a song or perform some stunt in order to "find" the personal traveller. At the very least, you can simply require users to ask for your traveller if they meet you on the trails or at a gathering before they're allowed to sign in.

How do you find out who has personal travellers? Digging through all the backpacks of letterboxers at a gathering isn't a socially accepted practice, of course, and asking every letterboxer you meet if they have a personal traveller won't cut it, either. Some letterboxers post the announcement of their personal travellers on the LbNA discussion group, while others post them as mystery boxes on the LbNA web site, such as:

You can also find them on letterboxer's personal web sites, such as:

When you find a personal traveller, add one to your F count as another "Found" letterbox. If you create a personal traveller of your own, you can count it as a "Planted" letterbox (add one to your P count). Just remember that letterboxers don't generally stamp into letterboxes they find with their personal traveller stamp -- continue to use only your original personal stamp when you find a new box and save your personal traveller stamp for other letterboxers.

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