What is a Hitchhiker?
A hitchhiking letterbox moves from letterbox to letterbox. It usually consists of a logbook, stamp, and plastic bag, but it may also have its own box. Some hitchhikers have particular destinations in mind (like our PsychoBunny hitchhiker who is trying to get from the east coast of the USA to NZ!), but others are just out there having adventures, randomly moving from box to box.
What do I do if I find a hitchhiker?
Whoop and holler and do a happy dance!! Then go into a stamping frenzy :-) The aim of the hitchhiker is to get stamp images from all the boxes visited AND all the finders of the boxes. The following sounds more complicated than it actually is - please bear with me! Stamp the HH stamp into the host-box logbook and your logbook; stamp the host-box stamp into the HH logbook and your logbook, and stamp your signature stamp into the HH logbook and the host-box logbook. You may find that part of this has been done already by the HH placer (I usually do this to ensure that the host stamp gets into the HH - it is easy to forget!). If this sounds confusing, all you have to remember is to keep stamping until you run out of things to stamp, or you get bored :-D
After all the stamping, take the HH with you and return the host-box to its hiding place. Then rehide the HH with another letterbox. If you don't think you'll get to another letterbox for some time you can leave the HH behind. You can also pass the HH along to another boxer in person or by post.
Are there any hitchhikers in New Zealand?
Yes! We've released a couple recently, and some friends in the states are sending us another one.
How do I "count" Hitchhikers?
Like normal boxes, if you find one, it is a "Find", if you place one, it is a "Place". If you find the same hitchhiker more than once, it is up to you whether you count it as another Find. If you find your own Hitchhiker, it is a "Find". As with all letterboxing counting statistics, there are no formal rules, just do what makes sense to you (i.e., it ain't a competition!). Some people count their HHs separately, but I don't normally bother.
Hitchhikers are meant to be surprises. If you hide a HH - do not spoil the fun for others by announcing which box you put it in. It is OK to announce where you found a HH (unless there are specific instructions with the HH to not do so, but this doesn't happen very often).
It is nice to send the owner an email saying where the box has been and what it's been up to.
The HH is in a big box and I can't fit it in or next to the hostbox - what do I do? Hide it with a different letterbox which has a bigger hidey-hole. Hold onto it until you have one of your own boxes to place, then place the HH with it as a surprise for the first finders. Hide the HH box close by in a different nook and write clues to where it is hiding in the host-box logbook.
Wanda & Pete keep a list of all the hitchhikers they know about at http://alum.wpi.edu/~p_miner/travelers.html. The Letterbox Travellers yahoo group is the place to announce hitchhikers found and new hitchhikers. You can also post such emails on the New Zealand Letterboxing yahoo group if the hitchhiker is related to or in New Zealand. Silent Doug also has a good tutorial about hitchhikers.
Any questions - just sing out! And as Wanda & Pete say: Keep 'em moving!
Before you set out, please read the waiver of responsibility and disclaimer.