Making friends around the world


One of the perks about being an outdoor travel writer for the last 40 or so years is I get to make a lot of new friends around the world.

Susie and I have been married for more than 52 years. During that time, we have traveled across the United States and three of the Canadian provinces doing a wide variety of outdoor activities, which I would write stories about later.

Some (certainly not all) of these included fishing, hunting, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, digging fossils (dinosaur bones in South Dakota), gold panning, horseback riding, attending treasure hunts, enjoying a wide variety of various cuisines, and much more.

While enjoying these adventures, we met a lot of new folks from all walks of life.

About 25 years ago, I started joining various outdoor writer’s groups. These included Outdoor Writers of America, the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers, and the Hoosier Outdoor Writers. I am still a member of the last two, was on the Board of Directors of the Great Lakes group, and was a past and am a current board of directors member of the Hoosier Outdoor Writers.

Each of these groups had an annual conference held in various locations which we attended. I met other writers, editors, publishers, and representatives of a wide variety of Tourism Directors and outdoor merchandise reps.

Over the years, we became close friends with many of the folks we met at these outings.

A lot of these people are responsible for helping me with my writing career.

About four years ago, I received a call from Josh Lantz, one of the members of the writers groups who became a good friend.

He said Traditions Media, which he worked for, had just signed a contract with Minelab Metal Detectors to handle publicity for that company. Josh told me I was the only good writer he knew who also knew anything about metal detecting. He asked if I would be interested in writing stories for this company. I was thinking strongly about it when he continued outlining the perks of the job. I immediately said yes.

Minelab would supply me with names and contact information about people in the field who used their equipment and had found some really neat stuff with them. They told me if I knew anyone else (which I did) who fit the criteria, I could write about them also. So I started.

I would pick a name, contact them and explain what I was doing, and proceed to interview them, either over the phone, or by computer, ask a lot of questions about their use of Minelab equipment and weave their answers into a great story.

The first one I interviewed over the phone. He lived in England! I thought this would cost a fortune since I talked to him about 45 minutes. (It turns out the phone bill was only $6.) This gentleman was the biggest Minelab dealer in all of Europe and had a lot of information for me. I finished the story and started on the next.

This one actually lived in Portugal. I sent him a list of questions on the computer, got his answers, wrote the story and returned it to him for additions, deletions, corrections, etc.

I took the list of contacts Minelab had sent me and the next pick was a couple who lived in Quebec, Canada. I tried jumping around on my list to choose guys (and gals) who lived in various parts of the country and detected for a wide variety of items.

California, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, Connecticut, Florida and more were on my list.

Some hunted for gold, Colonial relics, lost jewelry in the ocean, treasures dumped in old privies, Civil War relics and more.

I knew a lot of detectorists from treasure hunts we had been to around the country. I interviewed some of them. Many of them have invited me to join them on one of their searches if I am ever in their part of the country.

Even Gary Drayton of The Curse of Oak Island TV fame told me to visit him in Florida in the winter and he would take me to some of his “special” spots.

If I was 20 years younger and in a lot better shape than I am now, I would certainly take a lot of these people up on their offers.

Rich Creason is an award-winning outdoors and travel writer whose work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications for 40 years. Born in Anderson, he is a graduate of Markleville High School. He lives in South Madison County with his wife, Susie. He may be contacted at [email protected].