We recently received an email from Vernile Prince sharing his story of a Happy Factory Toy that is traveling the world and spreading joy.
“Several years ago I became quite involved in a GPS treasure hunt game called Geocaching. This is a game where people register on a website (geocaching.com), then hunt for geocaches hidden by other players using gps coordinates that are posted on the website. When a player finds a cache you log your username on the cache’s log and on the website. It has become a great game, even an obsession for some, to see how many caches you can find. Over the years it has become an international game with players and caches world-wide.
In addition to just finding caches another feature of the game is to move “trackables” from one cache to another. The idea here is to attach an identifying tag to a trinket and leave it in a cache. Someone else will later pick it up and move it to another cache, and thus it moves around, sometimes extensively. These trinkets are known as “travel bugs”.
In 2012 I found one of the Happy Factory’s toy cars in my father’s home and decided it would make a good “Travel Bug”. I acquired the necessary identifier and left it in a cache a few miles north of New Harmony. I called my travel bug “Happy”, and stated on the log page that it’s mission is “to travel around spreading happiness, and that happiness comes by serving others.” Also on the log page I explained the origin of the little car and The Happy Factory.
The interesting part of this story is that 12+ years later, Happy is still traveling. While I was active in the sport I placed around eight travel bugs, and over a few years they all disappeared, either being lost or stolen. Not Happy! He is still traveling. After being placed in May of 2012, Happy made his way to several caches in Southern Utah. By 2014 he was moved to California and then to New Zealand. He traveled around the north island of New Zealand and then returned to Los Angeles in March of 2015. After a few stops in the LA area he was taken to London, and from there all over Europe including Germany, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Holland, and spent most of 2021 and 2022 moving around France. On May 16, 2023 he was placed in a cache in Ulster, Ireland. In his 12 year journey Happy has traveled 39,861 miles and has visited 1555 caches. I would bet he is the best traveled toy that the Happy Factory has ever produced. As long as he is still traveling there is hope that he may someday return to the United States, and perhaps even to Southern Utah.
You can view Happy’s log page at the following web address: https://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=794200