Being an eclipse chaser

An eclipse chaser is someone who has made a life choice to give in to their insatiable desire to re-experience the thrill and excitement of totality.  Technically, an eclipse chaser is born they moment their first total solar eclipse, and they say those words:  ‘I’m going to see the next one’.  Once you have seen a total eclipse, it seems to ignite a fire that becomes a powerful driving force.  Eclipse chasing is not just a hobby – eclipse chasing is a way of life.

Kate Russo and partner Geordie in Turkey 2006

Watching the eclipse in Turkey 2006 with my partner Geordie. We will go anywhere to put ourselves in the shadow of the Moon.

Did you know – the word ‘passion’ comes from the Greek word ‘pathos’ meaning ‘to suffer’, and expresses an intense desire or compulsion, or unusual enthusiasm for an object, event, person, or thing.  Eclipse chasers are extremely passionate about eclipses, and certainly suffer if they are not able to see one!   But the passion is the driving force behind their eclipse chasing:

I’m going to go to every eclipse for the rest of my life.  I have to do this – I just have to do this.   

For me, it is like I do not have a choice about being an eclipse chaser.  It has simply become something that I just do – I just am.  I know that for every future total eclipse, I will do all that I can to get myself into the path of totality so I can again be in the shadow of the Moon.

I have now seen 10 total eclipses and two annular eclipses.  I love chasing eclipses, and eclipse chasing really is a part of my life and who I am.

When I undertook my survey and interviews with eclipse chasers in preparation for my book Total Addiction, three things that really stood out about eclipse chasers:

– eclipse chasers prioritised spending on experiences rather than tangible items;

– eclipse chasers made choices that allowed them to develop their passion;

– eclipse chasers expressed gratitude in their lives and felt they were lucky in life

It would seem that there are certain types of people who are more likely to become eclipse chasers – those who allow themselves to chase their dreams.

eclipse chaser c KR

Here is an interesting fact about eclipse chasers – over time, we tend to develop mastery and apply our existing skills to our eclipse passion.  For example, you will hear of eclipse chasers sharing their skills in eclipse photography, weather predictions, maps, documentary filming, art work, and publishing books.  In this way, the eclipse chasing community is developing resources to allow others to benefit from our knowledge and experiences.  It’s a really great community, and I love being part of it. 

For me, I am applying my psychology and research expertise to help understand and put words to this incredible experience so that people can understand why it is so special.   I am also using my strategic development, teaching and consulting skills to help communities prepare for eclipses.  So not only am I an eclipse chaser, I love relocating and being part of the community even before the eclipse occurs, sharing my research and personal experience and helping the locals understand what is to come.  I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life.