1. Noun Someone who has given in to their insatiable desire to re- experience the thrill and excitement of totality.
Passion [pash-uh n]
1. Noun A strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.
BEING AN ECLIPSE CHASER
Many people have hobbies or interests, and a small proportion of these people will say that their interest is their passion in life. For eclipse chasers, the total eclipse experience becomes their passion. Not only is totality an intensely emotional experience, it then goes on to become hugely meaningful. Eclipse chasers are extremely passionate about eclipses, and certainly suffer if they are not able to see one! Eclipse chasing is not just a hobby – eclipse chasing is a way of life.
Many people are keen to see a total eclipse, but it’s not until you experience it that you really understand how overwhelming and powerful it is. Then, for some, it seems to ignite a fire that becomes a powerful driving force. That is the moment you become an eclipse chaser. It is such a strong, powerful urge that cannot be shaken.
Not everyone who experiences a total solar eclipse will go on to become an eclipse chaser. Some want to but are limited by their circumstances. Others really enjoy the experience and are content that they have seen this once-in-a-lifetime event. But those who feel that urge very strongly will always find a way to see the next one.
Anyone can become an eclipse chaser. While those featured most in the media tend to be retired men with a science background, eclipse chasers really come from all walks of life.
A fun fact – eclipse chasers refer to those who have never before seen a total eclipse as an ‘eclipse virgin’.
MY TIME IN TOTALITY
WHAT ECLIPSES MEAN TO ECLIPSE CHASERS
Immediately following my first total eclipse, I became an eclipse chaser – even though I had no idea that there was such a thing. I was determined that I would re-experience that moment as often as I could.
I will now go anywhere – yes, anywhere – to experience totality. I have now seen 11 total eclipses. Eclipse chasing has allowed me to have some incredible life experiences, and to travel with meaning. I gain an insight into different cultures on a level I would never have before, and I get to meet people in locations I would never have traveled to if it weren’t for the path of totality.
For me, it is like I do not have a choice about being an eclipse chaser. It has simply become a part of who I 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 am not alone. I have surveyed and interviewed many eclipse chasers, and other chasers say the same. Here are a few other eclipses talking about who they are, and what eclipses mean to them:
David Finlay, Australia.
Christiaan Lebbink, Germany.
Together, we form an eclipse chasing community that connects us.
Over time, we tend to develop mastery and apply our existing skills to our eclipse passion. 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 also use my clinical and consulting skills to help communities prepare for eclipses. I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life.
Other eclipse chasers have used their expertise to share skills in other ways. For example, in eclipse photography, weather predictions, maps, documentary filming, art work, and publishing books. As a result, the eclipse chasing community has developed resources to allow others to benefit from our knowledge and experiences.
It’s a really great community, and I love being part of it.