A man in New Zealand has quit his job to become a full-time Pokemon hunter and trainer – a decision he admits has left his parents "a little bit baffled". Tom Currie, a 24-year-old former barista and bartender, will now embark on a two-month tour of his country in an attempt to snag all 151 creatures.
Sleeping on friends' sofas or in crowded backpacker dorms he has made his way from his home city in Auckland on New Zealand's North Island and has already visited around South Island towns, catching creatures at every stop. At the last count, he had 91.
The smartphone game, which is associated with the hugely popular cartoon and trading card game franchise, allows users to find digital Pokémon hiding the real world. A GPS prompts players to walk in certain directions to find the creatures, which sometimes involves walking long distances.
"When I resigned, I didn't tell my manager I was going out into the world to hunt Pokémon," Currie told the BBC. "But after my story got picked up I gave him a courtesy call to update him just in case the media contacted him."
He added that his father had sent him a text message saying he always knew he would be famous.
After beginning his quest in early July Currie said in a separate interview with the Guardian that he had walked for miles to catch some the creatures, occasionally staying up until 3am.
He has also been approached by a number of transport companies which have offered to take him to more remote parts of the country to hunt for rare Pokémon, as well as receiving messages of support from around the world.
He is not thought to have visited Whanganui's Hells Angels headquarters which has shown up as a "pokestop" on the augmented reality app – a site where players can pick up items for their creatures like pokeballs, eggs and potions.
New Zealand Police have already warned players against "going onto private property in search of a cartoon character".
"I wanted to have an adventure," Currie told the Guardian. "I have been working for six years and I was desperate for a break. And Pokémon gave me the chance to live that dream."