Have you tried Geocaching?
I freely admit that when I saw ‘geocaching’ mentioned, I was sure that it was something to do with social media targeting, or something to do with mobile phone technology. Anyway, suffice to say, if you’d asked me exactly what geocaching was before I started researching it for this article, I’d probably have had to tell you to “Google it!”
It is for your smartphone!
As it turns out, my guess that it was connected to mobile phones wasn’t a million miles away from the real answer: there is an official Geocaching app for both iOS and Android phones at this official website. When I opened the site I discovered there are 612 geocaches in the Marbella area where I live. No doubt, when you go to the site, it will tell you how many there are near you.
But what the heck is geocache and what are we supposed to do with them? According to geocaching.com it’s “the world’s largest treasure hunt.” Already, I am beginning to wonder if this is an adult version of Pokemon Go! In a way it is, but it’s much more ‘old school’, even if you do need a smartphone and the app to participate.
Quite simply, geocaching is an outdoor activity in which an item, or a container holding a number of items, is hidden at a particular location for users to find by means of coordinates posted on the Internet.
It was first played in Beavercreek, Orgeon in May 2000, so it has been around for some time, and apparently is a modern version of the 160-year-old game ‘letterboxing’. I’ve never heard of that either. Anyway, the similarity between the two is quite evident, as both involve hiding small weatherproof boxes containing ‘something’ in publicly accessible places, like parks, and distributing clues. Now that we have Global Positioning Systems (GPS) on our phones, players can post the GPS co-ordinates of where they have left the treasure on a listings site, such as geocaching.com.
What’s in a geocache?
First, every ‘cache’ must contain a logbook and pencil, so that finders can record their adventures and thoughts about the content. Typical cache “treasures”, also known in the geocaching world as ‘swag’ are not usually high value items, but may hold something of personal value to the finder aside from the logbook, common cache contents are unusual coins, small toys, ornamental buttons, CDs, or books.
When you find a cache and have recorded your exploits in the logbook and online, you must leave the cache at the same coordinates so that other geocachers can find it. Geocachers are free to take objects (except the logbook and pencil) from the cache in exchange for leaving something of a similar or higher value.
Here are 5 reasons to try geocaching
- It gets you outside!
- You’ll find that discovery, exploration and adventure still exist in the real-world.
- It’s a great way to stay healthy while having fun.
- It’s fun for the whole family.
- You may discover places you never knew existed right in your own neighbourhood.
Personally, I like the idea that it gets you outdoors and it returns a sense of fun and adventure to the world. If my child was still young enough, I would certainly consider it as a great family activity, and those of you with grandchildren have some ideal geocachers to hand.
Geocaching has incredible potential to not just deliver an enjoyable hobby, but also to connect people in local areas and internationally. You don’t have to only geocache at home – you can geocache your way around the world. Perhaps I will investigate the geocaching in Marbella: I can’t wait to see what I find!