Geocaching.. And 5 Reasons Why I Love It

Geocaching - iphone app

Long before people around the world were running about with their phones on the hunt for invisible cartoon characters, people around the world were running about with their phones on the hunt for their next Geocache. Something of a global treasure hunt, Geocaching has been around since the year 2000 and has now gathered more than 3 million active users worldwide! Far more tangible than Pokemon, GPS technology is used to guide the player towards a location where their cache must be searched for physically in order to sign their username in the log book and complete the find. Some caches are teeny - no bigger than a small bolt with just enough room for a strip of paper inside - while others are much larger and hide additional treasures: trackables that get passed from one cache to another, and exchangeable items that players can take home, leaving something else in its place. It's clever; it's brilliant fun; and it's got me completely hooked.

Geocaching - found cache

Here are 5 reasons why I love it so much..

1) I love that it connects me with the great outdoors.

From hilltops to loch sides and beaches to forestry, there are caches hidden here, there and everywhere. I love that Geocaching gives me a reason to lace up my hiking boots and a guide to follow as I head out into the wild. And once I get there? Well, then it gives me the perfect excuse to climb trees, turn over rocks, feel rough bark and soft moss at my fingertips, get sand between my toes and scramble in the dirt until the soil makes a bed beneath my nails. It turns me into a big kid again and reminds me to stop, look around and breathe deeply, all of which reconnects me with this great old earth and has proven benefits for both physical and mental health. 

Geocaching - Murchison Memorial

2) I love that it takes me places I might never otherwise be.

Whether it's a new park in the city, an entire village I've never heard of previously, or a lone dirt track I'd never think to follow out in the country, Geocaching has led me to so many places I just would not have been. The journeys are often filled with laughter (getting lost on winding roads or tip-toeing our way through fields of cows); there is so much joy to be got from pretty, unexpected scenery; and there is often so much more than caches to be found at the end of the way - from surprising ruins, to spectacular views, to quaint little towns that hide the perfect place for cake and coffee.

Geocaching - climbing

3) I love that it makes me look at things differently.

When it isn't taking me to places I've never been, Geocaching makes me look differently at the places I find myself regularly. It's funny how much we take for granted in the places we call home and how oblivious we can be in our rush to do this hectic thing called life. It's easy to spend years in a city and never visit its best attractions, too comfortable in the belief that they've always been there and they always will be - that we'll get around to seeing them someday. Geocaching makes me go to these places; makes me open my eyes a little wider; makes me pause on these hurried streets and look up. It gets me wandering up unusual alleyways; has me pausing to read statues and fountains' histories; makes me appreciate architecture and artistry; and gets me stretching and climbing, squinting to perceive things differently. 

Geocaching - connecting - girl and dog

4) I love that it's an inclusive community.

Being a Geocacher is like being a part of some great global gang. There's something brilliantly fun and connecting about being in on something not everybody knows about - being party to a secret, of sorts. In the Geocaching world, those that aren't in on the secret are known as muggles and it's up to us - as part of our distinct tribe - to keep our treasures hidden and safe, often requiring great stealth to capture caches that are hidden in a busy public place! Even when playing alone, it's like being part of one big family and I love reading through the logbooks from time to time - whether at the cache or online - and seeing who visited that site before me. And the best part is, it's a tribe that's ready to include anybody, operating all around the world, suitable for people of any age and ability (with disabled-access caches clearly marked out) - all it needs is a GPS device and a registered account. 

Large Geocache

5) I love that it allows me to appreciate others' creativity.

People are clever - that's all I can really say! All Geocaches are hidden by other users, for the enjoyment of their fellow participants. The ingenuity and efforts that some of them go to both surprises and delights me! There are poetic descriptions and witty clues; hand-crafted characters left at certain scenes; caches woven together by a topic or story; and in the Aberdeenshire countryside there's an entire trail with a Harry Potter theme.  Creativity even extends to the container the cache is carried in: while most are tiny magnets or a plastic Tupperware box, some... Well, some are not..

Geocaching - spider and bat
Geocaching - creative containers
Geocaching - creative containers

How can you help but appreciate that?!

Whether it's exploring the local area, road-tripping around the country, or even part of an adventure abroad, Geocaching has long become a firm favourite hobby. If you too want to stop being a muggle and join the Geocache gang, it's completely free to sign-up (though Premium membership can be purchased for additional features). Download the app and get going. You never know what treasures you might see!


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