Geocaching was a term that I first heard way back in 2009 or 2010. I saw it in a movie called Splinterheads. The movie itself was nothing special, something of a hipster romantic-comedy, but there was an extended scene where one character was introduced to geocaching by another and all I could think was: “That looks amazing!”
Of course this was before the time of smartphones in my life. Nobody I knew owned a smartphone and GPS devices weren’t half as cheap as they were now. I made one pretty dismal attempt at geocaching using Google Maps at the park near my house, but I never found the cache. Now that I know about geocaching, I’m sure I wasn’t even close to the find!
Clearly it wasn’t the right time.
Fast forward to 2014 and I was living in England with Dean. I had just left my job to start working as a freelancer writer and it was HARD. I was working 12+ hour long days for almost no money and writing about just about everything from dentistry to dogs. At some point on one of those days, geocaching popped up again.
As soon as it entered my head I knew that Dean and I were going to love geocaching. It perfectly embodied so much of what we already enjoyed: hiking, walking, exploring, wandering, being outdoors. Perfect!
I immediately introduced Dean to it and, despite a little unsure about just how fun it would be to find tiny plastic boxes in the woods, we were both hooked by our first find. Now almost 300 finds down the track I thought I’d share what I love so much about geocaching.
Geocaching Is A Real Life Treasure Hunt
I love treasure hunts. When I was a kid Easter was pretty much my favourite time of year because my parents (mum in particular) used to hold these wonderfully creative Easter egg hunts. I’ve made scavenger hunts for my little brother on his birthday, for my best friend, and even for Dean, that involved days of clues and puzzles. It’s totally up my alley. That’s why geocaching is so cool! Someone else sets the prize, and you’re challenged to find the treasure. Sure, it’s nothing valuable, but there’s a value in finding a cache that’s hard to explain. It’s just awesome.
Geocaching Gets You Outdoors
When we moved to England one of the biggest things I was worried about was maintaining a good exercise regime. I’m unfortunately one of those people who tends to pack on kilos pretty easily, and I was relying heavily on warm comfort foods to get me through the first few months I spent in England. I had never lived anywhere so cold. But when we started geocaching it suddenly wasn’t such an effort to get out the door and into the world. With a pen to sign the logs, Dean and I would go on rambling 25km+ walks that would take all day, just to pick up a cache or two.
Geocaching Makes Every Walk More Interesting
Walking is great, but when you live somewhere for a longer time you end up doing a lot of the same walks. By the time geocaching came into our lives Dean and I had been walking the trails around our home in Epsom for months, and although we loved it we were looking for something to change things up. Geocaching was the perfect solution, and it was so amazing to find that there had been caches hiding just out of sight in places we regularly walked. The first cache we ever found was alongside a path we walked every single day with our dog Hecter, but without geocaching we never would have known!
Geocaching Has An Awesome Community
The geocaching community is a great bunch of people. Many of them are outdoor lovers with a passion for wandering, and they all have a geeky appreciation for many, if not all, aspects of geocaching. We’ve come across a few other geocachers in the time we’ve been doing it, and it’s always fun to bump into them. There’s a little bit of an awkward moment when you both realise what the other is doing, followed by a good laugh and lots of story swapping. The geocaching community has a solid respect for the environment and they even run “Cache In, Trash Out” rubbish collecting events. Awesome!
Geocaching Is A Mental And Physical Challenge
One of the great things about being alive is that we’re constantly free to challenge ourselves to do new things. In many ways this is how I look at geocaching, as a constant series of cool challenges to overcome. First there’s the physical challenge of getting to the cache. Sometimes this is just a short walk, other times it involves making your way through overgrown spear grass and scaling a rock wall. Then there’s the mental challenge of finding the cache, ether with the help of the description, hints, or by putting yourself in the mind the geocacher. When you succeed in finding the cache it’s a great feeling, but even if you don’t it’s just a motivation to come back another time, maybe when you’re more experienced, and try it all over again!
Do you geocache?
This post originally appeared on BarefootBeachBlonde.com, the pre-evolved version of Maps And Mandalas. I’ve republished it here with its original date because I love it that much.`