For those who have been on this planet longer than most, scavenger hunts once brought huge loads of fun for entire groups. And before the days of Pokemon Go you actually had to hunt for most of them (I know, can you believe it?) For travelers, Geocaching is becoming a fun way to discover new places and things while still being a part of a larger community. Now with the help of technology, finding random treasures just got a lot more, well… advanced.
Geocaching allows you to discover the hidden world just outside your doorstep. It’s a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting experience that uses the GPS on your mobile device. Players get coordinates and then attempt to find a “geocache” (treasure) hidden at that location. All you need to do is register and you are ready to start.
It sounds pretty farfetched but this hobby-slash-adventure has a community of over 100k followers and volunteers. How it works is that members of the community hide geocaches all over the world. The locations are listed on the website and you can filter your search by city or postal code. It will give some instructions on what to look for, comments, and tips and when you are ready to start, all you have to do is enter the coordinates into your GPS device. On your mobile, it will automatically give you a compass and direction to follow. Once you discover the cache you log it (so others know it is still there) and share any photos online.
Geocaching: How’d That Bong Get There?
So what are you exactly looking for? Well, geocaches vary in size and appearance. It may be a plastic container or even a secret rock with a hidden compartment. You can get a general sense of the size using the guide in the game so that you know what to look for. There are different geocache types from straightforward containers with something inside to mystery caches where you need to solve a puzzle to advance to the next coordinate.
At the most basic level, you will find a cache with a log sheet of all the previous players that have found this geocache. But there are stories of people finding odd objects like ancient dolls to large glass bongs. Our favorite one listed on the site includes a geocache to a bar for free drinks. Clever!! One more thing, there is a rule that if you remove the object found in the geocache, you must replace it. That probably explains the bong.
Technology Meets Treasure
In some countries, your geocache may have a Trackable which is a sort of game piece that is etched with a unique code that can be used to log its movements on the geocaching website. Some items have a story of their own and have traveled hundreds of miles around the world thanks to geocachers who move them from cache to cache.
We gave geocaching a shot during our latest trip with little hope of actually expecting it to work. We picked a geocache close to a spot in Koh Samui, Thailand where we visiting recently. We inputted the coordinates and followed the ghost trail on our devices to a spot up some rocky, mountain steps overlooking a stunning view. Then it sidetracked to some dirt road taking us to a small beach area in the bush. We actually thought this was a place where they buried bodies. It started getting sketchy but we persevered. In the end, we actually found a small container with the green geocache sticker. It had some papers that looked liked they survived the second world war along with a colorful plastic shovel still in good shape. We couldn’t believe this s*** actually worked!
Geocaching for Travelers: How to Get Started
If you want to start treasure hunting, visit the Geocaching website. There is a ton of info there with specifics if you’re not convinced. From there, all you have to do is register your email and you can begin searching for geocaches close to your location. There are loads of facebook groups which you can join if you would like to interact with other geocachers from around the world. It’s actually a pretty cool concept for frequent travelers as you constantly get to find off-the-beaten-path places. I mean, just check out the view below! For those who are interested in Geocaching in Thailand, here are a few locations which you can also check out! Let us know if you find that bong!