If you’ve ever explained geocaching to a bemused muggle, you’ve probably been asked the question: what do you get? This question may have been preceded by: so you get cash? It’s at this point that I am usually resigned to the fact that this muggle will probably never understand why I go geocaching, but it’s made me ponder: what do I get?
1. Great friends
It can be hard to make new friends as an adult. When you’re five, it’s perfectly acceptable to laugh at someone’s joke and immediately announce, ‘you’re fun! Will you be my friend?’ This could be a little off-putting to an adult, so how do you find new friendships when you’re all grown up? A common interest – like geocaching – is an incredibly effective way to make long-lasting and meaningful friendships. I’m lucky to have made some amazing friends since I started caching, who I most probably would never have met otherwise.
2. Improved mental health
Studies like this one from Japan, concluded that being outside and in touch with nature reduced levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in subjects. Remember your parents telling you to go outside and get some fresh air? Turns out they really were on to something with that.
The puzzle solving exercises we give our brains as geocachers, whether it be a difficulty 5 conundrum that we pore over for weeks, or simply the task of figuring out how to open a clever container, is actually giving our mental health a boost.
3. Better fitness
It goes without saying that geocaching usually involves getting up off the couch and moving (armchair cachers aside!), and I can’t count how many times I’ve heard geocachers telling me that they’ve lost weight and seriously improved their fitness because of caching.
For me personally, getting outside and walking is not something that ever appealed to me before geocaching, but I love it now, with or without the lure of another smiley – although there is no denying, a cache or two really helps to motivate me! With my commitment to go on more hikes in 2017, I can already see a vast improvement in myself.
Kids love treasure hunts and scavenger hunts – do a quick online search for ‘treasure hunt’ and you’ll get a plethora of ideas and templates for setting up this fun activity for children. There’s something about the anticipation of the hunt and then the joy when you make the find. And guess what? We all have an inner child who is dying to go on a treasure hunt, as well as climb a tree, splash in a stream, and just generally get mucky, so it’s no wonder we love geocaching so much!
Why do you watch TV? Why do you play baseball? Why do you dance? Because it’s FUN! Like seriously, why do anything with your precious spare time, if it’s not fun?! The people, the places, the silly tree climbs, the sliding down a muddy bank on your back side… it’s all fun. That’s why we do it.
I don’t think anybody is miserable because they are geocaching, and if they are, they should strongly consider taking up another hobby. On the contrary, geocaching can really help if you’re feeling low.
Life is too short to do things that make you unhappy. Fill it up with activities and people that make you smile and laugh. Geocaching makes me happy, and happiness is the most important thing I get!
The next time a muggle asks you what you get, have a think about all the amazing things that geocaching gives you. Let me know what you get in the comments!
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