How to escape with Geocaching

How to escape with Geocaching

Explore the world of urban getaways through Geocaching. Discover how it can benefit mental health, offer an exciting adventure, and bridge the gap between rural and urban areas.

Geocaching has grown in popularity over the last decade, with people of all ages taking part. Geocachers use GPS devices or the Geocaching app to locate and collect caches hidden in various outdoor settings worldwide. The allure of discovering caches has inspired players to travel far and wide, explore areas they had no idea existed, make long-lasting connections, and pursue interests they would never have considered. 


The Escape

Finding moments of respite from the daily urban grind can be challenging. However, “urban escapes” allow people to spend time in nature without venturing far from home in a modern-day treasure hunt. Better known as Geocaching, it provides an ideal outlet to escape into the hidden gems and green spaces waiting to be discovered in our urban homes. 

“It is unbelievable how many interesting places and stories you can explore around your hometown. We can go to the location where a US bomber was shot down during World War two some 80 years ago because Cache showed it to us. We can visit the remains of a house, deep in the woods, where an important psychologist lived his whole life because Cache showed it to us.” Said 32-year-old Jan Drabes. 

Jan found himself trapped in a monotonous routine, visiting familiar locations despite living in an area full of undiscovered history and natural beauty. Geocaching breathed new life into his adventures, sparking his curiosity and making exploring the outdoors exciting again.

Chris Ronan, Geocaching’s Senior Public Relations Manager, shares his journey into the world of Geocaching. For Chris and his wife, Geocaching has become a way to explore new and unexplored locations

“Geocaching takes you to places you never would have known about otherwise. It’s like having a tour guide in your pocket, leading you to uncelebrated spots that are pretty cool. I have done a lot more hiking than I probably would have done. That’s what I love about Geocaching; it almost gives me more purpose to be outside.”

The Mind-Body Connection

According to research, spending time in nature positively impacts mental health. A National Academy of Sciences study found that spending time outside can significantly reduce a stress hormone called cortisol. Spending just 20-30 minutes outside can help reduce stress and lower your risk of developing mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. 

As Chris Ronan puts it, “We have received many letters and emails over the 20-plus years of our existence from people who tell us it has been a huge benefit for their mental health and has changed the way they think about being in the world.”

Chris Ronan with an official Geocache in America

Geocaching began in rural areas, giving people exercise and getting them close to nature, but it has evolved to urban areas, stimulating both body and mind.

Joseph Clark, a young father, can attest to the positive impact of Geocaching on his mental health, “Geocaching made going to nature quite interesting again; it’s absolutely unbelievable how many interesting places and stories you can explore. It’s not just about being in nature; it’s about looking forward to it because there’s always something new to learn and explore. It has impacted my mental health.” He goes on to explain the impact it has had on his family relationships: “It even bonded me more with the son because now we are learning and being surprised together. The week at work goes much faster, from Monday to Friday. It has made me really satisfied with my life”. 

Geocaching is an excellent method for Joseph and his family to make lasting memories. “Geocaching makes every adult feel like a kid again, which has been really soothing and healing,”

The Modern-Day Treasure Hunt

From a small Tupperware-type box secreted in the hollow of a tree, into which the searchers may deposit a token or note for future hunters, to a painted stone or rock that has an associated story or history, accessible on the free geocaching app, each Cache holds its unique charm and mystery.

Geocaching is a community-driven activity. As the public relations manager, Chris collaborates with volunteers to find fresh and exciting locations for caches. The beauty of Geocaching is that anyone can hide and find a geocache.

“There are things that I’ve done that I never would have thought about doing. For instance, I own a kayak now because of Geocaching. I found that there were geocaches on lakes and lazy rivers.”

“It keeps me active. It helps me to exercise without even realising that I’m exercising.”

A typical geocaching find which is hidden in nature

Geocaching emphasises the value of exploring and connecting with nature and society. Whether you are a seasoned geocacher or a beginner, you can enjoy the thrill of discovering a cache and the journey that brought you to your goal. 

“It’s almost like a treasure-hunting feel to it. When you’re out there for so long, and you eventually find a Cache, there a feeling of, oh my gosh, it’s a box with little treasures in it.” Said Chris. 

Geocaching Tomorrow

Geocaching takes people to places they never would have known about otherwise. It adds another layer of excitement to hikes and trips and keeps them active without making them feel like slaves to their computers. 

“Our company mission is to enable people to be outdoors, connect with nature, and meet new people. We’ve received many communications from people who have experienced mental health benefits from the game and the social aspect of geocaching events.” Chris says, “The mission is to turn every location into an adventure, and we’re constantly evolving to make the experience accessible to as many people as possible.”

However, the future of Geocaching lies not only within the confines of Mother Nature but also on the streets of our big cities.

“Urban areas are going to be pretty rife with geocaches. It is quite common for us to have team outings where we open up the app and go for a walk, and it’s a great mental break from your workday to be able to feel like you’re outside for 20 to 30 minutes before you go back into the grind.”

Geocaching is evolving not only as an app but also in the way users think and perceive the great outdoors. It is not just a treasure hunt for hidden containers but also an adventure that encourages people to explore unfamiliar places and uniquely appreciate nature.

Want to Tell your Story?

We’d love to hear from you! Whether you have a question, feedback, or just want to share your latest adventure, feel free to reach out to us. Your input helps us continue to provide the best content and resources for all outdoor enthusiasts.

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