Here in November I learned a new way of traveling and a new way of exploring a city. This is all thanks to a Finnish woman I met at my hostel in Kaunas, Lithuania.
It was pure coincidence that I ended up in Lithuania. I had mentioned a few times over the summer that I wanted to go there one day. But I wasn’t exactly sure why I wanted to go. Then one day I was on the train in Denmark, on my way to visit my Mum, when I went on Skyscanner to search for their cheapest flights to “Everywhere”. Kaunas in Lithuania came up for about $15 one way. I had never heard about Kaunas before and I didn’t bother looking it up. I just grabbed the chance then and there and booked the flight for 1st November.
And I am so glad that I did. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in 2017. I had an amazing experience and I met so many people from all over the world, from all walks of life. I socialised with people so much for the 3 weeks that I was in Lithuania that I am now sitting in an apartment in Turin in Italy still trying to gather my thoughts and get used to being “on my own” again.
Anyway, back to my main point. I discovered Geocaching whilst in Lithuania. Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock because I had never heard about Geocaching before until I met this Finnish woman.
If you don’t know what it is, then let me explain it quickly: It’s like treasure hunting for adults. You use a mobile device with GPS in order to find these hidden containers of various sizes around the city or town that you’re in. These containers can be found all over the world. There are coordinates and often a hint that will lead you to the container. Once you find it – it can be hidden under a bench with a magnet, in a rock, in a tree etc. – you will log the date and your name in the logbook and put the container back where you found it and then you log it in the app.
The containers have been left there by other Geocachers – believe me, there’s a whole community out there full of Geocachers, it is actually quite fascinating, when you think about it.
When the Finnish woman told me about it I thought it sounded rather odd and to be honest, the words “nerd” and “geeky” did spring to mind. But I am always open to try new things when I’m on the road, so when she asked me if I wanted to come with her to try Geocaching I said yes.
It did not take me long before I was completely hooked and when we got back to the hostel that afternoon I ended up downloading the app, so I could create my own account.
After this day I spent the next three weeks Geocaching my way through Kaunas and Vilnius with my new Finnish friend. Once you get the hang of it, it gets so addicting. However, I have found it difficult to do it myself now that I’m alone in Italy. I do find it more fun to share the experience with other people – plus everything is in Italian here with no English versions. But I’m still gonna try and soon I’ll be in Berlin where I’ll give it a go as well.
Geocaching is great for various reasons. It presents a different way of seeing a city. You end up in places and seeing other things you wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s great exercise without even thinking about it and there’s a huge Geocaching community all over the world, so if you’re looking for a new hobby and to meet new people then it’s worth giving a go.
I’m happy that I got to try it and I’ll continue to do it. I will probably never be a pro like my Finnish friend, but she’s a great coach, so I know I’ll do well.
Have you ever tried Geocaching whilst traveling? Let me know by leaving a comment.