Geocaching Their Way into a Delighted Retirement

 

photo by Catherine Calvetti

photo by Catherine Calvetti

 

AARP has introduced the concept of Reimagining Our Lives in Retirement. Over the next few months I’d like to use that concept with accounts of retirees who have done just that. Perhaps they will inspire you to discover your perfect retirement interest.

 

Hearing Catherine and Jim Calvetti describe their Geocaching experiences makes you want to hop off the couch, grab your GPS or a map, put on your sneakers and GET GOING.  So… what is Geocaching you might ask.

According to its official site, Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Simple rules of “the game” include:

  1. If you take something from the geocache (or “cache”), leave something of equal or greater value.
  2. Write about your find in the cache logbook.
  3. Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.

OK, but what’s the point and what do you gain for this adventure? According to Catherine and Jim, you discover a whole new world when you Geocache, and you can do it near or far from home, on your schedule and make it as challenging or as simple as you like. (Perfect for retirement, right?) Since they live in Wisconsin they also love that Geocaching gives them a reason to get outside and trek through beautiful new-fallen snow

Jim enjoys pointing out the benefits in searching for these treasures. He likes the interesting and like-minded people he meets at events and discovering the places he had previously by-passed. He also loves that their searches get them off  the Interstate highways to remote and fascinating locations. Jim mentioned that he and Catherine often visit her family, but now it can take them up to 10 hours to travel the otherwise boring two hour drive because they hunt for geocaches along the way. They always learn something new, pick an interesting item from the cache and leave a part of their history in the “found” box for others to enjoy. In their searches they may discover a cache that has travelled hundreds of thousands of miles and usually meet other adventurers with whom they exchange stories. He and Catherine have also released numerous trackable items, such as travel bugs, Geocoins and travel tags. These trinkets travel from cache to cache, sometimes with  a specific mission that can be followed on the website. Many of these trackables are traveling throughout the world.

One of Catherine and Jim’s many fascinating discoveries happened at the site where Lewis & Clark split in their their journey down the Yellowstone in 1806.  Here, they learned of a part of history that doesn’t appear in most history books, and they basked in the beautiful, non-commercial environment the location offered them.

What a great activity Geocaching can be for retired couples! It allows us to design our own searches within our level of difficulty and desirable distances, while bringing us to wonderful new places. It can also create a common bond for couples while challenging us to think and be active. Geocaching proves we’re never too old to learn and totally dismantles the possibility of being a couch potato.

Visit Catherine’s website to learn more about their experiences and her art work.

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