Accepted Paper:

Exploring world(s) through geocaching  

Author:

Mare Kalda (Estonian Literary Museum)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will focus on geocaching – a new kind of treasure hunt going on since 2000 all over the world. Locating physical objects offline and sharing information online, hobbists gain new experience and add colour to their life.

Paper long abstract:

Now in its 14th year, the geocaching is a hobby of about 5 million people, according to the official website geocaching.com. The basic idea of the hobby is treasure hunt with the help of modern technical equipment and reporting one's progress on the Internet. People involved both hide new "treasure-boxes" and maintain the geocaches already existing in the game. This way the game is kept going, players ensure, that each cache is fully available (it is present on the landscape and has up-to-date information online). Both areas in question are also continously debated and reflected by an active community on discussion forums.

As seen from folklorist's point of view, I could categorise the activity as a game which combines and varies performances in the actual world and those conducted in the virtual environment. In this paper, I will discuss how people involved with the hobby reflect themselves thus symbolically and experientially changing the world into the world of geocaching. It makes travelling, hiking, backbacking etc. more exciting and fulfilling as it presents a goal, a clear objective, a puzzle, which needs to be solved.

Panel P18
Expressive culture and identities in a digital age