Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve been in love with the idea of searching for treasure. I can remember burying treasure somewhere in the woods behind our house, drawing out a (very) rough treasure map, and then taking off on an adventure. I was convinced, back then, that there was hidden treasure all around us. All we had to do was find the clues and start digging. Now that I’m older, I’ve taken these childhood treasure hunts as a kind of metaphor for travel. I still believe there is hidden treasure everywhere. All you have to do is find the clues and the wonders of the world will be unlocked and layed bare before you. Of course the clues are everywhere and sometimes the metaphor is quite literal.
One of the first places I start searching for treasure is on a map. It doesn’t matter if it’s hand drawn, mysteriously folded, or shining bright on the face of my smartphone, so many times these maps have lead us to a new treasure. Other times the clues come from our fellow treasure seekers, other travelers and tourists who have found there treasure ahead of us and are willing to share that special spot, deserted beach, or tasty treat. For me, sharing the clues and helping others find the treasure is almost as exciting as finding it myself.
Lately, however, the searching for treasure metaphor has come full circle and is no longer just a metaphor; I’m back to that boyhood adventure of following real clues to a real hidden treasure. I thank my daughter, Devon, for this latest obsession. While we were traveling in Japan with her this past winter she would wander off on her own for a few minutes here and there, staring at her phone, and poking around things, digging holes, climbing trees, and obviously searching for something. What was she doing? Geo-caching! The modern age answer to sating the treasure hunt fever. Our Travel Inspiration photo this week is a shot of Hiroshima castle. The beautifully reconstructed castle sits among a large area surrounded by gardens, ponds and amazing topiary; and two geocache treasure troves. My favorite was hidden behind some stones in a secret corner of the castle wall.
While these treasure aren’t usually anything of real value and most of the time you don’t keep any of the treasure you find, there is still the thrill of the hunt. And, amazingly, these treasures really are everywhere. There are more than 50 geocaches within 20 kilometers of our house here in Weiden. When I look at the map to find new places to explore, it seems the
entire world is covered in little green, blue, gold, and red dots. Millions of geo-caches are hidden all around us telling me I should be out there, searching for treasure.
Now, when we’re exploring a new place looking for those travel treasures we’ve also got one eye on our geocaching app looking for a real hidden treasure to uncover as well.