Offline Pursuits

I’ve been reading a lot and getting excited lately about several “offline” extensions of online communities.

  1. Nervous Industries is a community site for facilitating real-life exchanges of art objects and other creative expressions. I’ve always loved “snail” mail and mail art and this site makes it possible to find interesting people all over the world with whom to connect. A great use of the web.
  2. Geocaching is almost like a sportier version of a giant worldwide scavenger hunt. People hide “caches” (boxes of trinkets, postcards, stamps, etc.) and then give GPS coordinates on the Geocaching site directing people to their hidden treasure. Another great way to connect people and send us away from our screens for a while.

Reading about geocaching has me obsessed with getting a handheld GPS unit now. I’m travelling to a strange and large city this weekend and have never had a great sense of direction anyway, so I’d love to play with one of these gadgets. I’m especially enamoured of the Garmin eTrex units. Does anyone have any experience with these? Or better yet, does anyone know where I could borrow or rent one of these in San Francisco?