Siblings Peter and Kylie Walker use multi-billion dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods - and it’s this addiction to geocaching that is helping the pair make a name for themselves online.
Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or smartphone to hide and seek containers - known as ‘geocaches’ or ‘caches’ anywhere in the world. You probably pass by a couple every day on your way to work or home without even realising.
This popular new hobby now boasts more than 1.5 million caches and millions of fans internationally; even Antarctica has a few geocaches.
The name of the Walkers’ site comes from an idea most geocachers will deny (though it’s often true) – "it’s all about the numbers.” For the Walkers, it’s especially true.
Since the pair, who use the geocaching names Cumbyrocks and kjwx, began their blog a year ago, they have had two sets of stats to deal with: their own geocaching figures and those involving their rapidly-growing online readership.
Most days, nearly 300 cachers visit the site to check out the latest geo-news, product reviews and opinion pieces. Most hail from the United States, New Zealand, Australia and, more recently, Portugal – with representatives from geocache listing service provider Groundspeak, Geocaching Australia and GPSr-manufacturer Garmin regularly logging in.
Curiously, the blog’s development mirrors that of the duo’s geocaching hobbies. Peter, the younger of the two, began caching in his hometown of Dunedin in late 2009 after he upgraded to a new Blackberry phone with GPS functionality. Less than 50 finds later, he’d encouraged a fellow addict in Wellington-based Kylie.
Last August, when the impending birth of his third child began restricting his ability to rush out for a FTF, Peter created ‘It’s Not About The Numbers’ to satisfy his geocaching urges. His chosen masthead image shows the delight of his two-year-old at another successful hunt.
As before, within a few posts, Peter – whose geocaching handle refers to Cumberland College, the Otago University hall of residence he manages – had co-opted his journalist sister into joining him online.
Working together suits the pair, letting them maintain regular posts even when other responsibilities keep them busy – of particular note, Peter is a committee member on the New Zealand Recreational GPS Society and both Walkers are helping to organise the country’s first mega geocaching event being held in Dunedin next Labour Weekend. Some 500 geocachers, hailing from as afar afield as Australia and the United States, will descend on the southern city for this three-day event.
And much like their favourite geocache types differ (long bush walks and large containers for Peter, but cleverly disguised urban hides for Kylie), both bloggers prefer to cover opposing aspects of their hobby.
Recently kjwx confessed that she had cached naked in a feature on other seekers who enjoy going ‘au naturelle’, while her brother has explored the accuracy of the new Apple-affiliated GPS dongle Bad Elf, testing its worth in an iPad, iPhone 3 and iPhone 4 against his smartphone GPS, and two dedicated GPSr units, Garmin’s Etrex and Oregon 450.
You can check out these pieces – and help keep the pair’s online numbers up – at www.notaboutthenumbers.com