Why I play Pokémon Go while traveling
Ever wondered what happened to those people who went crazy after the release of Niantic’s Pokémon Go?
Yeah, well, some are still playing it (hint: me and my boyfriend) 😀
In case you are a Slowpoke (pun intended), Pokémon Go was released in 2016 as a mobile game and uses augmented reality and your phone’s GPS to locate and catch Pokémons in the wild. In just a few days the game became the most popular app, millions of people have downloaded it. Hey, it was even more popular than porn!
Back in the old days (it hurts to write it down, but I’m talking about the 90’s), I was a huuuge fan of Pokémon. I spent an entire summer (ok, maybe two summers) collecting and trading Pokémon stickers, learning all the names of these little creatures and watching the television series. Childhood well spent 😀
You might as well consider this my coming out: I love playing Pokémon Go. I’m an adult and I miiight have spent a few hours catching Pikachus in Budapest or chasing one for a few kilometers in Split. It’s crazy, I know. But so does taking selfies on Snapchat looking like a puppy, so don’t judge 🙂
Here are a few reasons why I enjoy playing Pokémon Go while traveling:
I get to see new sights
One of the main reason I play this game: I get to discover some hidden gems in every city.
You may think that the only way to play Pokémon Go is to be buried in your phone and hitting trees- it’s not 🙂 Actually the whole point of the game is to go outside and discover places!
There are these things called PokéStops that you need to visit in order to gain items to play the game. Here comes the traveling part of the game: these so-called PokéStops are real life monuments, landmarks, museums, historical buildings, unique facades or street art.
Not only are they marked on the map, but sometimes there is a brief description of the place as well.
I have discovered a lot of unique places while playing: from hidden murals to the house where Bartók Béla (a famous Hungarian composer) lived in Istanbul, from communist “street art” in my hometown, to historical buildings I never knew were important.
It makes you walk more
As if getting lost and trying to find my way in a city wasn’t enough 😀
The whole point of the game is to make you go outdoors and walk a lot. Which is really great, given the fact that we don’t see lots of kids nowadays running outside and playing like back in the 90’s (seriously, it hurts to write this down).
I have walked 539 kilometers while playing Pokémon Go (the game provided the numbers, I’m really not a lunatic, who’s recording every kilometer). And you know what? I enjoyed every single step!
Ever had that feeling after spending a day of exploring a new place that you just want to sleep for two days? Well, yeah, that’s not the case while you’re playing Pokémon Go 😀 There’s always a new landmark you want to visit, a new street you want to walk down or a Charmander just around the corner.
Seriously, have you ever tried chasing down a Bulbasaur in Barcelona after walking 20 kilometers a day? 😀
Pokémon Go connects people
This may not be the case anymore, but in the summer when it was released, it brought a lot of people together.
We met a bunch of
kids Pokémon trainers last summer in Croatia, and it was amazing. I get it, it sounds awesome strange: two (very cool) adults trying to fight for a Pokémon Gym with Croatian teenagers. (We won, by the way) 😀
It was a really unique experience meeting and speaking with them. It’s easy to connect with a local of your age- but to speak with teenagers in a foreign country is really not that easy. And the “I know what you did last summer”-style eye contacts with other players are priceless!
Pokémon Go makes you aware of your surroundings
You probably read a lot of scary stories about players getting robbed, finding corpses or getting in jail for playing the game.
While discovering new landmarks may sound exciting, there are certain places where chasing Pokémons is not only rude, but it can be considered an immoral or insensitive thing to do.
I was shocked to read last year that the Holocaust Memorial has “kindly asked that tourists refrain from catching Pokémon while on the grounds”.
Common sense and respect should always be the first things to chase while playing Pokémon Go and traveling. It may sound like an exotic Pokémon name for some because there were several cases where players forgot that some things are more important that playing.
Gotta catch ’em all!