Some of you may remember when the Randonautica app became trending on TikTok. Marketing itself as a “create your own adventure” app, Randonautica takes your current GPS coordinates and generates a new set of coordinates for you to travel based on various keywords entered into a generator.
All you have to do is follow the on-screen instructions. The endpoint you reach will hopefully be tied to the intention you set before you embarked on the journey. By intention, I mean whatever travel purpose you’re talking about. For example, if you set your intention as puppies, you will venture out hoping to find puppies. If you focus enough on this intention, it could come true.
To generate these new coordinates, the application uses quantum number generators, a complex concept related to the behavior of atoms. The app’s creators claim that the adventurer’s intentions coupled with the app’s quantum theory can influence the coordinates generated.
This implies a relationship between intentionality and chance. The potential for existence of this relationship echoes manifestation – thinking something about existence – which leads me to wonder if our intentions can really change our reality. An idea like this is hard to articulate or prove, but it dances around the optimistic thought that we can make things happen when we really put our minds to it.
More tangentially, some users think this coordinate system might be related to simulation theory, the idea that life itself is the product of computer simulation (as in “The Matrix”). An app like Randonautica shows how eerily accurate a set of computer-generated coordinates can be in leading us to certain places. Randonautica may be just a small step into our simulation-based world.
By placing users on these randomly generated pathways, we send a shock through the system, and perhaps even reveal problems while doing so. If we really live in a simulation, our daily habits are very easy to anticipate. We go to the same cafes, walk the same sidewalks and take the same routes. By forcing ourselves to travel to random new locations, we are doing something unpredictable that the system may not be expecting. These sudden shifts in patterns could uncover various issues, or perhaps even allow you to cross into someone else’s reality along the way.
Whatever the logic behind the newly generated coordinates, the app seems to be working in mysterious ways. For example, creator Joshua Lengfelder was once led to an abandoned drum in the woods. Users said they were taken to the graves of two of their unknown relatives, a grandfather’s grave and the spot where a man was just shot.
One of the most alarming places – the one that blew up the app’s popularity – was the group of friends who were led to a suitcase with human remains inside. Lengfelder called it a “shocking” coincidence and findings like this were “never this.” [he] foreseen.”
Although there have been many unusual and frightening discoveries, many users report entertaining and exciting adventures. Some of these adventures include being led to a free food table, a friendly pup, and an inspirational sign that says “it’s your time.”
Other times, coordinates lead users to absolutely nothing meaningful, like a dumpster. However, sometimes it is the journey that counts and not the destination. The grandiosity of the adventure is a big part of Randonautica’s appeal, so it doesn’t have to be a failure to ultimately achieve nothing. Auburn Salcedo co-founder says “there’s no way not to find anything; there is something in everything.
Despite these neutral and positive experiences, I personally lean on the side of caution. Due to all the negative stories I’ve read or watched, I personally haven’t tried this app. At one point, rumors even swirled about the app being used for human trafficking. Although there were no credible reports of it, the potential was enough to get me shunned.
If you want to read a bit for yourself, Randonautica encourages users to report their findings. For this reason, there are many Reddit forums on the subject with virtually unlimited first-hand accounts.
Maybe the app is about something – the science behind quantum physics and how we can use that science to create our own adventures. Or maybe there is nothing behind it. It’s entirely possible that the human tendency to draw patterns between unrelated events is what drives these unusual adventures and coincidences more than the app itself.
Various mental processes such as self-fulfilling prophecy could be partly responsible for the results obtained during the Randonaut. Another possibility is the priming that we go through by setting our own intentions. By setting the intention before the voyage, we are initiated to seek the phenomena which confirm it. This causes our mind to filter out unrelated events and selectively focus on those that match our original intention. Closely related to these concepts is confirmation bias, or the tendency to buy information that confirms our existing beliefs.
Although I haven’t played with Randonautica myself, in the stories I’ve read it seems like a lot of those experiences lead the user to something that, if not a coincidence, is downright strange.
Whether Randonautica actually works scientific magic behind the screen or is an illusion that plays on our model-building tendencies, it does a phenomenal job of getting people out of the house and into the real world to experience a new experience. Because we live in an age riddled with technology, we have lost the desire to leave home for other entertainment. Randonautica encourages users to spend time exploring outdoors, and that’s something we could all use more of.
Anna Trupiano is a opinion columnist and can be reached at [email protected]