Some of you might remember when the app Randonautica became a trend 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 to based on various keywords entered into a generator.
All you have to do is follow the directions on the screen. The endpoint you reach will hopefully relate back to whatever intention you set for yourself prior to embarking on the trip. By intention, I mean whatever trip goal you conjure up. For example, if you set your intention as puppies, you will be venturing around in hopes of finding puppies. If you focus on that intention enough, it might just come true.
To generate these new coordinates, the app uses quantum number generators — a complex concept relating to the behavior of atoms. The app’s creators say the adventurer’s intentions paired with the app’s quantum theory can influence the generated coordinates.
This implies a relationship between intentionality and randomness. The potential of this relationship to exist echoes closely to manifesting — thinking something into existence — leading me to wonder whether our intentions truly can change our reality. An idea such as this one is difficult to articulate or prove, but it dances around the optimistic thought that we can make anything happen when we truly set our minds to it.
More tangentially, some users believe this coordinate system could be related to simulation theory, the idea that life itself is the product of a computer simulation (like in “The Matrix”). An app like Randonautica shows how eerily accurate a set of computer-generated coordinates can be in leading us to certain locations. Maybe Randonautica is just one small step into our simulation-based world.
By setting users out on these randomly generated pathways, we are sending a shock through the system, and maybe even revealing glitches while doing so. If we are truly living in a simulation, our day-to-day habits are very easy to anticipate. We go to the same coffee shops, walk the same sidewalks and drive the same routes. By forcing ourselves to travel to new, random places, we are doing something unpredictable that the system may not expect. These sudden changes in patterns could unveil various glitches, or maybe even allow you to cross over into somebody else’s reality along the way.
Whatever the logic behind the newly generated coordinates, the app seems to work in mysterious ways. For example, creator Joshua Lengfelder was once led to an abandoned drum in the woods. Users reported being led to the graves of two of their unknown relatives, a grandfather’s grave and the location where a man was just shot.
One of the most alarming locations — the one that made the app’s popularity explode — was the group of friends who were led to a suitcase with human remains inside. Lengfelder called this a “shocking” coincidence and discoveries such as this one were “never what [he] intended.”
Although there have been many unusual and chilling findings, many users report entertaining and exciting adventures. Some of these adventures include being led to a table of free food, a friendly puppy and an inspiring sign that says “it’s your time.”
Other times, the coordinates lead users to absolutely nothing significant, such as a dumpster. However, sometimes it is the journey that matters and not the destination. The grandiosity of the adventure is a large part of Randonautica’s appeal, so it is not necessarily a failure to ultimately arrive at nothing. Cofounder Auburn Salcedo claims “there is no way to find nothing; there is something in everything.”
Despite these neutral and positive experiences, I personally lean toward the side of caution. Due to all the negative stories I have read or watched about, I personally have not tried this app. At one point, there were even rumors circling regarding the app being used for human trafficking. Though there are no credible reports of this, the potential was enough to make me steer clear.
If you are interested in reading a bit on your own, Randonautica encourages users to report on their findings. Because of this, there are many Reddit forums regarding the topic with virtually unlimited firsthand accounts.
Maybe the app is onto 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 is quite possible that the human tendency to draw patterns between unrelated occurrences is what drives these adventures and unusual coincidences more than the app does itself.
Various mental processes such as the self-fulfilling prophecy could be partially responsible for the results experienced when Randonauting. Another possibility is the priming we go through by setting our own intentions. By setting the intention before the journey, we are primed to look for phenomena which confirm it. This causes our minds to filter out the unrelated occurrences and selectively focus on the ones that match our original intention. Confirmation bias, or the tendency to buy into information which confirms our existing beliefs, is closely linked to these concepts.
While I have not toyed with Randonautica myself, of the stories I have read, it seems a large amount of these experiences lead the user to something that if not coincidental, is outright strange.
Whether Randonautica is actually working scientific magic behind the screen or if it is all an illusion that plays on our pattern-building tendencies, it does a phenomenal job of getting people out of the house and into the real world to live a new experience. Because we are living in an era riddled with technology, we have lost the desire to leave the house to entertain ourselves in other ways. Randonautica encourages users to spend time outside exploring, and this is something we could all use more of.
Anna Trupiano is an Opinion Columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.