Saturday in the Park...

Good Morning All -

After a great seafood-centric Bon Voyage Party at the Coast Restaurant, the participants started eyeing yours truly around 9PM for marching orders. Most teams have flown in from different time zones and are a tad jet-lagged, ye the excitement of it all are keeping them lively; so there was a great buzz of anticipation in the air: Where would be our first secret destination? When would we be flying? Would we be staying the night here in Vancouver? Can I get another one of those chocolate-covered toffee pieces? Who wants another nightcap? Questions, questions…

We then gave due notice to all that tomorrow (err, today…Saturday) would include an all-day orientation scavenger hunt leg here in Vancouver. So, after a mostly peaceful sleep in Vancouver’s tallest building that houses our hotel—the Zen-like Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver--we reconvened at 9:00AM sharp to begin.

Here is the before 2014 group photo:

(Always a little like herding cats...)

And so teams will have the opportunity today, before we get into a foreign environment, to see just how our minds work and how the game is to be played. This is an easy Par 1 9-5PM urban scavenger hunt in a world class city where everything works and everyone speaks English. Teams can get their feet wet (literally) doing scavenges and begin getting in the groove of being in perpetual motion quickly. I am sure there will be a lot of questions at our 5PM check-in.

ABOUT VANVOUVER:

We all pretend (those of us that spend a lot of time here) that Vancouver  with its mild temperatures--not too hot in summer or too cold in winter--and its spectacular location on Canada's Pacific Coast, is an amazing modern urban world-class city. It can be. Personally, for good or bad, I liken it to a Goldilocks City…one that has no edges, no extremes, somewhere in between a great city like San Francisco and an up an comer like Austin. Clearly, Vancouver wins accolades as one of the world's most livable cities: it is clean and beautiful, very international (53% of residents do not speak English as their first language and 35% of Vancouver's population is foreign born--the highest figure in the world!), the quality of life is good, and it thinks vertical (high-density urban living) and mostly works (just don’t drive downtown at rush hour as there are NO freeways anywhere to ease congestion!). That said, for someone who travels a lot, in spite of all it’s great scenery and flowers, it is rather vanilla—I happen to like vanilla don’t get me wrong—but it is quiet, polite, modest, easy-going and sublime (all in a good way!) In essence, it is Canadian through and through. And that is a good thing too.



That said, our teams will be busy today trying to complete at least nine scavenges before our 5PM check-in that will have them span out across Vancouver’s snowcapped mountains (Grouse, Seymour and Cypress) and out on the backdrop of its crystal blue harbors. They will walk across bridges, take subways, sky-trains and ferries (our personal favorite), bike though the grand urban oasis we call Stanley Park, drink beer, eat poutine and find out what a Japdog is…all in all, the makings of a great day having fun in a great city on a balmy sunny day. Before we head off to…

Stay tuned...more later today!

Please friend/like/follow us on Facebook...we will attempt to add Twitter insight (in 140 characters or less!?) and YouTube-like vines (6 second clips) if possible along the way.  I will also be writing periodic Huffington Post pieces along the way as well. So stay tuned.

Finally, remember that The Global Scavenger Hunt has always been about more than traveling around the world competing for The World's Greatest Travelers crown in the world travel championship... it is about helping others help themselves through the GreatEscape Foundation. This year, to celebrate our event's 10th anniversary, our goal is to fund 10 schools in places that really need them. Co-ed elementary schools at that. So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week and make a small one-time $25 online donation during the course of the 2014 event, we know a lot of kids needing an education that would thank you. Thank you all, because we all know that every little bit helps out a lot. (FYI: All individual donation names will be put in a hat and on May 3rd we will select a winner for a special fun prize—it will be worth much more than your $25+ donation!).Thank you!

 

The 2014 Tribe of Travelers

Welcome all!

We have yet another great around the world travel adventure competition in store for you over the next three weeks. So, let us begin...


The woulda, shoulda, coulda's don't matter. Next year rarely happens. We've heard the myriad of excuses...and the pretenders are no more.

As usual, only serious contenders make it to the starting line. Let me introduce the world to the 13 teams competing in 2014 travel world championship, the 10th edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt™. Joining us in 2014 we have:

1) The defending The World's Greatest Travelers™ title-holders, hailing from nearby here in British Columbia, a father/son Team, Gerry & Phil (The Ogopogos) (BTW: Congrats to Phil & Brittany...on your new daughter Amelia Mae born March 11th);

2) Next up, are three time former event champs--2009, 2010 & 2011 (and a 2nd place in 2008 and a 3rd place in 2012 too)--who are participating in their 7th event this year, from Houston, Texas, Zoe & Rainey (Lawyers without Borders);
 
3) We have, April & Travis (The Wanderers), from Austin, Texas who are participating for the 3rd time;

4) Also back for the third time, from Houston, Texas, David & Natasha (Team Silver Surfers);

5) And back for the third time participating with her older brother and event rookie, from Pensacola, Florida are Emily & Rainy Jr (Team Sister Act Two). BTW: Emily has three different partners on this event--Is this the year?

6) Then we are pleased to have back have a real dynamic duo that needed to come back for more after participating last year, Kim & Maria...affectionately known as the (The Retired Traveling Chicks).

7) Also, from last year, rebranded and ready for more, we have Erik & Casey (The Odd Couple) from Austin, Texas.

8) Then we have a mix n' match team, both second timers but with new partners, Angel & Jordan (Team Matzah Burrito)...Angel had a 23-day long smile on his face while participating in 2012!
 

Now the five newbie Teams...

11) First up, we have an old high school friend of mine (some of you might remember meeting him in Toronto last year) who is partnered with his wife from Ontario, Canada, Dan & Leslie (Team Heckarewee);

10) I like the make-up of this team, a mother and son team from Houston, Texas, Bettina & Johnathan (Team Bare Necessities);

11) A team that learned about the event reading one of my articles on the Huffington Post that has known each other for six years and hail from the East Coast, Michele & Vincent (The Geo Trekers);
 
12) Next, we have a couple Pamela and I met at the San Jose Travel & Adventure Show, they live and work in the Bay Area...Barbara & Dan (Team Carry On)...BTW: she's a physician and he's a computer consultant, and I hear for a reasonable fee they are available for consultations during the trip;
 
13) And last, but certainly not least, we have a husband and wife team from Las Vegas, Lucy & Peter (Team Chengdu Emily).

Welcome all of you...this year's competitors for The World's Greatest Travelers crown!

We expect to get to know everyone a little better this evening as folks start letting their hair down a little at our Bon Voyage Party after our Rules & Regulations orientation meeting. Stay tuned to insider info, gossip, photos, videos and more...

Please friend/like/follow us on Facebook...we will attempt to add Twitter insight (in 140 characters or less!?) and YouTube-like vines (6 second clips) if possible along the way.  I will also be writing periodic Huffington Post pieces along the way as well. So stay tuned.

Finally, remember that The Global Scavenger Hunt has always been about more than traveling around the world competing for The World's Greatest Travelers crown in the world travel championship... it is about helping others help themselves through the GreatEscape Foundation. This year, to celebrate our event's 10th anniversary, our goal is to fund 10 schools in places that really need them. Co-ed elementary schools at that. So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week and make a small one-time $25 online donation during the course of the 2014 event, we know a lot of kids needing an education that would thank you. Thank you all, because we all know that every little bit helps out a lot. (FYI: All individual donation names will be put in a hat and on May 3rd we will select a winner for a special fun prize—it will be worth much more than your $25+ donation!).Thank you!

 

Twas the night before...

Twas the night before....well, it is the night before the 2014 travel world championships start in Vancouver, Canada! Teams are assembling from various destinations and flying into YVR in order to meet up at the starting gate tomorrow at 4PM (16:00) for the start of The Global Scavenger Hunt—the 10th anniversary of the annual around the world travel adventure competition that ultimately crowns The World's Greatest Travelers™.

So, let the games begin...

My name is William Chalmers, and I will be this blog's narrator over the next 24-days as we circle the globe visiting 10 still secret destinations.

What is at stake for those participating in this travel adventure? Well, as mentioned, only The World's Greatest Travelers™ crown and trophy...and oh yea, a free trip around the world to defend your title in the next event. I hear bragging rights mean a lot too!

It is often asked, by prospective competitors, fellow travelers I meet, the media and travel professionals, just what does it take to be crowned The World’s Greatest Travelers? That is, what does it take to win The Global Scavenger Hunt...to win the travel world championships? That is a great question.

In a nut shell, the annual event challenges our travelers Travel IQ, situational awareness and logistical savvy. But there is a lot to that, including:

-mastering the art of a layover;
-efficiently getting from point A to point B when you are limited to public transportation;
-figuring out how to communicate when your native tongue fails;
-overcoming the marathon effects of jet lag through 24-time zones over 23-days;
-open to culinary challenges;
-sympathetic to cultural nuances;
-conquering potentially defeating team dynamics;
-standing up to the heat of competition:
-properly strategizing the event's risk/reward point system;
-allowing yourself to be immersed in authentic, challenging and participatory site-doing scavenges;
-...and not minding traveling the world for three weeks without knowing just where you are going next!

In a nutsehll, it takes a lot! Winning The Global Scavenger Hunt takes a big travel tool kit and acquired skill set; it takes luck, savvy, stamina, wits, creativity, efficiency, hope and optimitism.

Because from language barriers and cultural differences, to logistic snafus and severe jet lag, overcoming each set of challenges well becomes the difference between just surviving the event, doing well in the competition, and ultimately winning the coveted crown.

Over the years we have witnessed countless acts of tenacity and creativity on the part of our travelers in the name of performing their highly-participatory scavenges. We have watched teams, equally successfully—and not so successfully— endure our quick three-week lap around the world. Some do well, some don't. This travel adventure competition requires overcoming a lot of challenges, not the least of which are potentially volatile internal team dynamics, as well as, the obvious heat of the competition itself.

Based on our personal observations of former participants over the last nine events—both winners and losers alike—we have concluded that whatever team is to eventually be crowned the 2014 version of The World’s Greatest Traveler on May 3rd at the conclusion of our 23-day circumnavigation of globe, will have the following skill sets:

● the ability to admit that they are hopelessly lost—and then humbly ask for help;
● the cautious use of honest shoe-checks—and always having a temple shoe bag with them;
● knowing how and when to trust those short hairs standing alert on the back of your neck;
● the uncanny knack of never asking locals simple up/down, yes/no types of questions;
● the capacity for promptly identifying and quickly resolving any team dispute fairly;
● the ability to conduct on-the-fly problem solving in ever-changing contexts;
● the good common sense to start each day early (with a good breakfast!)—even after drinking late;
● a flair for packing quickly, effectively, and very, very lightly;
● the sagacity of asking the appropriate questions—before getting untimely lost;
● possessing the time-honored virtues: patience, compassion, stick-to-it-iveness, honesty and fairness;
● the wisdom to say enough is enough and letting go;
● the luck of the Irish;
● the politeness of a Canadian;
● the efficiency of a German;
● the chutzpah of an American;
● the wisdom that goes with understanding that "he who runs cannot walk with dignity"; 
● juggling effectively the need for flexibility, organization, scheduling and contingency planning;
● the self-awareness to know when to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the sunset—behind you;
● the gracious capacity and wisdom to listen, really listen, to others while they are talking;
● having the personal resolve it takes to regularly take several deep breaths while counting to ten;
● being a bit of a thrill-seeker and calculated risk-taker, who’s up for any challenge once—big or small;
● the good sense of always having some emergency toilet paper handy;
● knowing that when all else fails, the discrete application of a few bucks can sometimes facilitate;
● the innate gift for happily grabbing on to serendipitous opportunities when they arise out of the blue;
● the intuitive use of situational awareness to ward off potential pitfalls lying before you;
● knowing that you get out of things what you put into them: truly, nothing ventured, nothing gained;
● the fearlessness of adventurer Indiana Jones;
● the curiosity of Nancy Drew;
● the patience, tolerance, compassion and empathy of the Dali Lama;
● an excellent, timely, and regular utilization of your sense of humor;
● the wisdom to look for, and readily accept, the underlying good in all things; and,
● the capacity to be regularly humbled.

Oh yes, and the great ability to loosen up and have fun...while not take anything—including yourself—too seriously; because after all, The Global Scavenger Hunt is just a really big international game! Good luck all.

Tomorrow we meet our teams...stay tuned!
______________________________________
Please friend/like/follow us on Facebook...we will attempt to add Twitter insight (in 140 characters or less!?) and YouTube-like vines (6 second clips) if possible along the way.  I will also be writing periodic Huffington Post pieces along the way as well. So stay tuned.

Finally, remember that The Global Scavenger Hunt has always been about more than traveling around the world competing for The World's Greatest Travelers crown in the world travel championship... it is about helping others help themselves through the GreatEscape Foundation. This year, to celebrate our event's 10th anniversary, our goal is to fund 10 schools in places that really need them. Co-ed elementary schools at that. So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week and make a small one-time $25 online donation during the course of the 2014 event, we know a lot of kids needing an education that would thank you. Thank you all, because we all know that every little bit helps out a lot. (FYI: All individual donation names will be put in a hat and on May 3rd we will select a winner for a special fun prize—it will be worth much more than your $25+ donation!). Thank you!
 

One Week Until the Travel World Championship begins!

And what is at stake....not counting bragging rights and a free trip around the world to defend your title?


The Trophy of course for The World's Greatest Travelers...2014 edition!

....Are you ready?

A BIG Thank You to our 2014 Official Travel Suppliers!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Our travelers all love their official 2014 event gear and are packing for their around the world adventure...that begins in about 10 days!

Eagle Creek

Clöudz

Buffwear

Columbia

LOQI

The 2014 Event Swag Goodie Box...

Thank you all!