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!
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?