Fall Adventure – Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions thrown our way from travelers around the world wanting to participate in our inaugural 2018 Fall Adventure. As we try to be as transparent as possible, below is our best attempt at answering all the questions that have come our way. We hope it helps…

Q) What is The Global Scavenger Hunt?

A) The Global Scavenger Hunt™ (TGSH) is an annual around-the-world travel adventure competition that crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers™. The event takes an exclusive collection of thirty travelers (fifteen two-person teams) to ten secret countries (A Blind Date with the World™) over 23-days while circumnavigating the globe. In each of the ten mystery countries, teams perform/complete a series of highly participatory and culturally-oriented site-doing scavenges, thus proving testing their accumulated travel IQ and their travel savvy. The event is in fact, the annual travel world championships.

It has been called: the Olympics of travel, it is the Super BowlIndy 500X Games and the Kentucky Derby of travel adventures all rolled into one annual event that crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers. (One participant called it: “The Amazing Race for real travelers”.) It is an event that thoroughly tests the fluid situational travel intelligence of all participants. TGSH is all about creativity, having fun, being challenged, learning, getting out of your comfort zone, feeling alive, empowerment, novelty, spontaneity and allowing for serendipity…and trusting strangers in strange lands.

The annual event is designed for curious, adventurous spirits, and independent-minded travelers; and is an extremely hands-on one of a kind travel experience, filled with: secret missions, cryptic clues, special challenges, exotic off-the-beaten path backdrops, interesting cultures and amazingly colorful people, all entwined in a fascinating competition/adventure—while going around-the-world. It is a 21st century Travel 3.0 eventauthentic, challenging and participatory.

The event has taken place 14 times since its establishment in 2000, with winners not only being crowned The World’s Greatest Travelers, but winning a free trip around-the-world in order to defend their title in the next annual event. Breathtakingly fun.

Q) How does the 2018 Fall Adventure differ from The Global Scavenger Hunt?

A) While The Global Scavenger Hunt is a 23-day, three-week around-the-world event, our 2018 Fall Adventure is a shorter 15-day regional adventure. Our romantic travel philosophy remains the same, it is just shorter in duration, and thus, fewer countries will be visited because of that time constraint. We also won’t be circling the globe in 15-days, just visiting one continent.

The 2018 Fall Adventure (2018FA) is designed for curious, adventurous spirits, who relish an extremely hands-on and one-of-a-kind travel experience but may be pressed for time and wanting to participate in a shorter version of our longer annual event; one filled with trusting strangers in strange lands challenges, authentic off-the-beaten path backdrops, interesting cultures and amazingly colorful people, but also may be not competitively so—The World’s Greatest Travelers trophy will not be up for grabs.

The 2018 Fall Adventure will visit at least four (4) countries on one continent, not ten (10) countries on four or five continents. The 2018 Fall Adventure will take 15-days, not 23-days; and it will not be as competitive, but more self-satisfying in nature.

Our 2018 Fall Adventure hits on all the reasons people want to travel in the first place: to escape their daily routines; to take a real adventure; to get outside their comfort zones; to spend quality time with loved ones; to relax, rejuvenate and be inspired; to explore new lands and discover diverse cultures; to meet new people; to strength relationships; to learn something new; to challenge themselves; to expand their horizons; to be immersed in the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the smiles of new places; to celebrate their lives; to feed their wanderlust; to live in the moment longer than a moment; to become more interesting people/storytellers; and, to cross off items on their personal Bucket Lists.

If any of those are your unspoken “Why I travel” goals—have we got an adventure for you!

Q) When will the 2018 Fall Adventure take place?

A) The event will take place over 15-days, starting on October 13th and ending on October 27th, 2018. Our start/return destination is to be announced later. (Part of the mystery vacation!)

Q) Will it still be A Blind Date with the World?

A) In a word: YES!

Our 2018 Fall Adventure will indeed still be A Blind Date with the Worlddue to the fact that travelers joining the adventure will not know which continent or which four (4) countries they will be visiting over their 15-day adventure! It is designed this way to keep travelers in the dark as long as possible about their impending destination so that wonderful elements of surprise, mystery and anticipation can be maximized.

The result? No maps, no guidebooks, and none of the usual endless pre-trip online research and planning; but counterbalanced with an overwhelming amount of surprise, spontaneity and serendipity. It is the 21st century version of spinning the globe and throwing your finger at it—and that is sometimes how we set up the event course too!

Travelers will only learn of their impending destination when they are each given a “4-Hour Notice” …which is plenty of time to get to the airport to catch the next flight. Thrilling screamsExciting looks. Amazing words. Really!? Wow feelings…is usually what follows the announcements.

Q) Really!? No hints at all?

A) Well, just one…kind of.

Our 2018 Fall Adventure is called The Global Scavenger Hunt – WEST. Not north, not south, not east—but ←WEST!

Over the coming years, our special fall adventures will each be simply designated as such each year—­↑North, South↓, East→ & ←West—and thus we hope to keep the surprise intact yet cover the entire globe in the process over the years to come. You will have to ponder what that arrow designation actually means…

Really
though, it will be fabulous Blind Date with the World.  And what we I can tell you, based on taking hundreds of travelers to over 80 secret countries over the last 18 years, is that our annual event has always been about restoring the magic of travel, the celebration of different people and places, and sometimes serendipity is the key to regaining that illusive magic. Each and every year, we design a new international event course—no two years have ever been the same. It keeps us fresh, and everyone always guessing. And guess they do—and so will you!

Over the years we have visited a third of the world’s nations—85 to be exact. Yes 85, from Andorra to Zambia. They have included: Uruguay, Colombia, Ethiopia, Botswana, Oman, Tunisia, Estonia, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Japan, Fiji, Australia, Iceland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Peru and Taiwan, among scores of others.

Where we have, and haven’t been to

Q) Will the 2018 Fall Adventure still be competitive for travelers like the annual travel world championship event?

A) Yes, and no!

Yes, in a sense that travelers participating in the 2018 Fall Adventure will be able to compete with fellow travelers by earning points based on completing scavenges by devising their own risk-reward strategies: What scavenges you choose to do? What ones you choose not do? When and how you do them? We will keep track of the points/scores (as we do in our annual around-the-world travel competition) and we will then have winners. We have clear game rules that all the participants can follow.

So, yes it will be a lessor competition, but a competition nonetheless. People love this element. And by keeping the destinations a secret, it makes the event a true travel adventure competition in that all the teams must effectively hit the ground running by dealing with: foreign language barriers, confusing cultural differences, transportation and logistical challenges, team dynamics, the subtle heat of competition, and a few weeks worth of real-world and real-time creative problem solving. No one will have any prior knowledge, thus have any ability to have done any prior research on that secret destination. It makes our travelers feel alive playing a big game; a fun game in which no one really loses.

But, no, the 2018 Fall Adventure will not be as competitive as the annual travel world championship event. (If you want a serious challenge, apply for that event!) So, call it a starter event; because travelers participating in the 2018 Fall Adventure will not win either The World’s Greatest Travelers trophy and crown, nor the free trip around-the-world to defend that impressive title.

BUT, the winning team of travelers in the 2018 Fall Adventure will win special accolades (both physical and psychic) along with the right to participate in the next edition of the of The Global Scavenger Hunt at a $15,000 discount in their entry fees. So, yes, there is technically $15,000* at stake for the winning team of the 2018 Fall Adventure! Cool huh?

* Please see: 2018 Fall Adventure – Terms & Conditions for details.

Q) Why not just offer prize money?

A) We did that back in 2002, on the inaugural around-the-world event we conducted; it was not pretty. Instead of bringing out the best in travelers, it brought out the worst. We were not pleased; nor were some participants. Life is too short to spend time with liars and cheaters. Since then, we have taken the cash/money off the table, still made winning worthwhile (ego-boasting esteem, notoriety and special comradery versus money, more stuff and winner-take-all ethos) and everyone is much happier in the end—and the better angels of our nature are ever-present. Thirteen events later it is still true…save one or two bad apples.

We think that a $15,000 discount on entry fees into the next edition of the of The Global Scavenger Hunt is motivation enough for those of a truly competitive nature, and not everyone is; some of our travelers just want to have fun with the experience and play without expectations. We think we honor that type of involvement, yet maintain a competitive credibility.

Q) How will we know where the adventure will start and end from?

A) We will determine our departure and return city 45-days prior to our 2018 Fall Adventure, when all participants will be informed where our departing/returning North American city will be. It will be up to them to get there by October 13th…and know that your magical mystery adventure will end on Oct 27th.

Q) Why would anyone take A Blind Date with the World like 2018 Fall Adventure?

A) If we had a dime for everyone who has contacted us since we started our around-the-world event in 2000, we could retire…people love the idea!

Believe it or not, people really like surprises. Psychologically speaking, people are known to thrive when serendipity comes into their lives. It is a scientific fact—our senses are heightened, and we feel more alive. Yep, it’s true, some people have great sense of adventure lurking in them…sweet anticipation.

Many travelers love the idea of not knowing where they are going, because not everyone likes spending endless hours of their limited free time researching possible destinations, planning logistics, and then booking their trips. People tend to overthink options and the details, often creating a too much analysis leads to paralysis mindset; others suffer severe bouts of buyer’s regret wondering if they got the best deal. Who needs the stress some say. Other folks just don’t have the time, and of course no two travel companions can always agree on where exactly they should go. Who needs the relationship strain. More importantly though, and another scientific fact, is that too much Internet research surfing leads to inflated expectations, that sadly cannot be met.

So, what better way to avoid those pitfalls and enjoy something by not having any expectations or preexisting biases attached to their experiences, knowing that they will see all the best things and enjoy all the most exhilarating experiences. And that is where our almost two decades worth of real world, real destination planning experience comes into play: We have personally visited hundreds of global destinations (passed the 100-country mark 20 years ago) and have taken our larger annual event to over 85 countries to date. We are travel professionals, experts with real-world experience; we know where to look, what to book, and what the most compelling things to see and do in every destinations we go are—that is our job, and we are very, very good at it.

Surprise adventures are thrilling; and we know this from the personal feedback we have gotten from taking hundreds of travelers around the world for almost two decades. We have learned first-hand that open, curious travelers always embrace the unexpected.

But, if you hate surprises and international intrigue, and want to control everything, frankly, this adventure might not be for you.

Q) Okay, what do I need to travel on the 2018 Fall Adventure, bottom-line?

A)  As they say, when there is a will–there is  a way. You will need fifteen days off starting October 13th, the US$7,450 per person entry fees, and a valid passport…bottom-line. How much courage and curiosity you pack is your call.

Of course there will be some unavoidable paperwork: Terms & Conditions and Liability Agreements.


Q) Who can participate in
Fall 2018 Adventure?

A) Our 2018 Fall Adventure is open to all travelers; meaning that anyone who feels that they are open to not knowing and have the right stuff may apply*. However, the 2018 Fall Adventure is designed for an exclusive group of just 12 two-person teams—that means just twenty-four travelers can go. First-come, first-serve.

We expect travelers from around the world to join us too: we have Canadians, Aussies and Americans already signed up. Teams will no doubt come in all shapes and sizes too: travel mates, old friends, husband-wife, mother-daughter/son, father-son/daughter, grandparents-grand kids (we love multi-generational travelers…truly extraordinary bonding experiences), couples, sisters, and even complete strangers, ranging in age from 18 to 80.

Needless to say—but we will anyway—that no one will be discriminated against participating in the Fall 2018 Adventure on the bias of: race, color, ethnicity, country of origin, sex, weight, height, sexual orientation, age (must be over 13 and accompanied by a legal guardian), residence, religion, IQ, fashion sense, political leanings or hair color. We do indeed run an equal opportunity travel adventure.

Q) I’m currently low on friends or family that can travel with me. Can I apply as a single?

A) Yes, you can. Again the 2018 Fall Adventure is an “open” international adventure and anyone who feels that they are curious adventurous souls may apply. We get a lot of applications from passionate single travelers needing to be paired up with equally remarkable travelers. Here’s how it works…

You have two choices: 1) travel by yourself and pay the double-occupancy premium* (See: Terms & Conditions); or 2) let us find you an acceptable travel partner for you to travel with.

What we do is process all legitimate applications—yes, ready-made teams are easier to process and more likely to participate given our 24 travelers limit—but after those slots are filled, and we still have space available, we then attempt to match up single applicants as likely travel mates. Past being prologue, about 80% of our travel teams come ready-made, while about 20% are in need of being matched up for the adventure by our crack event staff.

So, you know, good travelers are good travelers, and obviously only like-minded folks would even think about participating in this adventure, so you are half-way there because clearly all our travelers come packed with a great amount of curiosity and tolerance for others, as well as high levels of the O-Factor—an openness to new experiences, new ideas and new people. That is what it takes to partake in such a giant global leap of faith—taking a trip to somewhere unknown.

* We dislike the travel & tourism business model of “based on double occupancy” as much as anyone (we travel a lot solo), but the fact is, traveling with a mate means sharing the costs of a hotel room, whereas traveling solo gives you more space and privacy, but you can’t share the costs.

Q) Can you give me a few real examples of previous scavenges?

A) Yes, of course. Because we will be visiting at least four (4) countries, the 2018 Fall Adventure will be broken into differing legs of varying lengths—sometimes one day, sometimes four, but usually two-three days. Of course, we want you to see and do all the best things in each destination we visit, and the scavenger hunt lists (aka proprietary crafted and copy-write protected instructions/guidebooks) will all include a great list of optional activities for you to do and novel ways to experience them. They run the gamut: natural wonders, World Heritage Sites, adrenaline rushes, culinary hotspots, nightlife, chance encounters, special events, history, art, special adventures, and meeting uniquely talented locals; maybe even having the opportunity to do some volunteer work if you wish too.
  
Remember three things: 1) they are all optional—you don’t have to do anything—but we think that they might be fun for you to do; 2) all our participatory site-doing scavenges are designed for you to meet new people (trusting strangers in strange lands) and be fully engaged and immersed in the destination we are visiting; and 3) how you organize your activities, what each day on the adventure looks like—is entirely up to you!

Basically, the 2018 Fall Adventure will be modeled after our annual around-the-world travel adventure competition. All our travelers/Teams will each be given the same scavenger hunt lists at the same time at the beginning of each leg. (We are told that, “…it is like Christmas morning opening up new wrapped surprise gifts every few days.”) Then you and your travel mate figure out what you feel compelled to complete for your own self-satisfaction—and then do them.

Here is a short list of the types of WOW’s we will be putting before you:

1. (Vietnam) Take a four-hour market-to-table cooking class at your choice of schools (not at any hotel) that includes market buying, tasting and cooking. Suggestions include…

2. (Cambodia) Purchase a mix of supplies (Suggestions include: a dozen note books, scores of pens and pencils, a few soccer balls, 20-tubes of toothpaste, a dozen bottles of shampoo, or tins of cookies) at Psar Thmei; then deliver your supplies to either of these legitimate vetted Phnom Penh area orphanages…

3. (Denmark) Ask three Danes (not at any hotel) to explain what hygge culture means to them. See if you can get someone to tell you a joke about their neighbors the Swedes. Video please.

4. (Sri Lanka) Have a chat with a wandering monk (not at any hotel) and ask them about their Buddhist beliefs. Specifically, what are the “three poisons” of Mahayana Buddhism? Find out why they became a monk?

5. (Nepal) Visit Chitwan National Park and take a photo safari: locate a black rhino while atop an Asian elephant. Bonus points for taking a royal Bengal tiger photo.

6. (Zimbabwe-Zambia) Technically, there are five ways to cross the Zambezi River (helicopter, kayak, walk, car or zipline) between these two countries; use three of them during your stay in the area.

7. (Russia) Rent a bicycle while in St. Petersburg to complete at least three of your local scavenges.

8. (Argentina) While in Buenos Aires, figure out how to experience a Puerta Cerrada(closed door private home) restaurant experience. What did you eat? Who did you share your dinner with?

9. (Peru) Taste Test Time: Find and visit what is considered Lima’s best cebicheria and sample 3-types of Peruvian ceviche: sweet, spicy & bitter. Which do you prefer?

10. (Morocco) Take the Marrakesh Express from Casablanca and purchase some babouches in the ancient souk.

11. (Jordan) Ride a four-legged beast at sunrise or sunset through the siq to find the ancient city of Petra.

Doing the scavenges is just part of the adventure, one of many unique aspects of our special adventures. Our travelers will also appreciate the unique challenges of visiting at least four (4) secret and diverse environments (urban, rural, big city, small village, hot, wet, cool, dry, coastal, mountainous) and dissimilar countries (democratic, authoritarian, developed, undeveloped, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, rich, poor). After conducting fourteen successful global events to date, it is clear to us that the travelers that have the most fun all exhibit a special combination of exceptional qualities, including: 1) they are curious …having an innate Indiana Jones-daring and an outgoing thirst for adventure; 2) they have a keen sense of situational awareness …being able to quickly size up and adapt to any situation in any environment; 3) they know when to cut their loses…being able to readily anticipate obstacles before they occur and quickly figure out a Plan B—or Plan C; and maybe the most important asset of all, 4) they possess great people skills and are confident enough with themselves to trust strangers in strange lands and ask for help. Ironically, the key to winning our annual travel world championship event, and truly enjoying our 2018 Fall Adventure are the same—letting go, having fun and saying yes!

Ask yourself: Am I that type of traveler? Do you want to be?

Q) Okay, you got me! How do I apply and how much does it cost?

A) Thank you, please apply online to submit your 2018 Fall Adventure application. We will then be in touch with you.

The 2018 event entry fee is US$7,450 per person (US$14,900 per team). The entry fee includes: all your international airfare to and from our North American departure/return city, all your hotels between October 13 and October 27, about 40% of your meals, and transportation from each airport to our hotels. We will also have two major hospitality events, a Bon Voyage Party where you will meet all the other teams for the first time in our North American departure city, as well as our Home Again Party on our last night together. We also plan on having one or two additional spontaneous hospitality events on the road in exotic locales during downtimes. In addition to these practical issues, we have been known to put together spectacular pre-departure travel goody boxes (read: swag), that includes some great travel-related gear we procure from travel providers & event sponsors, along with some of our own official travel adventure-related gear—think: T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats.

Please see:  2018 Fall AdventureTerms & Conditions for exactly what is and what is not included.

Q) I want to do it but I can’t go in 2018; how can I Bucket List this adventure for me?

A) Great… Bucket List us here, and we will keep you in the loop in regards to future adventures.

Here is our 2018 Fall Adventure, aka The Global Scavenger Hunt←WEST Brochure.


Q) Is it all togetherness and socializing for 15-days while we travel on the 2018
Fall Adventure?

A) No, not really. This adventure is designed for independent travelers. But yes, you will see your fellow travelers and be able to swap war stories at our (always optional) hospitality events. And of course, you will see your fellow travelers while traveling to and from our destinations as we all travel on the same flights, and you will probably encounter a few of your fellow travelers conducting some of your (always optional) destination scavenges. But we promise you, that no two sets of travelers will ever do the same scavenges A to Z—there are just too many to choose from and they are too random…so, it just doesn’t happen with the wildly varied options you are given. Plus everyone has their own schedules: morning people, night people, afternoon nap people…

So, long and short of it…you can socialize as little or as much as you really want to and as others are willing to indulge you. Some travelers love sharing their stories with other travelers, some don’t. Some travelers always seem to end each day at the hotel bar, some don’t. To thy own self be true

BTW: We have had life-long friends meet on our adventure. We have had marriages as a result of our journey…and even had few babies made too! No divorces though…fingers crossed.

Q) What type (or style) of travel can we expect? Backpack and camping, or is it suitcases and spas? What kind of hotels will we be booked into?

A) Someplace comfortably in between. Remember our Goldilocks Theory of Travel…. just right.

First off, savvy travelers know that one roller bag and a small day pack will most certainly do you for any length of time. Less is more. Camping equipment is not necessary during this experience, as you will have comfortable first-class hotels (5-star and 4-star properties) available each and every night over the 15-day adventure–although safaris and over-night cruises could occur. But frankly, we do stay in really nice places—and I will tell you why.

Our adventure is designed for you to go out into your new and exotic environment, wherever that may be, for a full days’ worth of highly participatory, engaging and interactive site-doing. You may be gone from dawn until late in the evening conducting thrilling scavenges while getting from here to there. We want you to be doing stuff, having unique experiences and creating lasting memories. But, we don’t want you to worry a wit about where you are staying. So, we take care of, book, and prepay all that infrastructure well in advance for you.

So, yes, they will be clean, safe places. Yes, you can get something to eat there. Yes, you can meet others in the bar there for a night cap. Yes, you can get online to blog, Skype/Facetime or conduct important business if necessary. Yes, you can do laundry if you need to. And yes, you can even pamper yourself with all the amenities of home after a long day if you desire. So, to that end, yes, we have stayed at some really off-the-chart nice places over the years —all comfortable first-class hotels (5-star and 4-star properties); sometimes big places, sometimes boutique hotels, sometimes palaces, sometimes heritage hotels, sometimes glamping, sometimes once-in-a-lifetime properties, and most of the time all great places. Here’s a list of a few of our favorite global hotels we have actually stayed with in the longer annual around the world event The Global Scavenger Hunt.

Q) Over and above the entry fees, how much out-of-pocket money will I need?

A) This is one of the hardest question to answer. It truly varies from person to person, team to team, place to place.

But here is what we can tell you: We get both wealthy Type-A travelers as well as more-will-than-wallet penny-pinching adventurers; knowing that, we have organized the adventure so that the team that throws around the most money will not have any more fun than others—okay, maybe a little! But know that our fundamental travel philosophy is not about whoever can spend the most has the most fun; it is about one-on-one personal experiences and doing extraordinary things—not buying more stuff.

Moreover, the highly participatory culturally-oriented scavenges themselves are all optional and are not expensive endeavors, ever. You always have the option to pick and choose which site-doing scavenges you want to do and which ones you can do; and the expensive scavenges are marked ($$$). More is simply not the goal here.

That said, this is a practical question that demands a practical answer. So, here it is: people have different needs, wants and desires. We are comfortable telling you that on average your team will probably spend on average between US$75 to $125 a day out-of-pocket. And that depends on how much you drink, which optional scavenges you do, what, how much and where you eat, what you buy along the way as souvenirs, how much you pamper/indulge yourself, and what style and class of public transportation you employ. A train is just as fast in coach as in first class—but the cost is very different! And of course, traveling in places on the Indian-subcontinent or sub-Sahara Africa tend to be a tad cheaper than Northern Europe or the Gulf States. As they say, your mileage may vary, but think between US$75 to $125 a day.

Money talk aside, we like to think that we have turned everyone that participates into Thrillionaires.

Q) Okay so, if I don’t know where I am going, what about visas?

A) Great question. After all we will be visiting at least four (4) countries on the Fall 2018 Adventure. We usually are required to organize a few so-called visas-on-arrival for travelers in advance without our traveler’s knowledge. On the rare occasion that we do need a tourist visa before we depart (read: Russia, Brazil, etc.), we let everyone know with more than enough time and instructions on how to obtain those visas. Frankly, most places are still rather easy to get into with only a valid passport, the filling out of a simple form, and maybe a few bucks.

Q) Again, I don’t know where I am going, what about getting the shots or inoculations I might need?

A) Another good practical question. Travelers are always asking us about shots and inoculations, and obviously we are not medical professionals (and you of course need to consult with your own family physician) …but, what we always suggest is to make sure that all your measles-mumps-rubella (MMR and MMRV) vaccine, Hep A, Tetanus/Diphtheria (Td and Tdap)and Typhoid/Polio pricks are all up to date (aka boosters).

As far as mosquitoes go, in the past, I would say that just about 25% of our travelers go on some type of anti-malaria regime. It is their personal choice, as everyone has their own risk tolerance and health and safety thresholds. We also suggest that people look into a new drug called Dukoral that is a cholera vaccine. Always bring a DEET bug spray with you.

Obviously, your safety and health on the road are our prime concern, so please take all necessary precautions. Make good choices and know that what we say here is no substitute for a personal consultation with your qualified medical professional. Nuff said


Q) Do I need travel insurance?

A) 
Everyone is different and has a different set of personal risk factors, real and psychological. We will not play the fear card here.

That said, we highly recommend that you always protect your travel investment and hedge yourself financially from any and all unforeseen out-of-the-blue mishaps. If you can’t self-insure and are in need of travel insurance, our Adventure Coordinator can help you wade through some competitive travel insurance rates. Be smart.

Q) Will we travelers be safe everywhere we go on 2018 Fall Adventure?

A) Of course, the long and the short of it, and truly the only honest answer we can give you is that, no one really knows, right. Shit happens!

Yet, contrary to the nightly cable news shows promotion of the Mean World Syndrome, we are living in the most peaceful and safest time in human history. The world is not going to hell in a hand basket. Don’t mistake the headlines for the trend-lines. Sure, there are a handful of civil wars taking place within a few pockets of resistance still simmering in the worldAfghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Somalia, Darfur/South Sudan, Syria, and Eastern Ukraine recently. You could add the Gaza Strip and parts of Chicago to that list. But the indisputable reality is that we are living in a 96% conflict-free and safe to travel world. Frankly, as students of international relations and personal relationships, that is unprecedented. I’ll take those odds anytime. The world is being pacified (for good or bad) by democracy, the United Nations, literacy, globalization, social media, urbanization, rising incomes and secularization. Collectively, it is all having a positive effect on reducing violence in the world. And that is great news!

Statistically speaking, traveling is 40 times safer than staying at home. And our savvy travelers all listen to the little hairs on the back of their necks. Knock on wood…never had a bad encounter yet after 14 circumnavigations to 85 countries with hundreds of travelers. Not one bad encounter! Think about that. (Sure, there have been a few taxi cab rip-offs, but that’s it!)

And forget about random acts of terrorism too. According to Brian Jenkins, one of the world’s foremost terrorism experts at the RAND Institute, “It is statistically so unlikely that a traveler will be a victim of terrorism that we’d be better off telling people how to avoid lightning.” And of course, we agree—avoid lightening. As participants in the 2018 Fall Adventure, we have several things working in our favor that help keep us out of harm’s way: 1) we have no known predictable travel route, internationally or locally, for anyone to plot or plan against; 2) we don’t travel with any visible corporate logos and signs; 3) we don’t even really travel as a group save for a couple specially-planned cultural events or to-and-from the airport; 4) we are all seasoned travelers with a greater understanding of a travelers best friend on the road—situational awareness; and finally, 5) we all know how to blend in and trust our well-honed instincts.

Of course, bad things can and do happen on the road: ordinary petty crime, crimes of opportunity, car accidents, food poisoning, and the odd ferry or train disasters. But those things take place in our own communities too. So, yes you will be safe, we would not take anybody anyplace we would not take our kids (and we do!) to, and we want to come home safe and sound too. So be vigilant, be smart and be careful and you will have fun.

Q) I’m not a marathon runner. What is the physical degree of difficulty for participating in 2018 Fall Adventure?

A) A good question. The 2018 Fall Adventure is not an athletic competition. It is also not a silly stunt-filled reality TV drama like TheAmazing Race. On the flip side, it is nota sleep-on-the-beach resort vacation or a prepackaged on-off bus tour serving three square gluttonous meals a day either. You will be engaged daily in extraordinary activities.

The 2018 Fall Adventure is what we would call a soft adventure, not a physically grueling hard adventure. It is an adventure of the mind and spirit, rather than body. In the past, our anything but average travelers, have been between the ages of 13 and 80—we won’t hold the young at a disadvantage for lack of wisdom, just as we will not hold the more mature at a disadvantage for their lack of youthful athleticism. We always say that if you can take a good walk in the noon-day sun, albeit the Equatorial noon-day sun, you should be okay.

That said, traveling is not easy…so, get in shape (walk around the block a few times with your bags is always eye-opening), do yoga, bike, run, swim, hike, eat right and take your vitamins.

Q) Again, I don’t know where I am going, how am I supposed to pack for 15-days?

A) Who knows? Our best advice is simple: If you can’t carry it, don’t take it. Because at the end of the day it will be in your best interest to pack as functionally light as possible.

That said, we will give you a weather report forecast one week before we leave to fill in the what-if packing blanks. But remember, in our humble opinion, fall is the best time to travel the globe: No rainy season. No tourists. Not too cold yet. Maybe even an Indian summer in Northern Hemisphere and an early spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Like we mentioned earlier, a single roller-bag and a small day pack should suffice. Remember, they have stores in the rest of the world—and laundromats too!

In all seriousness, we will provide all team competitors with a packing list as the event’s start draws closer.

Q) Can I bring and use my (fill in the blank) iWatch/smart phone/tablet/laptop?

A) Yes, of course. Our traveler’s will be blogging, writing articles, corresponding with family and friends, and even conducting what we suppose is important business while they are traveling. That is the nature of being away from it all in the 21st Century—we stay connected!?

That said, our philosophy is that we want you to interact with locals, to trust strangers in strange lands, not Google when a temple opens, get a reservation at a restaurant, or use maps to get you there!? We want you to ask directions. It is good to get lost once in a while. So, we would prefer you get off the grid—but to each his own.  But we promise at the end of two weeks, you will thank us for trying…


Q) I have never really traveled internationally, is that a problem?

A) Well, yea probably!? We want to make sure we’re not committing travel malpractice by allowing some greenhorn cruise addict to travel who would seriously have no business traveling to some off-the-beaten track destination. Can you just imagine if we dropped some neophytes in Delhi for three days and just said “Go do your list of scavenges“!? Jeez, we may never see them again.

The Fall 2018 Adventure is for the most creative, curious and travel savvy globetrotters and travel enthusiasts out there. Participants should have some working knowledge and experience in dealing with spontaneous travel circumstances and snafus, dealing with different cultures, logistics and language barriers. Having said that some people know a lot after traveling through just a few countries, while some folks are still, well, not so competent, after visiting 100 countries. It is quality not

 If you have any additional questions, please e-mail us: 2018FA {at} GlobalScavengerHunt.com.

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