GSH2015 - the gals

The World’s Greatest Travelers of 2015 are…

The end is near…of the adventure that is.

The teams all checked in on time at the Biscayne Bay-front Blue Water café (thank you William!) for at the conclusion of our Miami leg for the 2015 crowning ceremony of The World’s Greatest Travelers.

We were pleased to have some surprise Global Scavenger Hunt alum come out; Margarita and Demetrius (aka Miami in the Mix) and Michael Roberts (aka Traveling Tigers), participants of our 2013 event. After handing out teams their “I survived…” t-shirts tallying the Miami leg score sheets, the ceremony began…

The first order of business was to name the winner of annual player’s pool. In Los Angeles at the Bon Voyage party we asked everyone to guess which countries they would be visiting on their Blind Date with the World. It is always entertaining for us to see their guesses. This year the winning number was 4 of 10 (actually a good year as percentages go!) and it was tie split between Jim and Erik who split the pot.

Then we had to honor the team that stayed in the cheapest hotel room on the 3rd day of the European leg with a fine bottle of French champagne. The winners stayed in a US$46 (not Euro) room in Montpellier, France—the Sydney Sisters showed their true commitment earning an extra 100 points as well as some bubbly.

Each participant the received an official and individualized Circumnavigator’s Certificate honoring their achievement of circling the globe in one trip. For one traveler it was their 13th such trip. Others counted their 8th and a few others weighted in with 6 and few with four. All serious achievements, too bad there is no real organization to join other than our own fraternity and that honors Enrique of Malacca (Magellan’s room boy) as the first to circumnavigate the globe in 1521.

Then we announced the winners of the Miami leg (Par 1)…as it had no bearing on the final results only bragging rights were involved. And just as the Sydney Sisters defended their nation’s pride in winner the home court Melbourne leg, an America team dug down deep to protect the home turf. It was somewhat a surprise because the Sydney Sisters were looking for a first ever event clean sweep from start to finish. But it was not to be as Buns and Bird completed one more scavenge finally breaking through and earning first place in the Miami leg. Good job guys, we all know you worked hard to make it happen today. (BTW: I would be neglect if I did not bring up the fact that 2004 event we held was actually won on the last day when one team left one scavenge uncompleted! Yep, we still remember that—and we are sure they do too!)

Before the main event however, we honored the primary reason that this event is held each year—to help others help themselves through the efforts of the Great Escape Foundation’s work. We are not one’s to hit people over the head with charitable giving as we truly believe that anonymous giving is always the most noble giving…but please indulge me for a minute as I boast about our Foundation. We started the GreatEscape Foundation well over a decade ago, and over the years some of our teams have personally visited and helped out worthy causes at: Tibetan refugee camps in Nepal, orphanages in Laos, hospitals in Cambodia, homeless schools India, hospices in Manila, disabled facilities in Sri Lanka, and more…
For some, those efforts have been life changing. (In fact, Margarita the alum with us just came back from performing a month’s worth of volunteer work in Cambodia as a direct result of her doing the same for a few hours back in 2013!)We have done some great things over the years too funding ten schools: 1 in Niger, 1 in Ecuador, and 1 in India, 2 in Sri Lanka, 2 in Sierra Leone, and 3 in Kenya…we know we are changing the lives of thousands of kids—especially young girls! And we have help build the Tamensa Medical Clinic in Niger for migrating Tuareg nomads…and a Nurse training center there too… again, we know that we saved lives and have bettered the lives of hundreds. With the Foundation’s microloan efforts, we have helped over 1300 families in more than 55 countries to date too—mostly women/mother entrepreneurs. And this year, as a direct result of this event, we will do more…including helping out the victims of the tragic Nepali earthquake—a country we have visited twice in the past. Good job to all that assisted and thank you to all that have given.

Finally, we all know The Global Scavenger Hunt is the world travel championship, and like any competition with a trophy and prize attached, one Team has to win. So without further ado…The Miami leg of course did not affect our standings coming out of Europe and Colombia, and that means that:

In 3rd Place: Are just great wonderful travelers who for eight consecutive years now have truly embrace the spirit in which we created this event back in 2000…it being all about site-doing…about trusting strangers in strange lands…about going for it…and about getting out of our comfortable default positions and daily routines. Zoe and Rainey are four time champions and last year’s defending champions…but they are champions no more…we all know them as Lawyers without Borders (Zoe and Rainey)! Congrats on third place—you have medaled in each and every year you have participated.

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Lawyers without Borders (Zoe & Rainey), Defending champs no more…3rd place in 2015.

In 2nd Place: Another team we have all really grown fond of on this 2015 adventure…a team that also embraced what this event is all about; they worked hard, kept on coming with energy and joy…and had a lot of fun doing it too…they were both always easy with their smiles and welcoming in conversations…in second place is a team with true travel bona fides no one can question—Buns & Bird (Tania & Mickey)! Great job you guys, proud of you both!

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Buns & Bird (Mickey & Tania) not only newlyweds and 2nd place finishers…but #1 in our hearts!

And of course that means that the Sydney Sisters (Fiona & Katrina) have fully redeemed themselves from their 2012 second place (always a bride maid) showing…they almost swept the event from the first leg to last…they just never stopped…but we know they had an amazing time and earned this trophy with their hard work…and I am pleased that they are the winners, the worthy winners of the 2015 world travel championships we know as The Global Scavenger Hunt…who can now call themselves The World’s Greatest Travelers for 2015! A tremendous achievement and one they should both be very proud of…amazing job both of you!

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The Sydney Sisters (Katrina & Fiona), bridesmaids no more...The World’s Greatest Travelers for 2015.

And that concludes the 2015 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt. We hope you all had the time of your lives for the last 23-days…some of you will be back we know. And to those that we won’t be traveling again with, both Pamela and I thank you for joining us on our 11th edition of our travel adventure. Thank you all!

Our Winners Gala dinner will be held this evening at Miami’s #1 restaurant Toro Toro. There we will share some fun 9and I am sure not son funny) taxi driver jokes. We will see if any team enlisted more than 28 modes of public transportation during their participation—the 2009 record! We see who obtained the World’s Tackiest Souvenir. Who had the best Global Price Index and best Travel Collection?

I will post one more blog in the coming days summing the 2015. Until then, thank you all.