Day 1: Meeting, Greeting, Eating and Leaving…

Day 1: Friday, 17 April 2020 – Eugene, USA  (44.0521° N, 123.0868° W)  (45 confirmed Covid-19 cases + 1 death to date)

Today is usually the day we meet and greet all our intrepid travelers for the first time, discuss the event’s rules and spirit of the competition, then head out for a joyous Bon Voyage meal together. But for us today, it is just another day…day 36 of staying at home…life is somewhat normal for us (we are among the lucky 37% who can & do work from home and out of harm’s way) except for Lucca being home from school and sports, and Petra still in lockdown in The Hague in The Netherlands, life is uncertain, but familiar.

Pamela and I enjoy Day One…because after weeks of plotting and planning it is time to start the greatest show on earth, the world travel championship, The Global Scavenger Hunt again. This would have been our 16th…

And so, after months of chatting and communicating via text and email, except for our returnees, it is usually the first time we have face-to-face encounters with our travelers. It is always interesting on a number of levels: matching names and voices (and quirky email senses of humor) with faces; seeing first hand how their couple/team dynamic works in reality; seeing what they are wearing that might tip off their styles and personalities to evolve; and watching how everyone dialogues and mingles with the other teams. Every tribe has been uniquely different, with its own group dynamic and personality; some groups hit it off immediately, while others take time to build camaraderie as the adventure before them unfolds and they have more commonality. A type of Stockholm Syndrome engulfs them all…

Two Bon Voyage parties stand out for me: our first, held in April 2002 in Santa Monica, California (our home at the time) at a place called Typhoon, located adjacent to little Santa Monica Airport. (It has since sadly closed…something about whale sushi?!). It was legendary for Pan-Asian fusion cuisine like Mongolian beef, deep-fried whole catfish, Filipino pollo adobo…along with Singapore-style scorpions, tasty giant ants and Taiwanese stir-fried crickets. Larva too. We loved watching peoples faces when the food we pre-ordered came to the tables overlooking private jets vanish into a sublime Pacific Ocean sunset…a sign of things to come? It was our first, and you never forget your first time, right?

 

Our second favorite was in 2008, after a two-year hiatus (Lucca was too young to travel yet), we held a lavish feast in San Francisco at E&O Kitchen and Bar off Union Square. We invited our air guy at the time, Emired, along with some previous alum from our first three events, to join us celebrating this fourth event and our relaunching. We had a full house of teams too, 15 in all, and there was a lot of drinking (the bill was heavenly and well before we clamped down on speciality liquors) with piles of great homestyle-served food, fast friends were made, and side bets of guessing which 10 countries we would be visiting over the coming 23-days made a few wealthier…it was a raucous affair to be sure, that ended rather abruptly (and soberly) for some with our infamous Four-Hour Notice being given that we were all on a night flight to Beijing.

2008 today seems so long ago…12 consecutive adventures around the world since then. What a blur.

And so our 2020 trip now begins…this adventure taking shape from our collective memory banks…and so, we are first off, not to Beijing, but first to Japan!

Stay safe and well. Till tomorrow…

Please send any memories you want us to post to ringmaster (at) globalscavengerhunt (dot) com

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