Day 23: Saturday, 6 May 2023 – Montrèal, Canada (45.4657° N, 73.7455° W)

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.” – Socrates

Bonjour from Montrèal! We have a lot to cover today…maybe a 3 part posting today? So, please check in for an update later. But we will start out this morning with a geo quiz as we are prone to do.

Today will be a special two part edition…so please, come back later tonight for the final edition!

Question: Which destination did The Global Scavenger Hunt just visit over the last 23 days was the furthest North?

Part One:
First, the old news…The results are in on the Turkey Par 3 leg.  

After Peer Review & Road Official scoring procedures, here’s what we know about Leg 7, Türkiye’s 2-day urban Par 3:
9th Place: Look, Squirrel
8th Place: Hem & Haw
7th Place: Trip Tellers
6th Place: Mom’s on the Run
5th Place: Barsetters
4th Place: Rayven with 855 points
3rd Place: Cubs Fans with 1,050 from 19 scavenges
2nd Place: Lawyers without Borders completed 3 Bonus & 22 scavenges for 1,155 points
1st Place: Order & Chaos, completed 3 Bonus, were 1st to swim in Black Sea and earned 1,385 points

Congrats to all. Please click here to view the newly minted Official Leaderboard following Leg #7, the top three podium-leaning Teams are:
4th Place: Cubs Fans
3rd Place: Rayven
2nd Place: Lawyers without Borders
1st Place: Order & Chaos

Three-Things I Learned from Türkiye’s Par 3 Leg: analysis, takeaways and fact-checks.
1 – Teams were slightly exhausted after the tough Balkans leg so Istanbul was tough for some to get back on the horse so quickly.
2 – Everyone loved Istanbul and a bustling, lively & thriving city.
3 – You can’t be on the podium unless you finish the event. Don’t quit & finish strong.

So, one last quick 8-hour Par 1 urban exploration of Montrèal. Feet, don’t fail me now! Finish strong. I remember a Team lost this event back in 2004 in the final minutes after traveling around the world in 23 days. Don’t be like Steve & Randy!

Five Sample Montrèal Area Scavenges:
● Locate a Québécois Separatist & ask them why?
● Take a bike ride along Lachine Canal.
● Answer the great Montréal bagel debate: St. Viateur or Fairmount’s?
● Perform Carpool Karaoke with a cabbie singing a Canadian artist song.
Team Challenge: Be the first to spot a Mountie.

Stay tuned for Part II…The Winners & podium edition.

The answer to which country destination we visited was the furthest north? Not here in Montreal. No Seoul. Not Tibilis…it was Zagreb, Croatia!

Part Deux
…so what happened? Well, this did…

Obviously, the final Par 1 here in Montrèal did not affect the Leaderboard. Still, here’s who won the Montrèal leg:
9th Place: Free 2B
8th Place: Look, Squirrel!
7th Place: Mom’s on the Run
There was a tie for 5th Place: Hem & Haw and Cubs Fans doing 11 scavenges and earning 272 points
4th Place: Trip Tellers earned 349 points doing 14 scavenges
There was a tie for 2nd Place again: Lawyers without Borders and Order & Chaos completed 15 scavenges, earning 350 points
1st Place: Bar Setters won their second leg completing 16 scavenges for 425 points

Congrats to all.

One-minute interview with Order & Chaos:

And that means…

First, I want to say thank you to all of our 2023 participants…you all survived our great leap of faith to 10 secret counties & arrived home safely! Good job…

Next, I want to thank Pamela for…for…well, everything…without her this event simply would not happen. Thank you, Pamela!

She is always Magical…like Jeanie & Bewitched combined is she.

That said…We are not one’s to hit people over the head…but please indulge me for a minute as I boast about our Foundation’s good work…we started the GreatEscape Foundation over two decades now from nothing…a rolodex and high hopes. But…happily, we can report today that it has done wonderful things over the years…as of today, we have funded the building of 13 local stake-holder schools: 1 each in Niger, Ecuador, India & Ethiopia; 2 in Haiti, Sri Lanka & Sierra Leone, and 3 in Kenya…we know we are changing the lives of thousands of kids (especially young girls)…and we funded the building of the Tamensa Medical Clinic in Niger for migrating Tuareg nomads…that serves as a basic medical clinic, a birthing center, and as a midwife & nurse training center too…The center has saved hundreds of lives & bettered the lives of thousands of women and children. We have also helped over 3700 families in more than 79 countries (mostly women entrepreneurs) with our interest and fee free micro-loans…and this year we will do more as a direct result of this event. In fact, we are happy to say that we will be doing more good work…and will fund the building three more coed- elementary schools…one in Cambodia, one in Indonesia and third in Nepal. All countries with great potentials and wonderful hard-working people…we know the new schools will benefit generations of kids–with it a lot of young girls who desperately need liberation through education!–for years to come…so we thank everyone!

We pulled a name from the hat of all the givers during this event for a special gift, and we are pleased that Michael & Nita won. They were signed up for our first aborted event in October 2001, and have participated on three events since. It’s full circle with them.

And so, we end the 2023 edition of the travel world championships…avoiding any calamities: A volcano along the Ring of Fire that almost diverted our flight from SFO to Seoul…US-Korea war games on the Korean Peninsula…High Holy Holidays in Uzbekistan…Anti-Russian protests in Georgia…pro-democracy protests in Israel…Israel’s Independence Holiday…Protests in Belgrade against EU’s support for Kosovo’s independence…May Day celebrations in Europe…electioneering in Turkey…and no playoff hockey in Montreal. But we circled the globe in one trip. A rare feat indeed. We all lived outside our comfort zones for 23-days, escaping our daily routines & default modes of existence–no small feat in this day & age! We all ate a lot of interesting things, met a lot of gracious, wonderful people—hopefully made some new friends—and had too numerous to mention amazing experiences. Moments we will all live for the rest of our lives. We seized the day with No Opportunity Wasted (NOW) 2023…indeed, lived each day as if it were our last. And we are all more interesting people for doing it. Pamela & I truly hope that you all had an amazing adventure with us…thank you all!

So who won?

Kia Beth won the players pool? Guessing 5 of the 12 countries we eventually visited.

Order & Chaos won the cheapest hotel champagne—spending just $17 on their room one night in the Balkans.

And finally, The Global Scavenger Hunt is a competition with a trophy & medals on the line, and so only one Team can win…and the final Official Leader Board looked like this:
In 3rd Place: Cubs Fans @ 93

2nd Place: 2019 defending champs Lawyers without Borders @ 53

Which means that we have new champions for 2023 and the winners of the 2023 world travel championship, a little around-the-world event we call The Global Scavenger Hunt…and the new World’s Greatest Travelers for 2023 are Order & Chaos (Sal & Vi) @ 34.

Thank you all!

And that concludes the 16th travel world championship event The Global Scavenger Hunt!

Tonight at the Winners Gala at Ikanos…we will have a great time & reveal Teams: best travel collections (Burkes in Wanderland with their collection of photos in ethnic costumes); most unique international price index (Cubs Fans with baseball caps); best Taxicab driver joke (Cubs Fans…but I can’t repeat it); see who found the world’s tackiest souvenir (Burkes in Wanderland with the farting chicken firecracker?!).

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

You know, there are always complicated feelings when an event is over, for our participants as well as us. For us, at first it is relief—not too much drama, we had a great competitive event, and no one died. Then there’s pride that we were able to pull off such a complicated event again, for the 16th time! Then a void-like grief sets in immediately when the job is finished—it’s over what’s next? It certainly is a complicated mélange of feelings.

As they say…until we meet again! Thank you all …

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