Day 23:  Saturday, 4 May 2019 – New York, New York (40.7128° N, 74.0060° W)

I’m in a New York state of mind.” – Billy Joel

6:06 PM Update: 

First, I want to say thank you to you all…you all survived your great leap of faith, circled the globe visiting ten secret countries, had an enormous amount of fun that will take weeks to process and years of therapy to address…and arrived home safely! Good job…

Next, I want to thank Pamela for everything…without her this event simply would not happen. Thank you, Pamela! (Thank you, Lucca too, for being a good young man—despite your finicky taste buds— and a great traveler too…You have now visited 52 countries!? Wow…not bad for a 13 year-old…I hope that some of what you have seen stays with you…

Okay, that being said…We are not one’s to hit people over the head as you know…but please indulge me for a minute as I boast a little bit about our Foundation’s work…one of reasons we started this annual global world championship event…we started the GreatEscape Foundation almost two  decades ago now…and over the years some of you have personally visited & helped out at: Tibetan refugee camps in Nepal, orphanages in Laos, hospitals in Cambodia, homeless schools India, hospices in Manila, disabled facilities in Sri Lanka, Ethiopian schools, the slums of Nairobi…and even places in Myanmar. We have done a few great things over the years…in the last decade alone we have funded 12 schools: 1 each in Niger, Haiti, Ecuador, India & Ethiopia; 2 each in Sri Lanka & Sierra Leone, and 3 in Kenya…we know we are changing the lives of thousands of kids (especially young girls)…We helped build the Tamensa Medical Clinic in Niger for migrating Tuareg nomads…it serves as a midwives & nurse training center too…We know that we saved lives & bettered the lives of hundreds. We have helped over 2400 families in more than 60 countries (mostly women entrepreneurs) with our interest and fee free micro-loans (96% of which have gone to women with a 99% repayment)…

And this year, as a direct result of this event, that you all participated in…we are happy to say that we will be doing more…in fact we are happy to say that we will be immediately funding and building two more co-ed elementary schools—one in Ethiopia and another in Haiti… both countries with great potentials and wonderful hard working people…we know they will benefit generations of kids—and a lot of young girls that need liberation through education!—for years to come…

Thank you all.

Now, we end the 2019 edition of the travel world championships…safely I might add. No one died—I know our bar is low! Our participants all just circled the globe in one trip…a rare feat indeed…too bad the Circumnavigators Club is so archaic. You have all lived outside your comfort zones for 23-days…escaped your daily routines & default modes of existence…again no small feat in this day and age. You 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. We promise, that you will re-live some of these moments for the rest of your lives.. And you all embraced our 2019 event theme, because you all Chased Life…and are now more interesting people for doing it. Pamela & I truly hope that you had an amazing once-in-a-lifetime adventure with us…thank you all!

Award time in the Gold Room of the historic Villard Mansion of the Lotte Palace Hotel in New York City:

Kim of Retired Traveling Chicks has won the players pool with only five ten correct guesses of countries we visited—and $380 to boot! Congrats Kim.

Karen of MargoPolos won the Pre-Event Global Literacy Test (part of our test is here courtesy of the late Hans Rolsing and by beating the chimps with 8 out of 16 correct answers…8 of our participants where beaten by the Chimps who would have guesses correct 33% of the time! Congrats Karen…

Order & Chaos stayed in the Cheapest Hotel winners…a 32 Euro Moroccan half-star. 

Finally, The Global Scavenger Hunt is a competition—the world travel championship in fact—and only one Team can win…so, without further ado:

The NYC leg did not effect our standings coming out of North Africa/Iberian Peninsula, and that means that (2019 – Leader Board):

In 3rd Place: Order & Chaos’s Sal & Vivian

In 2nd Place: Lazy Monday’s Kathryn & Eric
Which means that the winners of The Global Scavenger Hunt and the new 2019 holders of the World’s Greatest Travelers crown and title are Team Lawyers without Border’s Zoe & Rainey—who have won the event now six times since first competing in 2008. Pamela and I both look forward to having them defend their title on our dime in the next edition of the world travel championship…whenever that may be!? Thank you all!
We are off to our Bon Voyage dinner at Pazza Notte…and like all great travelers, crash at 8:23PM!
PRE-Crowning Event Post
We arrived last evening around 9:00PM at our NYC hotel, the Lotte Palace
Welcome back home to America…North America, home to Canada, USA, Mexico…and 20 other American countries!
First the Old News:
The teams that handed in scorecards where peer reviewed and the hard master of travel final test, North African + Euro Leg (Par 6) played out like this with a few minor adjustments (things closed, partial credits, etc):
5th – Transformed Travel Goddesses who did not quit and fun too!
4th – SLO Folks had a tough emotional leg, but still stayed true in spirit.
3rd – Order & Chaos did a 92 scavenges including 5 Bonuses earning 5,310 points.
2nd – Lazy Monday kept busy doing 102 scavenges and 7 Bonuses earning 5,680 points.
1st – Lawyers without Borders had a ball (as usual) also doing 102 scavenges (but more point worthy scavenges) and 7 Bonuses earning 6,110 points…
Congrats all on finishing the difficult but fun leg…
So now we are getting interesting, after eight legs (24 of 25)…the overall top 3 teams are:
4. SLO Folks with 96 points
3. Order & Chaos 81 points
2. Lazy Monday 46 points
1. Lawyers without Border 33 points
Observation? What is it with American teenage girls carrying pillows through airports?
New News: This morning at 8:30AM (I know it is early but we are all on Euro-time which has set our body clocks 5-hours later–so we where all up!) we began a quick, fun 8-hour Urban Par 1 urban adventure Manhattan scavenger hunt…Hope everyone finishes strong and has fun in The Big Apple—Remember all placing teams must hand in a score sheet to qualify for medals!)…
Later toady we will crown The World’s Greatest Travelers later today…following our 4:00PM check-in deadline…
5-Sample NYC Scavenges
-take in a Yankees game or a Broadway show
-Have one of each of following: a New York bagel, a New York hot dog, a New York deli sandwich, a slice of New York pizza, New York cheesecake, a New York egg cream, or an old-fashion Manhattan!
-locate five pieces from five of the nations you just visited in the Met
-Visit Strawberry Fields, pay John Lennon tribute
-do one scavenge in each of the five boroughs of New York City
A biggie at the Natural History Museum
Making art on graffiti wall
Hudson Yard’s newest mall attraction: The Vessel
PLEASE…check in later for a final report from today!
Last Chance…We try not to hit our readers/followers over the head about The Global Scavenger Hunt’s cause-related, charitable purposes, but this annual event raises funds for GreatEscape Foundation’s twin goals: building co-ed elementary schools in low & middle income nations, and distributing interest-free no-fee micro-loans to budding global entrepreneurs (mostly mothers). Both our methods of helping others help themselves are designed to facilitate their great escape from the cycle of poverty—one person at a time! Happily, we have improved the lives of thousands: building a dozen schools, a mid-wife training facility, and funding thousands of mothers wanting to make a better life for their families.
So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week in order to make a small secure PayPal GreatEscape Foundation donation during the course of the 2019 event, we know a lot of kids needing a basic education that would thank you. And we’ll thank you too…with a tax receipt. Thank you!