We have been asked a lot of questions over the years--and we attempt to answer them all too!
Below are some of the more frequently asked questions (FAQs) we've received over the eight years of doing this event. If you still have specific question after reading the ones below, please don't hesitate in contacting us--we are here for you--and as we like to say (a lot too!) there are no problems, only solutions!
The Most Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you have an Event Brochure?
What Does the International Media Say?
What do former participants say? (See: Video Testimonials)
How Do I Apply?
What is "The Global Scavenger Hunt™?"
What is a Global Scavenger Hunt?
A Travel Adventure Competition? What Does That mean?
Okay, give me an example of a scavenge.
Will The Global Scavenger Hunt be a breakneck race around-the-world or will we have the opportunity to enjoy any of the places we visit?
I know what a race is, but what's a rally?
How long will The Global Scavenger Hunt take us to travel around-the-world?
When have previous Global Scavenger Hunt events taken place?
What exactly is "A Blind Date With The World™?"
Prize money? Did you say prize money?
How much will it cost me to enter the travel adventure competition?
What about the optional charity aspect?
Do I have to raise money if I can't or don't want to?
I'm single and don't have a travel partner, may I still enter the event?
How should I pack?
Is The Global Scavenger Hunt for backpackers or for suitcase rollers?
I have never traveled internationally. Is this a problem?
I am not from the North America, may I still participate?
What are the Terms & Conditions for participating?
Where are the fees paid for participation and held?
What about visas?
What about shots and inoculations?
You've got me! What should I do if I'm interested in participating in The Global Scavenger Hunt?
Is It Safe To Travel?
Choosing a Good Travel partner (Teammate)?
May Tour Operators/Travel Agents enter Teams?
I am an educator and would love my classes to follow The Global Scavenger Hunt. How can we?
May I bring my cell phone and/or laptop?
How much out of pocket expenses will I have participating in The Global Scavenger Hunt?
Is The Global Scavenger Hunt just another reality-TV show?
Wow, this is so great! But why have I never heard about The Global Scavenger Hunt until now?
Q. Yes, of course we have an Event Brochure.
Here is the 2013 Event Brochure in printable PDF format.
Q. What is "The Global Scavenger Hunt™?"
The 2014 event will be our tenth annual around the world travel adventure event (It is hard to believe that we've conducted eight successful events so far!) and it is an amazing competition, a true cultural immersion, that will take selected Teams of two on an exciting international travel adventure. It is A Blind Date With The World™ of exotic discovery and cultural immersion over a three week period. The Global Scavenger Hunt™ is an annual international competition where prize money is awarded and The World's Greatest Travelers™ is crowned annually.
Each of our previous events has been uniquely planned and were major media magnet events that helped raise funds for worthy international causes. Unlike the reality shows on television that feed the passive, voyeuristic tendencies of couch potatoes, all the annual events allowed it's contestants to actively participate in our Global Village on an extraordinary adventure for all the right reasons.
Q. What is a Global Scavenger Hunt?
Remember when you were a kid, or in college and your teacher or summer camp counselor would divide you up into teams to go find special or unusual items in the school yard, campground or town? Usually it was theme-oriented, like nature items, the beach or oddball quirky and historical stuff? No! Well, okay then, let us explain further:
The Global Scavenger Hunt is a contest where Teams of two individuals will be given a well thought out "List of Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro!" that will have them solving riddles, following cryptic clues, answering travel trivia questions and looking for physical hints to discover unique items. This event is about doing things; some former participants have called it active sight-doing, rather than just passive sightseeing! The Global Scavenger Hunt twist is that you'll be repeating this scenario in untold exotic and off-the-beaten-path dream destinations while immersing yourselves in local cultures. GreatEscape2014 participants will seek out scavenges in at least 10 countries as we circle the globe. The whole world will be transformed into your own personal game board as you learn to trust strangers in strange lands.
Q. Okay, give me an example of a scavenge?
Here are twenty real-event scavenges from our 2013 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt. Remember...you are landing in each surprise/secret country with just a 4-hour notice, and may only use your collective travel savvy/IQ and the trust of strangers in strangers places to complete the following (NO Internet, NO smartphones, and NO concierges...and only public transportation is allowed!):
1. (China) Visit a Chinese herbal medicine shop. Have them diagnose you without mentioning any aliments. What is your qi? Do you have any afflictions? What is your Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Rx for whatever ails you?
2. (China) Locate a family-friendly KTV and have some fun overcoming your performance anxiety. Earn extra points if you can perform with at least two other willing patrons. We want video too.
3. (Vietnam) Take a three-hour cooking class at your choice of schools (not at any hotel) that includes market buying and cooking. Suggestions include: Saigon Culinary Art Centre; Vietnam Cookery Centre; Saigon Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc. What dish did you learn to cook?
4. (Vietnam) Taxi Cab Roulette: Take a taxi cab adventure and ask the cabbie, "Would you please take us to a restaurant, a place where you would eat with your family or friends?" Tell them you prefer a nearby local and non-touristy restaurant. Where did you go and what did you eat?
5. (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, some large tins of cookies) at Psah Thmei. Then delivery your supplies to either: a) the Lighthouse Orphanage outside Phnom Penh; or b) the Sunrise Children's Village outside Phnom Penh.
6. (Cambodia) Experience the extraordinary beauty of the Angkor temples at sunrise. I recommend either Phnom Bakheng, or Angkor Wat. Obtain classic sunrise photo.
7. (Cambodia) Have a chat with a local (not at hotel or in travel industry) and ask about their Buddhist beliefs. Specifically, what are the "three poisons" of Mahayana Buddhism?
8. (Malaysia) Locate and visit the "world’s biggest piece of carved jade." Prove it.
9. (Malaysia) Take the Hindu pilgrimage of Thaipusam from Sri Maha Mariamman Temple to the other end at Batu caves. Have your fortune told.
10. (Malaysia) Taste Test Time: Visit a produce market and purchase three fruits, a durian, a rambutan and a mangosteen. Try them and explain.
11. (Nepal) Visit Chitwan National Park and take an elephant safari. Photograph either a black rhino or a Bengal tiger.
12. (Nepal) Visit the Pashupatinath Temple complex in the early morning from the eastern side of the Bagmati River and answer/witness the following a funeral. Explain what you saw. Explain the different ghats. Why are women not permitted at the ghats?
13. (Nepal) Either/Or: Either take a two-hour lesson at a Nepali Meditation Center; or, practice yoga at a local yoga center for at least two hours. Explain.
14. (Nepal) Locate and visit a Tibetan refugee camp. Chat with some of the elders about their life before and after their Exodus.
15. (Qatar) Clothing costs: Men, price out a traditional dishdasha/thobe. Women, price out a full hijab. Maybe find one that suits your fancy?
16. (Qatar) Team Challenge: Qatar is rising quickly, so find out how high you get in Qatar? Do it and prove it. The winning team earns 100 points—a tie splits the points.
17. (Norway) Become a street performer doing something you are good in front of any monument in any town for 30 minutes or until you earn at least three donations from bystanders. We need a 30 second video!
18. (Europe) While in Europe, take in a full evening performance of one of the following: a state opera; a state ballet; a symphonic concert; a professional soccer match.
19. (Denmark) Ask three Danes to explain to you what hygge culture means to them. Explain. See if you can get someone to tell you a joke about Swedes. Video please.
20. (Toronto) Visit two of the following specific areas and obtain something indigenous: a) Greek town; b) Little India; c) Little Italy; d) Chinatown; d) Korea town.
Q. Will The Global Scavenger Hunt be a breakneck race around- the-world or will we have the opportunity to enjoy any of the places we visit?
Yes and no! Yes, your Team will be going around-the-world within a 3-week time frame from exotic dream destination to sacred site, but GreatEscape2014 is more of a "rally." It will be a fun mix between "racing" for two or three days freely and independently, say from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, then having a two day "rally" in the Angkor area. This will allow Teams to slow down, stop and smell the roses, enjoy the sacred and beautiful places they're visiting, rest, see the other noteworthy sites, swap war stories with fellow contestants, build camaraderie, call the office and do postcards. No Team participating in any of The Global Scavenger Hunt's has ever done all the scavenges--we believe that it is impossible to do so--it's really up to you to do the scavenges you want to and prioritize your goals.
One of the event's unofficial mottos is: "He who runs, cannot walk with dignity!"
This event is all about Global Grazing. Face it, this event allows for a lot of things, but lingering in one place watching rice grow is not one of them. Using the culinary metaphor, this is a dinner consisting of several tasty, light and oh so memorable appies—versus just having one main course and knowing immediately that you made the wrong choice and it is just not going to hit your sweet spot darn…you can’t return a vacation can you! Nope, this is Global Grazing…a little taste from San Francisco, a little dim sum China, flavors from India, some mezze from the Middle East, tapas from Spain, antipasti from Italy, finger-food from Denmark…what will be the next hor d'oeuvres served on the 2014 travel adventure?
Q. I know what a race is, now what's a rally?
A rally is where all the Teams meet together in the morning somewhere over a cup of hot Joe or breakfast and are given a "Scavenger Hunt List of Things to Do in Kathmandu!"--again, there is no way all the tasks could be completed in the allotted time!--and points are attached to each scavenge. The catch is that each Team must return to our wonderful hotel by say 8PM or noon the next day, collecting as many points (doing interesting interactive and point-weighted scavenges) as possible during that time period. It will be up to each Team to devise their own scavenger hunt strategy--everything is optional. Then, that evening might include free downtime, an official GreatEscape organized banquet, or even some other special local cultural event, like: festivals, movies, sporting events, concerts and theater.
Q. How long will GreatEscape2014 take us to travel around-the-world?
Three weeks, 23-days to be exact! The GreatEscape2014 event will take place in the spring of 2014 (dates TBA but, around mid April to early May). Our events usually are always scheduled from mid-April to mid-May--it is the best time to travel around the world!
All the travelers will meet in the designated North American departure city (also TBA, but in the past we have departed from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle) for a special Bon Voyage Party. We will then all depart on The Global Scavenger Hunt the next day and return to our designated North American arrival city (also TBA , but our past events have concluded in Washington DC, New York, Boston, and Toronto) three weeks later. The prizes and the coveted crown of The World's Greatest Travelers™ will be awarded that evening at a special Winner's Gala.
Prior events have occured:
GreatEscape2002: April 12 – May 4, 2002
GreatEscape2004: April 16 – May 8, 2004
GreatEscape2005: April 15 – May 7, 2005
GreatEscape2008: April 11 – May 3, 2008
GreatEscape2009: April 17 – May 9, 2009
GreatEscape2010: April 9 – May 1, 2010
GreatEscape2011: April 15 – May 7, 2011
GreatEscape2012: April 13 - May 5, 2012
GreatEscape2013: April 12 - May 4, 2013
Q. What exactly is "A Blind Date With The World™?"
Well, The Global Scavenger Hunt is also A Blind Date With The World™ in that we will not reveal any of our annual event's impending 10 destinations in advance to anyone! Past participants have said that this element of constant global surprise continued to motivate them, and was another exhilarating aspect of their adventure around-the-world. We make it A Blind Date With The World to keep your pre-event planning to a minimum on our participants' part and keep the travel adventure competition aspect as fair and equal as possible--everyone starts on an equal footing by knowing nothing in advance! No Team can obtain any type of "competitive advantage" in The Global Scavenger Hunt if they don't know where they're actually going until you board a flight. It is special...
So you know, over the last several successfully held around-the-world events we have held, here are a few of the scores of places we have visited: Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Cyprus, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway, Holland and Iceland, among many others...
Also consider, that each event is different and unique from any previous one--our well-traveled Event Director would get bored to death going to the same places over and over again--and our growing list of returning teams (about 20% of competitors are official Global Scavenger Hunt junkies!) deserve a new and exciting competition too! So the 2014 event will be an entirely new course for all participants!
Q. A Travel Adventure Competition? What does than mean?
People always ask: What will be tested in this competition?
Good question...not only will the heat of competition test our participants composure, travel IQ and mental toughness, but Team dynamics will also come into play (How is their working relationship?); extreme and prolonged jet-lag will affect them at some point (We are circling the globe in just 23-days after all!); cultural differences play a part too (Who knows the nuances and taboos of every tribe of people?); language challenges will be utterly profound (A lot of gesturing, smiling and charades are sure to ensue.); climate and environmental obstacles will of course not be denied (Extreme heat, humidity, sand storms, mountainous regions and whatever else Mother Nature in the age of Global Weirding has in store?!); the logistic snafus will be inevitable (Frustration coming from the lack of efficiency and uncertainty with which some countries operate in!); and the employment of each and everyone's basic situational awareness antennae's working overtime 24/7 and being functionally dialed in for 23 straight days that will challenge their daily assumptions and tax their physical endurance.
Oh, a few other things to contemplate too: the always humbling bouts of traveler’s diarrhea, oft times deliberating electrolyte imbalance issues, falling off everything from bicycles and scooters to camels or elephants, succumbing to ethnic costume dementia, feeling the pangs of workplace and Internet detoxification, and having your shoes go mysteriously missing at a rather inopportune time. Yes, there are joys of travel and the trials of travel...hence a travel adventure competition like no other!
Oh, and have you ever visited a place that was entirely a cash-based economy--No ATM's, No credit cards? We have...think of that challenge!?
Q. Prize money? Did you say prize money?
Well yes, but technically we can't offer "prize money", but what we are offering to the winners of GreatEscape2013: The Global Scavenger Hunt is the opportunity to defend your title as The World's Greatest Travelers™ in our next event...with all their entry fees waved! You do the math and figure out the value...yes, $22,000, or FREE!
In addition we also offer some interesting prizes as we go for some of the winners of the several scheduled "City Rally's" and other fun awards will also be given out as special prizes along the way for those completing "Special Scavenges". Everyone participating in the annual GreatEscape event will receive medals, event pins, commemorative stickers, circumnavigators certificates, and other honors. "I surived..." bragging rights for competing in this around-the-world travel adventure competition are yours alone. Several Century Club members have participated in the past and have given special travel talks on our behalf--people are competitive when it comes to countries and winning!
Q. How much will it cost me to enter?
Entry fees are $10,500 per person (cash, check or wire transfer) until our Early Bird disocunt ends December 21st--after which the entry fees are $10,900 per person (cash, check or wire transfer). With additional savings, that's about $450-a-day for this once-in-a-lifetime experience of circling the globe like few people ever have!
That price includes all of your international airfare to a from our beginning and ending North American cities, as well as an inviting First Class hotel awaiting you in each and every destination city. Some special events and group banquets will also be included, as well as some ground transportation and transfers. It also equates to covering about 40% of your meals when hospotailty events, in-flight meals and hotel breakfasts are included. We put together great goody bags too!
(If you need help raising the dough or what to obtain sponsorship, we have some great ideas on how you can do it and participate in your dream adventure!)
And YES, we take both Visa and MasterCard for your safety and convenience. See: How to Pay?
Q. What about the optional charity aspect?
Our annual Global Scavenger Hunt event is essentially a platform that our charitable foundation, called the GreatEscape Foundation (ID#95-4831064 is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) uses to raise money in a fun, novel, interesting...and wholly optional way.
And that by participating in our fundraising efforts, other aspects of your travel-related costs may also be tax-deductible. But please don't take our word for it; please consult with your tax advisor or accountant for full details. Please visit the GreatEscape Foundation page.
We are proud to say that is event has helped so many via our school building projects, micro-loans, clinic building and disaster and humanitarian relief donations.
In fact, those that help us raise the most money for our Foundation's causes will automatically be entered into the next GreatEscape event and have their Team's entire entrance fee waived, win or lose The Global Scavenger Hunt!! A free trip around the world for doing good! What a concept... Again, please See: Doing Good (the GreatEscape Foundation page) for details.
Here is a little brochure explaining what we do and why!
Q. Do I have to raise money if I can't or don't want to?
No, you don't, it is entirely optional! And your costs do not change whether you participate or not! But you cannot reap all the rewards without doing something to give back: NO self-gratification. NO potential tax benefits. NO seeing up close and personal what your efforts produce. NO sense of community. NO helping others. NO accrued instant karma.
Q. I'm single and don't have a travel partner, may I still enter the annual event?
Yes, this is no problem, simply click to the Application Page and fill it out the form. That's it. We will do our best to find another gung-ho and like-minded travel savvy contestant for you to enjoy the global adventure with. When all applications are in, we will then personally contact you and suggest contacts for you in an extremely confidential manner. In fact, the winners of a couple of our annual events were Teams of travel savvy gals who had never met prior to participating in The Global Scavenger Hunt! Over the last couple of events, we have matched up about 20% of applicants with other singles successfully. Talk about a perfect match...
We do anticipate a few non-relationship (not husbands & wives, sisters & brothers, significant others, father & daughters, father & sons, mother & daughters, grandparents and grandkids, or best friends) Teams to enter. We will attempt to accommodate all applicants the best we can, but all applications will be post stamped so get your applications in early!
Needless to say that no one will be discriminated against entering The Global Scavenger Hunt on the bias or race, color, ethnicity, country of origin, sex, weight, height, sexual orientation, age (must be over 13 and accompanied by a legal guardian), residence, fashion or hair color. We will indeed run an equal opportunity international event! The entry fee is based on double-occupancy. (Lawyers again!)
Q. How should I pack?
Who knows? That's one of your first scavenges. Our best advice is simple: If you can't carry it, don't take it! It will be in your best interest to pack as functionally light as possible. In our humble opinion, spring is the best times to travel the globe. No rainy season. No tourists. Not too cold yet down south. Maybe even an Indian summer in Southern Hemisphere and an early Spring in the Northern Hemisphere?
Q. Is The Global Scavenger Hunt for backpackers or for suitcase rollers?
This travel adventure is a First Class event with great world-class hotels, delicious food, internationally famous events, and world-class fun for all. You won't need a backpack, a daypack yes, but definitely not a backpack. We suggest a single bag with rollers for easy transportation.
Q. I have never traveled internationally. Is this a problem?
YES! Leave this site at once. You've obviously come to the wrong place. Go watch Amazing Race XVII, Survivor IX, Last One Standing or the Pro-Bowling Tour on TV!
GreatEscape is only for the most savvy globe hoppers and travel enthusiasts. While not physically demanding, The Global Scavenger Hunt contestants should have some experience in dealing with spontaneous travel circumstances, foreign cultures, and language barriers and be up for a vigorous 23-day travel marathon. A strong curiosity and healthy imagination are also required. Oh yeah, wanting to partake in some world-class fun is a must!
While you don't need to be a Century Club member..feeling confident and comfortable anywhere in the world we might happen to visit, is rather essential. That means places like: India, China, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, non-English speaking nations, nations with different cultures, different foods, different religions, yes, different ways of doing things--you know, like the rest of the world!
Q. I am from Dubai, Japan, Iceland...pick a country. May I participate?
Yes. You may however be required to obtain different visas based on your nationality. We've had travelers, explorers and adventurers already contact us from over 45 countries and truly expect The Global Scavenger Hunt to be "the Olympics of international travel adventure competitions."
The 2012 event was won by Kiwis, with an Aussie team placing second, and US team followed in third...followed of course by a Canadian team! We are a truly an international travel adventure competition.
Q. What are the Terms & Conditions for participating?
Please note that there is a selection process. We do interview each and every serious applicant as to their suitability to participate in our around the world travel adventure competition.
We want to make sure you can survive our philosophy of travel and the event itself. We also want to make sure we're not committing travel malpractice by allowing some neophyte greenhorn snowbird to compete, and then dropping them in Delhi for 3 days--we may never see them again right!
So, yes, we do interview everyone for suitability. We also want to create a great cocktail of travelers who all share exotic and adventerous travels, and are excited to share those travel experiences (war stories) with other willing listeners!
See: 2013 Terms & Conditions page.
Q. Where are the entry fees paid to participate and held?
All moneys are held in a special segregated travel-related Trust account as mandated by Californian law. Applicant fees can only be used for direct travel-related expenses under the law. See: 2013 Terms & Conditions page for all the lawyer-speak!
Q. What about visas?
Most places don't require Americans to get visas anymore--although the tough new USA Patriot Act laws are making it more difficult to travel abroad, tit-for-tat being what it is. But, whether you're an American citizen, or an other nationality, your first scavenge should be to ask us to check for you the requirements for visas at our secret destinations. But remember, The Global Scavenger Hunt is truly A Blind Date With The World™ so don't think we're going to actually tell you where you're headed until we're 38,000 feet over the International Dateline, unless it is absolutely vital. (In this case, we would let all the Teams know what you know in order to keep the playing field level.)
We do pre-arrange a few visas-on-arrival in a few destinations!
Q. What about shots and inoculations?
Your second scavenge will be to check with the Centers for Disease Control...?
It's important that you receive the most accurate and up-to-date travel health information for the region you will be visiting. The only one qualified to provide you with this advice is your family physician or a specialist from a Travel Health clinic. Our page does provide links to a number of websites that contain excellent background information related to travel health issues. Nevertheless these websites are no substitute for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional.
What do we do? We simply keep our Hep A and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) updated. BUT, please consult with your own doctor to see what works for you.
Q. You've got me! What should I do if I'm interested in participating in The Global Scavenger Hunt?
See: How to Apply page, and simply fill out the application. We will contact you ASAP. We are accepting "Early Bird" priority Team and single applications until December 21st on a first come first serve basis!
Or, call us at 1.310.281.7809, or e-mail us EventDirector [at] GlobalScavengerHunt.com to get the ball rolling.
Want a shiny new 2013 event e-brochure (PDF format)? Click here, or,
Just ask... comments [@] GlobalScavengerHunt.com.
Q. May Tour Operators/Travel Agents enter Teams?
Yes you may. We have an incentive program to get you involved and to send us your most intrepid travelers for the travel adventure of a lifetime. Not only will they thank you, but so will we! Contact us immediately at Inquiries. (By the way, there is currently talk that there will be a type of competition within a competition where an internationally well-known travel magazine will be finding out who are "The World's Best Travel Agents" by having several compete in The Global Scavenger Hunt without the benefit of their computers, phones and safety nets! Stay tuned...)
Travel agents are invited to visit our specially-designed Travel Agents Page, just e-mail us at
EventDirector [@] GlobalScavengerHunt.com for access.
Q. I am an educator and would love my classes to follow The Global Scavenger Hunt. How can we?
Sure! As the competition progresses we have plans for a more interactive website where real time scavenges will be posted, a Live webcast shown, photos exhibited and competitor's dispatches traded. Our annual GreatEscape2014 event will be a great device to get your kids more involved in the Internet and interested in the real world and its fascinating cultures. For more information stay tuned or contact us at Inquiries.
Q. May I bring my cell phone, crackberry, iPhone and/or my laptop on the event?
Yes you may. Although we will monitor situations so that the use of your technology doesn't give you an unfair competitive advantage in any way; like calling Mr. Encyclopedia back home for any assistance! Or using your iPhone to Google a question, or using MapQuest for directions. No lifelines here! We want this extraordinary adventure to be a real cultural immersion where you will have to leave your assumptions behind and trust strangers in strange lands. We want you to take a break from the real world for three weeks.
Q. How much out of pocket expenses will I have participating in The Global Scavenger Hunt?
Hard to say. It really is a relative thing. Some people are real shoppers. Some people are hefty eaters. Some folks are spendthrifts. We can't really tell what type of traveler (or spender) you are. Some places are more expensive than others too. (Note: The winners of a previous event, spent on average about $60 per day, per person...and they have the jewelry to prove it--whatever that means! And the only Team that reported expenses after the last event said their Team spent $1,575 out of pocket over the 23-day event!)
What we can tell you is that we won't be asking you to purchase anything expensive (over $10.00) as part of a any scavenge. We believe that less than $125 a day per Team should cover all your scavenges, camel and elephant rides, museum and other entrance tickets, as well as your meals not eaten at one of our special cultural events. Room service is extra!
Q. Is The Global Scavenger Hunt just another reality-TV show?
Obviously, the 5-ton polka-dotted white elephant in the room is: "Wow, this is an incredible travel adventure you got going here, but geez it sounds an awful like that reality TV show The Amazing Race?"
True enough; people over the last decade have noted some significant similarities and differences between CBS's long-running, award winning Amazing Race television show and The Global Scavenger Hunt. We've heard applicants talk at length about the show during the interview process; about teams getting kicked off, about all the insane stunts, about teams being cast for dramatic purposes, about all the backstabbing that goes on and the always escalating drama. Frankly, we have nothing bad to say about any show that informs mainstream Americans to the wonders of international travel. (They probably have a whole floor of snappy white-shoe corporate attorney-types waiting for a negative sound bite from us too?!) We've even seen a few promo ads while watching our DVRed 60 Minutes telecasts.
That said, we can only revisit the facts: the global scavenger hunt travel adventure competition idea was hatched in the spring of 1999, registered with the Writers Guild of America in June 2000, went beta-website live in August 2000, and started garnering media attention on October 1, 2000. Whereas the reality TV show we are so compared to, was filmed March 8, 2001 and aired on September 5, 2001. We created The Global Scavenger Hunt to be an open-to-all international travel adventure competition that annually crowns "The World's Greatest Travelers" that also does some global good with its charitable activities—not for ratings and ad revenues. No sour grapes, just the facts.
(Frankly, we felt that we must be on to something and doing something really right if the big money TV guys were going to so closely "repurpose" some of our great initial travel adventure competition ideas. What's that line: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)
So, is this just another wannabe Reality TV Show?
We get asked this question a lot! Almost daily in fact... The short answer is NO! The Global Scavenger Hunt idea was hatched in 1999 and came to be in 2000, long before the advent of so-called reality-TV shows hit the airwaves. (In fact, we were approached early on in 2000 about participating in some famous so-called "travel-related" reality-TV shows and declined our services, expertise and event concept for use in such exploitative and purely commercial endeavors. And we're about raising funds for our worthy causes, not inducing faux drama and garnering TV ratings.) We are simply NOT interested in casting beautiful demographically correct telegenic folks, making them perform prearranged and staged stunts, inducing petty made for TV soap-opera-like human conflict, or making fun of either our participants or the people and places they will be visiting.
That said, YES of course, The Global Scavenger Hunt will be filmed (video) during various portions and eventually seen in various media outlets. In the past we have had a well-respected Emmy & Peabody Award winning production company attached to the project, and we do provide footage to interested media outlets like: The Travel Channel, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, CTV, YouTube and the BBC among others. Our event is always tastefully captured (not produced) with a minimal of interference in documentary and newsmagazine-like formats.
Local news shows, foreign and domestic, like to do pieces about our event as we pass through town too! You might end up on the Dubia Evening News, or the Memphis Morning Show!?
Q. Is It Safe To Travel?
With the twin wars still raging in the world today that North Americans are part of: the Afghanistan War, and the never-ending War on Terrorism (WOT) still lingering on everyone's mind, it is okay to ask the twin questions: Is it safe to travel now? Will I be put at risk participating in The Global Scavenger Hunt?
Of course the short and truly honest answer is: No one really knows.
Having said that, if you are a real traveler who's got some real-world travel experience, you of course know that, the world is a BIG place with over 194 countries--or is it 202 or 316? We assure you that The Global Scavenger Hunt will not be going to any hot zones like: Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Israel/Palestine, the Sudan or Congo areas. You won't be seeing stops like: Caracas, the Ivory Coast, Kashmir, or the Darien Gap on any of GreatEscape2013's lists. Simply put, we will not put you in harm's way or take you to any destination that is either at war, a hot zone, or overtly hostile to the presence of travelers in general or American visitors in particular.
What happened on 9/11 was horrible and unprecedented--our hearts still grieve the loss nine years later. And what has taken place in the other tourist haunts is equally horrible. But, the reality is that incidents of terrorism against travelers, particularly Americans, are extremely rare. How rare?
According to Brian Jenkins, one of the world's foremost terrorism experts at RAND, "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." (By the way, the odds of being killed by lightning: 2,320,000 to 1!) And we agree. Bad things can and do happen on the road: ordinary crime, car accidents, food poisoning, and ferry or train disasters. But those things also take place in our own local communities. Personally, I have a fear of flying, always have, but I am more concerned about bankrupt airlines maintaining their planes properly, and the ever-present threat of malaria-infested mosquito bites and severe tropical sunburns on my lilly-white Irish skin, than being caught up in a terrorist incident.
We at The Global Scavenger Hunt all have family and friends that we love and want to return home to just as you do. Please know that we are constantly monitoring global, regional and local events. We are very well informed. We have, and will continue to alter our travel route according to any real threats against travelers. And so you know, following 9/11 we canceled our initial event, GreatEscape2001 set for an October 12, 2001 departure! And we also canceled GreatEscape2003, set to begin March 20th, 2003, because of duel outbreaks: the Iraqi II War and SARS in Asia.
My point is, we do stay attuned to world events and take all necessary precautions. This event is a labor of love for us, not a money making bottom-line business, so making sure everyone is comfortable traveling is important to us--not just doing it for financial reasons.
In spite of the Mean World Syndrome being portrayed in the mass media, we feel secure enough to travel and know objectively that we have several things working in our favor: 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 on tour buses; 3) We don't even really travel as a group except for a few specially-planned cultural events; 4) We are all seasoned travelers with a greater understanding of a travelers best friend on the road--your own situational awareness! And finally, 5) We all know how to blend in and trust our own well-honed instincts.
Q. Choosing a good travel partner (teammate)?
"I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." -- Mark Twain
The Global Scavenger Hunt is an extraordinary international travel adventure competition. It will take extraordinary determination, chutzpah, daring and maybe even some intestinal fortitude to participate. We firmly believe that one never feel more alive than when we are overcoming obstacles. There will be moments when you will be clearly outside your comfort zone. It will test your travel savvy, communications and linguistic skills, logistical ingenuity, cultural understandings, physical endurance and competitive spirit. It will also test your interpersonal skills on many levels. Not only because it will be necessary for you to trust strangers in strange lands while accomplishing scavenges; but more importantly, working with your fellow team mate!
So, having a compatible teammate is important. We don't want any drama, any divorces, or on-the-road breakups. (We haven't had one yet we're happy to say. Drama, yes! Divorces or breakups? No!)
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a travel partner that will be traveling over a long period of time around the world through 24-time zones to exotic and sometimes less than optimal functioning destinations:
• Are you both AM people or PM people? How will you overcome those differences?
• Are you a both competitive Type A's or more laid back Type B's? How will you find a happy functioning balance?
• Are you both people people, or a loner? Which of you is best equipped to deal with and be kind to strangers?
• We all know that hunger can be a dangerous issue! Are you a 3-square meals a day type or 24-hour snack type eater? Are you an I'll eat anything go local-type, or a cautious eater? How will you compromise when energy and blood sugar levels get low?
• Which one of you is left-brained, which one is right-brained? Can it be managed?
• Are you naturally the leader or a follower? How will you make tough decisions and compromises when you are both right?
• Do either of you smoke? How will you manage that?
• How will you avoid the dreaded on-the-road Odd Couple Syndrome when one of you is a Nervous Nellie, while the other is Mr. Wing-it?
• What role will money play in your travels? Are you a spendthrift or tightwad?
• What is each of your relationship status at home? Are you both not looking for romance, or is just one of you looking?
• What about needing space? Will you be constant companions 24/7, or do you need solitude a few hours a day?
Q. Wow, this is so great, but why haven't we heard of The Global Scavenger Hunt before?"
That brings us to the ostriches in the story—the travel media. As mentioned earlier, we started garnering media attention to our "fresh, novel and interesting travel adventure" event over a decade ago. Since then, we have received a tremendous amount of editorial coverage from the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Washington Post to Time and National Geographic Traveler magazines, from the Times of India, Bangkok Post and South China Morning Post to the New Zealand Herald and the Scotland Sunday Mail, and from FOX-TV and PBS to CTV and ABC-TV. In all we've showed up in over 500 international media outlets. (Thank you all!)
But, and that is a BIG but...the bright spotlight of the media only shines on new "fresh, novel and interesting" items. Once an editor or writer has done something on you, from a two-line notice to a 1,000 word interview, you are basically done no matter how popular you are among readers and viewers, unless you pay-to-play—as in by ads. And we don't.
We have been all about building our street creed and travel competition reputation; positive word of mouth and those that are real travelers do know about us. Whether the travel media cover us, well, that depends what side of the bed they woke up on any given day. Objectively speaking, there is just no rhyme or reason why sometimes they cover us one year and then not again or ten years later—and we have asked too!
Anything we missed telling you about? Have another question? Please let us know:
EventDirector [at] GlobalScavengerHunt.com