The teams are all assembled and now and counting down the days until we meet in San Francisco on April 13th to begin the 8th annual installment of the one and only around the world travel adventure known as The Global Scavenger Hunt.
And so we will begin blogging different aspects of what it means to participate in this event today.
Among the numerous facets of the event is that it is a Team competition with two travelers making up each team. In the past we have husband/wife and life partner teams, buddy teams, sister teams, boyfriend/girlfriend teams, mother/daughter teams, grandmother/grandson teams, father/daughter teams, and teams that we matched together that had never even met prior to the beginning of our event—20% of all our teams! And, we have also had teammates that had competed in prior years and met while traveling team up in a future competition. This year we have two father/son teams for the first time, among all the other mixes: sisters, significant others, and total strangers. So, it should be an interesting mix for 2012.
"I have found out that there ain’t any surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” - Mark Twain
But we worry about teams while competing and traveling the globe with us, after all they will be working in close quarters with each other on our marathon-like around the world 23-day adventure. Will they get along? Will they be able to cooperate efficiently? Will they kill each along the way?
Fact is during our contestant interview process, we ask these very questions. We don't want to induce anymore drama in people's lives than necessary. We don't want to cause splits in relationships. We don't want to be asked to testify in a court of law as to the saneness of any one of our participants in a missing persons or capital murder case...
So far, knock on wood, we have had no relationship splits or major issues to contend with. No karmic debris. We have had a few hurt feelings and a few teams that just could not function well after giving it their level best.
“To be sure your friend is a friend, you must go with him on a journey. Travel with him day and night. Go with him near and far.” - Angolan proverb
The Global Scavenger Hunt is a remarkable international travel adventure competition that takes extraordinary determination, chutzpah, daring, grit, and even some intestinal fortitude to participate and compete successfully. The event takes people outside their comfort zones—their normal operating boxes. It will test their travel savvy, their communications and linguistic skills, their logistical ingenuity, their cultural empathy and understandings, and their physical endurance and competitive spirit.
It will also test their interpersonal skills on a multitude of levels. Not only because it will be necessary for them to trust strangers in strange lands while accomplishing their global scavenges; but more importantly, because they will have to have a constructive working relationship with their fellow teammates, whether they end up in Tashkent, Topeka or Timbuktu! (Okay, I am kidding about Topeka!)
Vacation personalities and travel styles vary among us homo touristicus. And despite our event's single itinerary—to travel around the world over 23 days visiting 10 secret countries doing cultural scavenges—you two may have different interests. So, having a compatible teammate is important, and more importantly, being patient, compassionate and showing empathy for each other is critical.
Having conducted seven previously successful events (successful in that no one went missing or died along the way, no one divorced or broke up (we do have one event-made child!) and that no one has left the event prematurely; we have analyzed what are some triggers or concerns to be aware of in teams. And here they are:
● Are you both AM people, or PM people, or different? How will you overcome those differences?
● Are you both competitive Type A’s, or more laid back Type B’s, or different? How will you find a happy functioning balance?
● Are you both people people or loners, or different? Which of one of you is best equipped to deal with strangers?
● Are you both three-square meals a day types, or 24-hour-a-day snack-type eaters, or different? How will you compromise when energy and blood sugar levels start getting low in one of you?
● Are you both left-brained, or right-brained, or different? Can it be managed?
● Are you both natural leaders, or followers, or different? How will you make tough decisions and compromises when you are both right? Will it be a fair decision? Will you each take the lead and play follow the leader at times?
● Are you both planners, or seat-of-the-pants spontaneous wanderer types? How will you manage that? Can you manage to be early and on time following a loose ad hoc schedule, or will you be always rushing at the last minute? Will that be okay for both of you?
● Are comfortable silences okay with both of you?
● How will the other teammate react when one of you just needs some simple non-dramatic alone time?
Some other more practical realities include:
● How will you deal with on-the-road expenses? 50/50 each transaction? Or keep a tab?
● How will you spilt duties and create a successful division of labor? Packing, logistics, transactions, safety, currency exchanges, food & water?
● How do you arrive at a consensus decision when you both have diametrically opposed views?
In the end, we know the best we can ask is that all our teams learn to appreciate their mate's travel style—the way they like to travel. And know that they will both will have to be tolerant and adapt a little over the 23 day event, and in doing so, we know they'll both have a great time!
“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” - Peter Høeg
13 days and counting down...stay tuned!