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Chat Follow-Up: A Truly Amazing Race

Andrea Sachs

During last week's Travel chat, we received a question about adventure competitions along the lines of reality TV show "Amazing Race" -- but without the commercial disruptions. I suggested citywide scavenger hunts, a fun way to learn about a new destination that is way more interesting than a passive tour bus.

Later, I received an e-mail from William Chalmers, who runs an even more worldly contest, the Global Scavenger Hunt. For the event, 25 teams of two travel around the world "overcoming challenging and unique culturally-oriented scavenges in at least 10 secret nations across 4 continents."

Sounds intriguing, Bill, tell us more.

"The event is a global travel-a-thon platform that has participants traveling a million kilometres for the $1 million goal to raise money for life-changing organizations."

Sign us up.

The next race starts on April 17 and lasts for three weeks. Cost is $9,900 per person, which covers all international airfare, 23 nights in first-class hotels (what, no sleeping in snake holes or atop moving trains?) and about 40 percent of meals. Last year's winners, the Beach Boys, are returning, so here's your chance to grab the title of World's Greatest Travelers -- and help save Mama Earth, too.

Info: 310-281-7809,

We want to know: Would you spend three weeks and $10,000 on a trip like this?

By Andrea Sachs |  October 27, 2008; 7:21 AM ET  | Category:  Andrea Sachs
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Yes, absolutely! Did you see their website? That looks just about exactly like my dream vacation - interesting destinations, getting outside of a comfort zone, opportunities to be competitive, but also a chance to meet other true adventurers. I'd love to do the amazing race, but the whole TV camera / reality show dynamic seems just wretched. This is Exactly the perfect alternative to that. It's not cheap, but given the length of time and the amount of travel, it seems pretty reasonable. Unfortunately, it would be tough for me to take three weeks off of work with no guaranteed cell/internet access :( - but I'm bookmarking this company's website just in case . . .

(adub, annoyed at having to register with a different screen name)

Posted by: acdub | October 27, 2008 4:35 PM

In a heartbeat!!

(Assuming I could spare 3 weeks and $12,500 -- which includes $100 per diem -- but unfortunately that's about half of what my stocks lost yesterday. Sigh.)

Posted by: PLozar | October 28, 2008 4:47 PM

Speaking from experience, it is absolutely the most interesting and fun trip you will ever take. The scavenges are such that you see and do more things in the places you visit than you ever would do with a tour group. And, you do it by yourself which gives you an amazing sense of accomplishment. Plus the scavenges include fun restaurants that you'd never find on your own and are really affordable, so the $100 a day per diem that PLozar a little high. Plus at the end of the day, you come home to a truly amazing hotel. All I can say is....find the time. You won't EVER regret it.

Posted by: AndrusJ | October 30, 2008 3:28 PM

I did this trip back in 2004, and it was the experience of lifetime. The scavenges were amazing, extremely well thought out, and required all the creativity and travel skills one could muster.

We pierced language and cultural barriers to see and do things that I'd never have thought of on my own. I met the owner of a noodle shop that helped plan the Tet Offensive, explored ancient Buddhist temples, traveled the back alleys of Morocco on a donkey, and more. The words "cultural immersion" barely does this adventure justice.

How often do we ever get the chance to close our eyes, spin the globe, stick out our finger on a country, or ten, and go? Or have someone else do that for us, plan the flights, arrange first class hotels, and turn it into a competitive game all at the same time?

Also - forget about comparisons to the Amazing Race. This isn't about drama, eating grubs, or made for TV hype. It's real.

Anyone considering this trip should just do it and not look back - my only regret would be if I hadn't gone.

Posted by: rrhall | October 30, 2008 5:31 PM

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