Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Around the world race for charity

Two Indiana Jones from Southern California Crowned The World’s Greatest Travelers™
After 23-Day Around-the-World Travel Adventure Competition Finishes

Toronto, CANADA (May 5th) – Bart Hackley of Newport Beach, CA, and his teammate, Steve Hunt, of Hermosa Beach, CA (Aka The Beach Boys Team), were crowned The World’s Greatest Travelers™ in Toronto on Saturday after winning the 4th edition of the 23-day around-the-world scavenger hunt travel adventure competition GreatEscape2008: The Global Scavenger Hunt.

“We’re thrilled, surprised and absolutely gratified,” said Steve, a 61-year old Los Angeles-based developer, after winning the around-the-world travel adventure competition. “We worked hard together, depended on the kindness of strangers in strange lands, and trusted our combined travel instincts. It was a challenging 25,000-mile event. It was also like a Christmas gift hidden under the tree. In each location we unwrapped a new surprise. All Type-A travelers should take this challenge. We survived and right now I feel numb.”

GreatEscape2008 touched down on four continents and visited 11 countries including China, Malaysia, Nepal, Bahrain, Egypt, Bulgaria, Romania and Holland, over the three-weeks between April 11th - May 3rd, that took it’s contestants on their international treasure hunt from San Francisco to Toronto – the long way! The Teams of two were required to seek out and answer cryptic clues that sent them on to other more challenging cultural scavenges on the global quest, ferret out the answers to locate extraordinary places and do remarkable things, all while eating exotic foods and experiencing bizarre local festivals.

“We felt confident that we could win this event, but it was the hardest competition I have ever partaken,” said Bart, a 63-year old Balboa Island-based developer who is also a Guinness Book of World Records holder and Olympic Senior medalist who has visited all but 11 of the 317 countries in the world according to the travel group the Century Club. “We literally went on a blind date with the world, riding elephants and camels, and we beat some very hardy and well-traveled international competitors. I’m amazed and happy, but thoroughly exhausted. I need a relaxing vacation from my vacation!”

In the spirit of true Indiana Jones, Bart and Steve were crowned The World’s Greatest Travelers™ and presented with twin crystal trophies for winning The Global Scavenger Hunt™ high atop the CN Tower Saturday afternoon after completing almost 250 global scavenges and collecting over 7,000-points for their efforts. Their nearest competitors, Zoe and Rainey Littlepage-Booth, both US attorneys, who were over 1,600-points behind the winners. The 2008 events’ sponsor, High Sierra helped outfit the Teams with travel gear. All the Teams participating in this annual travel adventure competition were helping to raise funds towards a $1 million goal for lauded organizations like: Doctors Without Borders and KIVA, among others.

“I am proud of these folks, they simply outworked, outhustled and outlasted everyone else. They came to win and they did. The true race was for second place and that turned out to be a great global competition among some truly worthy travel adventurers,” stated William D. Chalmers, travel book author and Event Director. “The Global Scavenger Hunt is a true cultural immersion and travel adventure competition that challenges our competitors to solve some really neat cultural puzzles along the way of their international quest. We believe that travel brings people closer together, fosters global understanding and improves compassion for all involved,” continued Chalmers, “Going around-the-world on one trip is an exciting prospect and when we add a little Indiana Jones–like scavenger hunt adventure to it, we feel that The Global Scavenger Hunt™ is a classic travel adventure competition bar none that is just getting bigger and better every year. We threw everything at them this year and the competitors were equal to the task. I’m delighted for Bart and Steve and they deserved to win, I hope they come back next time to defend their title in GreatEscape2009!”

The Global Scavenger Hunt™ has garnered tremendous global media attention since it began: Outside magazine called it “…one of the most amazing trips in the world!” NPR’s “Savvy Traveler” host Dianna Nyad, thinks that The Global Scavenger Hunt “…is just such a great idea!” And Time magazine says: “…would be Indiana Joneses will have a chance to follow in his footsteps…an international event that restores the curiosity and adventure.” So far, travelers from over 45 countries have applied to join the annual adventure over the years making it truly an international global travel competition.

“It is like Survivor, The Amazing Race, and the Eco-Challenge all rolled into one except with much more cultural interaction,” is how one previous competitor, Marvin S. of Canada, explained his participation in the 1st global competition that combines a treasure hunt with the style of the 19th Century Grand Tours and the jet-setter reality of 21st Century travel. But the Amazing Race and Survivor reality shows are strictly for amateur wannabes and armchair voyeurs, because this real world travel adventure is for the truly travel savvy among us who crave authentic adventure, genuine exotic travel, intimate cultural immersions, real competition and world-class fun.

“Having just completed our fourth safe and successfully run event, we’re happy to have created such an internationally captivating competition that has drawn the attention of some of the world’s best travelers,” boasts Chalmers. And Chalmers ought to know a thing or two about international races, as the winner of a previous around-the-world race on public transportation, organizing this annual travel competition has become his dream come true. “I would love to participate, but setting up this annual event is equally challenging and we continue to attract world-class contestants and visit uniquely world-class destinations along the way.” (National Geographic Adventure magazine knighted William Chalmers the “World’s Greatest Traveler” in April 2002 for his collective travel efforts.)

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