I first heard about GISHWHES earlier this year after seeing its host, Supernatural actor Misha Collins, posting about it on various social media platforms. Upon hearing about its insanity, I grew curious and questioned how a scavenger hunt could possibly be such a big deal – that is, until I looked at submissions from previous Hunts. It became clear to me that GISHWHES was certainly not an ordinary scavenger hunt (though I should have figured that out sooner considering some of the advertisements featured art of Misha Collins and Queen Elizabeth II in strange predicaments while in outer space). It all seemed so bizarre and weird, but also as if it would be a lot of fun. And then I was hooked, sort of.
While my interest in participating in the 2016 GISHWHES Hunt grew, so did my concern that I would be too nervous to participate in the shenanigans and that I would let down 14 other people (fortunately, that was not the case as I was contacted by the amazing team Sweet Ginger Biscuits). I was still pretty apprehensive, so I allowed my worries to get the best of me and had decided against participating.
I thought to myself, “Well.. There’s always next year to do something a little crazy,” when suddenly I saw that registration had been extended due to some errors. At that moment I swallowed my fears and registered to be part of the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen and contacted the Biscuits – who luckily had a spot open for me! We all quickly hit it off and started discussing our excitement about the Hunt. Everyone was so amazing and kind; I knew that I had joined the perfect team.
One might think that the panic that GISHWHES gives off begins as the Hunt starts, but it actually begins as registration is about to close (even if you are already registered). It then shifts to relief and excitement until it is just mere hours before the Hunt is set to start – then the panic is back and you begin scrambling for GISH-tips on how to prepare for such an ordeal. I even searched for the complete list from the previous year just to get a taste of what it would be like, which only fueled the panic and made me question if I had just sold my soul to Collins for a week. And then the Hunt began.
When the list was finally up, I found myself skimming through the more doable and simple tasks to see what insane and intriguing things that Collins had thought up and included – and there were indeed several crazy tasks.
I have to travel a lot for work, so I’ve learned a thing or two about working the system. It turns out, if you package yourself properly you can send yourself by mail for a fraction of the cost of an airline ticket. Transform your appearance into a first-class parcel and have a friend deliver you to the post office for shipping. Don’t actually ship yourself— just get a photo of your packaged self being weighed at the post office, in a bin at a post office with other packages, or being loaded into a mail truck.
Aside from all of the crazier tasks, there were also a ton of heartwarming tasks thrown in. It made us really happy to see (and do) these tasks the most. I believe that we can all agree that we wish there were even more of these tasks included in the already hefty list.
Handcraft at least 3 birthday cards and send them to this young man: “Boy from Big Bear with severe autism wishes for birthday cards” http://abc7.com/society/boy-from-big-bear-with-severe-autism-wishes-for-birthday-cards/1424726/ – Elizabeth Madsen
Once everyone had assigned, unassigned, and reassigned their desired tasks, we all began working on our tasks and plotting how we would carry through with each of them. I had decided to attempt 14 tasks – they were some of the more sane of the list with three of which being far-fetched.. My favorite task that I completed was probably #10: Find the coupon section from your most recent newspaper. Cut out at least five coupons. Go to the store and leave the coupons on the shelf taped next to the relevant items with a note “From the Coupon Fairy!”. – Elizabeth Fiedler
While it shocked me that Collins did not require us to dress as a fairy while completing this task, I still enjoyed walking around the store and writing little notes with the coupons.
Another task required us to obtain citizenship from a micronation, which was really fun to do! Surprisingly, I managed to gain citizenship from not one, but two micronations: Ruritania and the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis.
As much fun as it is to complete your own tasks, it is even better when you see what your teammates have submitted. Mine were a lot braver than I was, and thus they completed some really interesting tasks.
During the last few hours of the Hunt, you begin to feel a mix of panic and sadness about its inevitable end. Suddenly a week of insanity feels as if it is just not enough and you find yourself already thinking about next year’s Hunt – which you know will be even more amazing.
If you ever question whether or not you should participate in GISHWHES, I highly recommend that you do. There are plenty of things to do whilst remaining in your comfort zone, and you may even find yourself joining in on the more outrageous tasks. You also get to make other people’s days a little happier, which makes it all even better.
The greatest part, in my opinion, is meeting your team. I was lucky enough to join a fun and interesting group of people who all made participating in the craziness of GISHWHES a lot less nerve-wracking. I am so glad to have met and been a part of the Biscuits (Jennifer, Staci, Laurinde, Viki, Nelly, Sophie, Denholm, Gwen, Amy, Angela, Valentina, Seana, “Lambie”, and Kadan). Instead of leaving as soon as GISHWHES ended, the majority of us are still talking daily.
GISHWHES is a strange experience filled with weird and impossible tasks, but it is all worth it.
I will absolutely participate in next year’s GISHWHES Hunt.