What an exhausting week. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have seen statuses like, “Off to make lingerie out of toast,” and a lot of you might still be wondering but what the hell is GISHWHES and the purpose of all this weirdness?
Hello. I’m Willow, and this is my second year of doing GISHWHES: the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. If it helps, the event motto is “Death to Normalcy.” For a third year in a row we have broken the Guinness World Record for the largest scavenger hunt in the world, and the purpose is to get teams from all around the world to step outside the box and to create art/be abnormal. All the “items” we needed to find were set by Misha Collins, an actor in Supernatural (the husky angel in a trench coat).
My team this year was fantastic, with members from Italy, Russia, Indiana, South England and Pennsylvania. And I was finally in a team with my magical friend Tobirion. Each team has 15 people and, as you can see, you don’t necessarily know everyone before signing up. If there aren’t fifteen people in your team by the time registration ends, then you’re merged with another group to make up the missing numbers, which is why our team name is “Gisharks”-loves-“FeatherySquad”!
But you want to see what we created, don’t you? Yes, yes. I’ll get to the good stuff now. Here is our week of madness. Be prepared to witness abnosomeness. I haven’t included every single item we created, but we managed to rack up around 3,330 points!
Item #1 — “GISHWHES Hugs the World!” We are going to break the Guinness World Record for the largest online photo album of people hugging. (We broke it!) The current record is 69,004. (We collectively gathered over 100,000.)
I won’t add all our hugging photos, we gathered a lot in our team alone, but here are some of my favourites:
Photo by teammates Abigail and Tanya.
Item #16 — Russian courts have recently imposed a 100-year ban on Gay Pride parades. Let’s support our Russian LGBT Community! Take a photo of two people of the same sex kissing, while holding up a sign that says: “GISHWHES supports the LGBT Community in Russia!”
Photo taken by teammate Tanya.
Photo taken by Peyton.
Item #21 — Fnd an example of someone who engages in sustained generosity in your community and then do something nice for them. // In my hometown, there is a wonderful man named Ken Reynolds who has given support work for almost his entire life. He helps young students with any problem, no matter how big or small; he ensures that no child kicked out by their parents is homeless; he started and ran for fourteen years a safe counselling place for the community; he supports staff of the local school; he campaigned for mental health awareness and he set up support work for an orphanage in India, which he visits at least once a year. You can’t count all the priceless work he’s done. To say thank you, local teammate Ellen and I organised the community to write thank you notes of any length, which I wrote up in a scrapbook and presented to him. He was very misty eyed upon receiving it. Oh, Ken. We love you. ❤
Item #22 — Model this summer’s hottest fashion trend. Let’s see a swimsuit made entirely from tea bags.
Featuring teammate Gilda, who you can find on Tumblr.
Item #24 — From cardboard and other materials create a miniature movie set of buildings, skyscrapers and homes. The tallest “building” must be at least 3 feet tall. Now dress as the Wooster and demolish/attack the city. Submit a slow-motion of the attack including sound effects.
This hurt so much the next morning. The movie I’m sharing here is a slightly longer version. The final video submitted is a bit shorter as all videos could be no longer than 30seconds unless otherwise stated.
Item #28 — Go to work dressed as a robot. We must see clips of you getting ready in the morning, commuting, and arriving at work and doing your job. We must also see the reactions of people you pass on your commute and/or at work.
Featuring Ellen. Who you can’t find anywhere.
Item #35 — You’re naked and late for your day job of saving cities. You’re in your garage with no time to hit your secret lair. Get dressed using only auto/hom improvements tools and landscaping items.
Item #36 — Make yourself into a truly irresistible pastry or dessert. Place yourself where we might find such a treat: on a countertop, in a display case, at a buffet, in a picnic basket, etc.
Featuring my good ol’ friend Mikey. Thanks for going through with the creamy discomfort.
Featuring teammate Chelsea, who you can find on Tumblr.
Taken by Chelsea.
Item #41 — Have a pool party with at least three guests swimming. In this case, your “pool” shall be made from a large garbage can or dumpster. The party must also include towels, a BBQ, coctails and floatation devices. All three people must be in the “pool”. Bonus points if it’s a dumpster.
Featuring Tobi, Peyton and their friends.
Item #42 — Film your team’s GISHWHES experience – you all communicating with each other via the internet, doing courageous items in public, items at home, laughing, crying, screaming, running – we want to see it all. Include a couple of personal voice-overs or video clips of one or more of you communicating about how it affected you (bad or good). We want to see the journey. Edit it into a 2-minute video.
Item #44 — Gel your child’s (under 6 years of age) hair kind of crazy and tussled like Einstein’s, then have them explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in his or her own words.
Item #47 — Sell an eBook to Jeff Bezos.
Created by teammate Melissa, who is findable on Tumblr.
Item #50 — Little Jack Horner, Little Bo Peep, Peter Pumpkin, Little Boy Blue and the Queen of Hearts at a late-night vice-ridden poker game.
Featuring myself, teammates Ellen and Tom, Mikey (again) and Mikey’s partner, Jammy.
Featuring Anna’s son and his friends.
Item #55 — A preacher in church condemning GISHWHES and GISHWESHEANS.
Courtesy of Melissa and Gilda.
Item #57 — Start a twitter feed for your alarm clock. Get at least two hundred followers. At least once a day the account must post: “BEEP! BEEP! 7:00 AM.” We will be checking the twitter accounts to verify count.
@AREYOUAWAKEYET is run by Tobi and myself! And we think, after browsing and following hundreds of alarm accounts, we may have the most followers of all the alarm clocks!
Featuring Anna’s son, clearly our unofficial 16th team member.
Item #63 — Edit screencaps of 10 different instances of your team using the word “abnosome” (or one of its conjugates) in online posts into one image. [ … ] This will introduce the world to this new, and important word, which of course means: “abnormal in an awesome way.”
Featuring Anna’s son.
Drawn by Tanya. These may not be real rats, but…
Featuring Ellen. Ain’t she beautiful? Sewing toast together was pretty surreal. Laying toast on your naked friend was also pretty surreal, but y’know.
Featuring Melissa and Gilda.
Anna’s hometown, Chelyabinsk!
Item #91 — Pitch a quoit in your finest medieval ware at a popular dog-walk park.
Featuring my youngest sister and I.
Item #92 — Cosplay “Gishbot” as realistically as possible in public.
Created by Gilda.
Created by Anna.
Featuring Anna’s son.
Given by Melissa.
My chocolate spreading helpers, Mikey and Jammy, did not lick the chocolate off afterwards. Alas.
Item #124 — Collect signatures in front of a health food store on a petition to: “Pave all of California’s beaches so we don’t have to get all sandy to go swimming.” Must have a printed form, vest, and clipboard. You must be extremely smiley and optimistic about the whole petition.
Item #129 — Create an innovative piece of “sock monkey” apparel. It can be anything but a hat. Wear it proudly in public.
Gilda made the most adorable socks!
Created by Peyton. It doesn’t really fit the requirements, but it does make me chuckle.
Created by teammate Abigail and friends.
Item #142 — “Hell and back.” In other words, we want to see a before and after photo of a GISHWHES 2013 participant.
Featuring Chelsea. Note the empty teaboxes in image two… 😄
Item #150 — Let’s see a watercolour painting of one of your teammates leading the cavalry of a battle charge. The warriors, however, are not riding traditional horses, they are riding rocking horses.
We created so much more this week, but my blog might explode if I try to share everything. It has been exhausting, exhilarating and balmy. Thank you to everyone who helped out my team. You were pushed and pulled everywhere with barely a second’s warning, but we couldn’t have done it without you.
Thank you also to my teammates. You’re optimism, creativity, kindness and motivational work was an utter joy to share. I hope those of us who are able will work together next year, too.