A Vernon father-son team are the world’s best travelers.
Gerry Obrecht and his son and travel partner, Phil Bouchard, were crowned The World’s Greatest Travelers in Toronto May 4 after winning the ninth edition of the 23-day around-the-world travel adventure competition known as The Global Scavenger Hunt.
“We’re thrilled, surprised and absolutely gratified,” said Obrecht, a retired and savvy traveler, after winning the around-the-world competition in the last hours of the last day.
“We worked hard together, depended on the kindness of strangers in strange lands, and trusted our combined travel skills and instincts. It was a challenging 40,000-kilometre event against some great competitors from around the world. And in addition to this awesome trophy, we get to come back again next year for free. We can’t wait. Only 364 days to go.”
As revealed on The Global Scavenger Hunt event blog, teams touched down on four continents and visited 10 countries including China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, Qatar, Denmark, Sweden and Norway over the three weeks between April 12 andMay 4.
The event took its contestants on their international treasure hunt from Los Angeles 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 site-doing and interactive cultural scavenges on their global quest, ferreting out the answers to locations and extraordinary places, and doing remarkable things, all while eating exotic foods and experiencing bizarre local festivals…even modern ballets in Oslo.
“We felt very lucky to win this event and it was great to succeed against other great travelers,” said Bouchard, loyal son and welding contractor.
“We literally went on a blind date with the world, from riding elephants and visiting sacred temples in Kathmandu to helping Cambodian orphans and visiting ancient bazaars. It was truly amazing.
“And we beat some very hardy and well-traveled international competitors too, especially the three-time champs and those Kiwis. I’m amazed and happy, but thoroughly exhausted. I need a relaxing vacation from my vacation.”
Obrecht and Bouchard were presented with twin crystal trophies for winning The Global Scavenger Hunt at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto after completing almost 600 global scavenges.
All the teams participating in this annual travel adventure competition were helping to raise funds towards a $1 million goal for lauded organizations like KIVA and Free the Children, among others, to build schools and provide micro loans.
“I am really proud of my fellow Canadians (Obrecht and Bouchard). They simply outworked, outhustled and outlasted everyone else. But it was close, winning it in the last hours of the last day. It turned out to be a great global competition among some truly worthy travel adventurers,” said William D. Chalmers, the 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.”
To date, travelers from almost 50 countries have applied to join the annual adventure over the years making it truly an international global travel competition.