An Amazing Race

I am a sucker for TV.  I’ll watch just about anything, from documentaries, to trashy reality shows (I am looking at you, Dating in the Dark), but the only show I have ever actually wanted to go on is Amazing Race.  Every season, I get so drawn in with the new adventures that the contestants get to participate in.  And like many people, I sit there saying, “I could totally do that” or, “if I were on it, I’d be so much better than them”.  I’m sure it’s very difficult to do though, as they never show the lack of sleep (I’m assuming at least) or the toll the physical and mental tasks take on them.  Nevertheless, I still dream of racing around the world.  For me, it’s the traveling more than the money that is the prize.  Last season, they read my mind with my ultimate adventure, going from South America, to drinking beer out of a boot in Germany, to bike riding in France, to recovering a map in a bottle in the beautiful waters of the Seychelles. 

                Last night a few friends played the Amazing Race board game, and it renewed my desire for such an adventure.  Let’s face it though; what are the odds of getting on the show?  I’m guessing very minimal.  I’m not going to just sit in a corner and sulk though….I’ll still send in the application like the rest of the world, but it got me wondering if there is a real life adventure out there like the one we see on the television show.  A quick Google search produced some great results.

                You can go on your own Amazing Race.  Tour companies have developed an Amazing Race style tour, with many different itineraries.  One tour group, Competitours described their trip as:

“Contestants on the Amazing Race TV show race around the world, but on a Competitours nine-day adventure races the stops and experiences are designed to challenge you and immerse you in the culture of the countries you are going to visit. Each trip has a secret itinerary and participants are fed the information a half-day before each stop.

These intriguing adventure travel trips, pit teams of two against one another, starting from the meeting in a New York airport, where everyone gets the first set of challenges. At each stop, participants can customize their daily challenge itineraries from 2- to 5 choices, but every challenge is designed to immerse the travelers in the local culture. Each Competitask is worth a specific number of points, depending upon the difficulty and the creativity required to perform it. The tasks require a combination of inventiveness, teamwork, resourcefulness, daring and wackiness.

Teams document their challenges with portable video cameras. The judges focus on substance when looking at the videos, versus cool editing, camera angles or special effects”.

                The prize in this adventure is hotel points for another trip.  Other similar companies offer cash prizes.  In either case, you get a great adventure that you won’t forget.  As much as I think I get to know a culture when I travel, I know there is so much more to do and see, and this is a great way to accomplish that goal.  Even if you are on a tight budget, you can still develop a scavenger hunt for your travels.  And if you don’t have the time or funds to do a World race at the moment, a local race between friends can be a great way to pass a weekend and see things in your backyard that you didn’t know was there.

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