Question. How do you make a multi stopover flight half way round the world more entertaining? A good book? A collection of movies and TV episodes? An attempt to wangle a first class upgrade?
No. You turn it into a race. And that’s just what Jess and I did last year when we travelled from Colorado, USA, to Colombo, Sri Lanka. We discovered that the awesome travel blogging couple Dave and Deb behind travel blog ThePlanetD were going to exactly the same place at the same time as us, and we laid down the gauntlet.
Whoever got there first would buy the beers. Along the way, we posted regular updates, taunts and challenges to each other on social media, as our journey had us crossing the globe with multiple stops. Just one flight delay could mean glorious victory or ignominious defeat.
This was a heck of a lot of fun. Even though we lost. Something Dave and Deb haven’t exactly let us forget.
Obviously, we couldn’t let the scoreboard stay at one – zero forever. Jess and I, it turns out, have a bit of a competitive streak. Plus, the trip was so much fun as we played against each other. We almost didn’t want it to end. Not something you can often say for a multi-leg economy flight.
The answer? Do it again! And so, after a few cold beers and much racking of brains, we are delighted to unveil 2017’s most exciting, race-filled, social media event of the year, the
2017 Globetrotting Challenge!
What is this challenge you ask? How is it challenging? What will we be doing?
Well, it’s quite simple. We’ve got ten days to get from Turkey to Tuscany. We’re racing Dave and Deb. And we’ve got to do ten challenges along the way.
Simple so far. But of course, we don’t want to make it too easy. There are some rules. We have to visit ten countries in those ten days, for starters, which makes the route somewhat indirect. We have to complete ten challenges as we go, with penalties for the losing couple at each challenge. And, we’re not allowed to fly or rent a car. It’s going to be public transport… donkey cart… whatever we can find!
So what do we get when we get to where we’re going, and how do we decide on the winner?
Well, we decided to keep it simple. Whilst we’re going to have to do challenges as we go, with penalties along the way for the losing couple of each challenge, the overall winner will be first to arrive at our destination, at which point they’ll be able to claim the title of “Savviest Travel Couple of the Year”. And of course, permanent bragging rights. Not to mention pick of the best room at our finish line: the luxury villa we’re aiming for in Tuscany, the beautiful looking Borgo Argenina.
I mean, we’ll be pretty tired, so it seemed only fair to finish up in a gorgeous villa where we can catch up on sleep and enjoy some fine Italian food, wine and scenery. Assuming we make it of course.
So that’s the four of us racing. But we need someone to keep us on track. Someone to issue us our challenges. Someone to check in with us, and see how we’re doing. Ladies and Gentleman, allow me to present, MC Extraordinaire, Task Manager, Seasoned Traveller and all around Good Bloke: Gary Arndt of travel blog Everything Everywhere.
If you’re not familiar with Gary, he’s an award winning blogger who has been traveling around the world since 2007. His travels have taken him to 190 countries and territories. His blog Everything Everywhere is widely considered one of the most popular travel blogs in the world. In 2010 Time Magazine named it one of the Top 25 Blogs.
Gary is also the only one of all of us who has actually travelled extensively in the region we’re travelling through, so knows the reality of the challenges ahead. With his steady hand at the tiller, what could possibly go wrong?
How to Follow Along and Get Involved?
Like a tree falling in the woods with no-one watching, there’s no point me telling you all about this if I don’t share with you how you can actually follow our adventures in real time. Thanks to our race sponsor KnowRoaming, we’re going to be fully connected throughout all ten of the countries on our route, able to share everything we’re up to with you guys.
We’ll be doing that primarily on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages, with Twitter and Instagram Stories likely to be the best ways to keep up to date with our day-to-day trials and tribulations, as well as interact with us as we go.
We’ll be using the hashtag #GlobetrottingX to tag all our content, and our social media channels are below for your ease of following:
Follow us on Instagram!
Follow us on Twitter!
Follow us on Facebook!
Choose a Challenge and Get a Postcard!
And that’s not all! You can actually influence the race, and have the chance to receive a postcard from us as we go! One of our challenges is going to be reader chosen, taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria (most likely). We’ve come up with a few options for you to choose from, just pick your favourite from the form below. The fan favourite is the one we’ll do! And if you want to receive a postcard, just pop your address in as well (will close after 100 entries).
If you have trouble using or seeing the form below, particularly on a mobile device, you can also fill it in at this link.
The Nitty Gritty
The race will start in Istanbul on April 23rd after we attend the Inflow Travel Summit and will end in Tuscany at the beautiful Borgo Argenina Villa. Couples will need to navigate their way through border crossings through the countries of Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy, hitting checkpoints and competing in challenges along the way – some of which readers can get involved in!
About our sponsor
We’re thrilled to be supported through this race by KnowRoaming, who offer an awesome solution for travellers looking to stay connected as they travel – with their help we’ll stay online in all ten countries without having to worry about data roaming fees, finding WiFi or buying SIM cards!
We’re doing that with the KnowRoaming Global SIM Sticker, which is an innovative one-time application Sticker that applies to the SIM card of our unlocked mobile phone/tablet. We’ve already applied it to our SIM cards in our phones, it will remain dormant while we’re at home and will automatically connect to local networks when we travel abroad (in 200+ countries and territories!). KnowRoaming also offers a Global SIM Card which works in a similar way, except you just swap out your regular SIM for the KnowRoaming Global SIM Card when you're traveling.
All usage is prepaid and transparently managed in real-time in the KnowRoaming app on our phones so we’ll always be in control of how much we're spending.
KnowRoaming offers rates up to 85% less than traditional carriers in 200+ countries. Unlimited data packages are also available in 90+ countries and counting. This means we can surf the web, check emails, use Google maps, call home, and more, all for less.
KnowRoaming also offers FREE WhatsApp usage so we can stay in touch with friends and family without having to spend anything.
If you’re interested in KnowRoaming, we have a great deal for you as part of our partnership. Usually, the The SIM Sticker is $29.99 USD and is available for purchase at www.knowroaming.com. But, just for our readers, KnowRoaming have offered us a 30% discount code! Use this at checkout to get 30% off when you sign up, plus $5 in credit: JLSAVE30
About The Globetrotting Challenge Bloggers
Laurence Norah and Jessica Norah (yep, it's us!), are a British-American travel blogging couple who run two travel blogs, Finding the Universe and Independent Travel Cats. Finding the Universe is an award-winning adventure travel focused photography blog run by Laurence and Jessica Norah. Live since 2010, it has won multiple awards, including being named a top 10 travel photography blog on USA Today, and winning the 2015 Bloggy for best photography on a travel blog.
Independent Travel Cats is a luxury focused couple travel blog run by Jessica and Laurence Norah that delves into history & culture and provides detailed travel advice and destination guides to its readers. Live since 2013, it’s been featured as a top couple’s travel blog by TripAdvisor. Follow Finding the Universe accounts on social media here: Twitter (@lozula), Instagram (@lozula), Facebook (FindingtheUniverse), and Pinterest (@lozula). Find Independent Travel Cats on social media here: Twitter (@TravelCatsBlog), Instagram (@independent_travel_cats), Facebook (IndependentTravelCats), and Pinterest (@indietravelcats).
Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeill: Dave and Deb run popular couples travel blog ThePlanetD. They’ve won countless blogging and photography awards including back to back Lowell Thomas gold medals for best travel blog at the Society of American Travel Writers. Dave and Deb are well-known travel personalities in both mainstream and online media and have travelled to more than 100 countries on all seven continents living by the motto Adventure is for Everyone. Find them on Twitter (@theplanetd), Instagram (@theplanetd), Facebook (theplanetd), and YouTube (ThePlanetD)
Gary Arndt: is an award winning blogger and travel photographer who has been traveling around the world since 2007. His travels have taken him to 190 countries and territories. His blog Everything Everywhere is widely considered one of the most popular travel blogs in the world. In 2010 Time Magazine named it one of the Top 25 Blogs. He is one of the most awarded travel photographers of this decade and was named the both the 2014 SATW and 2013/2015 NATJA Photographer of the year. Find him on social media here: Twitter (@everywheretrip), Instagram (@everythingeverywhere), Facebook (everythingeverywhere), and Pinterest (@GaryArndt)
We’ll all be posting on our own social media channels, but curating everything on our Globetrotting Challenge accounts. Follow along at Twitter: @GlobetrottingX, Facebook: Globetrotting Challenge and using the hashtag #GlobetrottingX
So Follow along Starting April 23. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
For more information or press inquiries, please contact:
E-mail: [email protected]