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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Great Maui Adventure Hunt - 2011

I know they didn't NEED help seeing the sights in Maui and having a good time. But, when I looked back on how much fun they had with the little treasure hunt I sent them on when we went to Vegas in January, I couldn't help but take it a step further. Jeff loves trivia. Add trivia to a photographic scavenger hunt all over the island, and I figure it had the makings of absolute bliss. So, I set to work researching and creating an adventure for the four of them that I felt would not only help them see many things they might not normally think to go see on their own, but give them a little beer money, and in the end, perhaps help them learn more about Maui, the Hawaiian culture, and life in the islands.

I created four, identical "Adventure Journals", each explaining the rules of the game, each including 85 tasks for them to complete, along with a task key. I packaged each journal and a "Misson letter" into a manilla envelope. I planned to carry them with me on the plane and give them to the guys at the midpoint of the flight. As it turned out, we had a very accommodating and friendly flight host staff who, when I explained what this trip was about and what I planned to give the boys, asked if they could participate. I thought it would be an awesome touch if one of the flight attendants gave them their adventure packets, and they were more than happy to help out. Indeed, when Keith, the flight attendant approached the boys with their packets, it was pretty cool. The boys all looked around to see if everyone on the plane was getting one and then soon realized upon opening the kits, that these were designed especially for them:

The Mission Introduction letter:

The Great Maui Adventure Hunt
May 30th – June 6th, 2011

Hold on to your board shorts, boys. You’re about to embark on a great Maui adventure. This adventure will test your skills at deciphering, quick thinking, wit, and sometimes, charm. Don’t worry, you won’t be asked to do silly, embarrassing stunts (much). But if you are asked, and you’re game enough to follow through, you’ll be rewarded. You see, this scavenger hunt is unlike others you may have participated in during your “youth”. In this scavenger hunt, you’re playing for CA$H. Yes, that’s right. I thought that might get your attention.

So, think of this more like The Amazing Race without the time limit. You’re not racing against each other. You’re not racing against a clock. You don’t have to complete this hunt in any particular order, nor are you required to finish it at all. Go at your leisure. Play when you want, or don’t play at all. Pick and choose which task, if any, you want to complete. If you do play, it might just be worth your while. I mean, who doesn’t want a little extra kala when they’re on vacation? (hmmm…what does “kala” mean?)

Now, here’s your mission (should you decide to accept it). Look over the menu of tasks and pick and choose which things, if any, you want to complete. You can work independently, or as a team. In other words, Bryson may want to do something and Jeff may not want to. Jon may want to do a certain task and Mike may not want to. This isn’t all or nothing. If one person performs a task, that’s fine. That person gets the prize. If everyone performs that task, that’s fine. Everyone shares the prize. If no one performs that task, that’s fine. I keep the cash. At the end of the day, when you present your completed tasks and “trophies” at the Pit Stop (condo), you will be given your monetary reward. Here’s the catch: you will not know how much each task is worth until you bring the “trophy” back to the Pit Stop.

Should you decide to participate in The Great Maui Adventure Hunt, there are just a few rules. Yeah, you knew that was coming. Gotta keep things on the up-and-up, right? So here we go:

1. DON’T CHEAT! I’m depending on your integrity. You’ll have a lot more fun and feel so much better about your “reward” if you play clean. If your task is to get a certain item from a certain restaurant, don’t bring that same item from a different restaurant and turn it in as the true item. I want you to feel good about taking my money from me, not guilty because you cheated to get it. Deal?

2. Mind your manners. Don’t be an ugly tourist. Remember that “Please” and “Thank you” go a long, long way. Also, Hawaii is my homeland and personal responsibility is very important to me (Hawaiians call it “kuleana”). I want you to have tons of fun, but I also want you to remember to be on your best behavior while performing some of these tasks. If you must, use your charm and wit, but use it wisely. Don’t get punched by a jealous boyfriend because you asked the wrong girl to take a picture with you. I don’t want to bail anyone out of the hoosegow, because then, how will I give you your task reward money? Capish?

3. You may NOT use the internet for the answer to trivia questions. You must ask people. In my experience as a treasure hunter and geo-cacher, people LOVE to help when they find out what you’re doing. Go on...talk to folks and see how enthusiastic they get when you tell them you’re on an island-wide treasure hunt. In the alternative, you have to find your info in a brochure, or a book. NO computers! Yep, you’re gonna have to work a little harder to earn your “kala” than just typing up Wikipedia or Googling. That’s just too easy. :::insert evil Pua snicker here:::

4. Above all, have fun. This isn’t a one day thing. It has been designed to last throughout your stay on Maui. Remember you don’t have a time constraint. Some of these things you might not even have to “work” for. They just might be right next to you as you’re lying on the beach. You never know…

Here are a few helpful hints:

You have been provided with a handy task journal. It’s small and has an attached writing tool, so it’s convenient and you can just throw it in your backpack. Everything you need for your journey is in this little book, so you don’t have to carry this instruction list around with you on your daily outings. Don’t lose your journal, or as the Amazing Race’s Phil would say; “I’m sorry to tell you, you have been eliminated.” Then the other guys get to share what would have been YOUR winnings. Epic bummer.

The tasks are color-coded. The key is as follows:

Tasks in black ink are typically going to be general knowledge or trivia questions.
They will require some sort of fill in the blank type answer. The bonus to this is that even after you spend your winnings from answering these questions, you’ll have learned something cool. Who knows? The answer to those questions might come in handy at your next trivia challenge and you’ll be the heroes who came up with the winning score.

Tasks in blue ink require a photo to be taken and shown to the Adventure Panel; aka The Huffine and Long Parentals. This Adventure will mainly be a photographic scavenger hunt. In other words, most of your tasks will be to find an item of interest and photograph it. Of course, remember that all photos are better if YOU are in them!

Tasks in green ink require some item to be collected and shown to the Adventure Panel.

If you get stumped, and it’s driving you crazy, you can always ask the task author for some hints. After a couple of Mai Tais, she might be in a generous, vacation-happy mood. Oh, and as a little side-note, she LOVES to be serenaded. Some nice ukulele music might do the trick. No Aspenglow…thanks very much Jon.

So, in the words of our Cash Cab friend Ben Bailey….you in? J

Have a blast, be safe, welcome to Maui, and Kulia I Kanu’u. (Hmmm..what does that mean?)

Taskmaster Pua & The Adventure Panel

In the end, if they completed all the tasks, they would collect $265 which they could split amongst the four of them and use to enjoy their time in Maui. I tried very hard to make the tasks fun and cost-free. For example: "Take a picture of Mike drinking a tropical umbrella drink", or "Take a picture of Jon wearing a coconut bra", or "Bring back a cocktail napkin from The Barefoot Bar." Then there would be things like "What's between Mile Marker 13 and 14 on the Hana Coast?", "What is this place's true, Hawaiian name?", or "Why is Slaughterhouse Beach called Slaughterhouse Beach?"

Every day they would leave with their Adventure Journals and some books and brochures on Maui, and every evening I would ask them if they had any tasks to redeem. We'd talk about their day and their adventures and they would collect their rewards. It was great for Jeff's parents and Charlie and myself, because it fostered conversations between the generations that were enlightening and brought a sense of humor and comraderie.

I worried, at first, that this might be too much to ask a young man who only got out of the hospital a mere hours before our flight took off. But Jeff was excited and more than willing to participate. I heard from Mike, Bryson, and Jon that Jeff seemed stronger and more healthy with every passing moment we were in Maui and he never hesitated to complete a task.

As our time together came to a close, and I gave Jeff and his parents a hug at the airport parking lot, he said to me; "Thank you so much for our Maui Adventure Hunt. It was awesome and fun. I really appreciate all the work." I told him that it wasn't work at all. It was a labor of love.