GISHWHES: The Final Chapter

The fifth annual Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (GISHWHES) concluded Saturday, August 12. Initially created by Misha Collins as a way to “defy normalcy,” promote creativity, weirdness, collaboration, and acts of kindness, GISHWHES has broken records and helped people all over the world form relationships and friendships that have lasted years.

Getting a team of fifteen of your closest friends together, much less a team comprised of friends and strangers scattered throughout the world, is a difficult task and, at times, could be stressful. However, this year has been one of the most positive and fun GISH years that I’ve experienced. My team was comprised of friends and people I’ve never met and hardly know. But despite the distance between us, we managed to band together as a cohesive team.

Part of the wonder and fun of GISHWHES is the planning and collaborating on ideas. There is plenty of encouragement to step outside of your day to day routine. However, more than the reminder to defy normalcy and to create art, GISHWHES reminds us to be a beacon of hope, positivity, and light when the real world gets tough.

Thus far, teams have been able to create some fabulous items, providing kindness and laughter along the way. With another successful year, GISHWHES has filled the week with positivity and encouragement from GISHers around the world and within each team.

Items this year ranged from political, such as nominating a qualified female for a position in office, to the weird, such as “make tiny food on your loved one’s grill (mouth).” There were also, of course, the acts of kindness: making gift bags for cancer patients, visiting sick kids at the hospital, donations to domestic violence shelters, and helping provide for the homeless.

Additionally, through their Change a Life item, GISHWHES chooses one person or charity to help. Last year, GISHWHES raised money with Legacy of War for three Syrian families who needed help. This year, GISHWHES partnered with Legacy of War again, and teams rallied together to help Fiona Sargeant keep her ballet school, Dancescape.

She was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and expected the business to close without help. GISHers and their friends, family, and social media followers were (at the time of this article) able to raise over $255,000 thus far, and the number continues to rise.

With this being the last GISHWHES ever (as we know it), every team provided their all (seriously, blood, sweat, tears, sleep, vacation time, sanity) to make this one count. GISHWHES has challenged individuals and teams not only to stretch their abilities and imagination, but also challenged people emotionally by having items that allowed for personal growth. GISHers have pushed to and past their limits (in a good way) and learned that they were capable of so much more than they originally thought.

Though this is the last GISHWHES ever, the experience will be something that can never be taken away from participants. Memories and friendships forged over the weird and thoughtful things that occurred over the course of the week will not be forgotten, and neither will the life lessons that were learned. GISHWHES served as a reminder to break away from the humdrum of monotonous schedules and complacency, and that people find creativity and kindness in all places.

Farwell GISHWHES, but thank you (and a huge thank you ThundercougarfalconLovesDesertRatatouillesLovesKinkyBirds) for the amazing experience and the reminder to defy normalcy, to create art, and, as always, be kind and do good.