GISHWHES has been over now for more than two months, but I find myself constantly reminiscing and still feeling the effects of that incredible week. It’s an experience that’s hard describe; certainly impossible to talk about without garnering strange looks.

Item 42. VIDEO: Film your team’s GISHWHES experience – you all communicating with each other via the Internet, doing courageous items in public, items at home, laughing, crying, screaming, running – we want to see it all. Include a couple of personal voice-overs or video clips of one or more of you commenting about how it affected you (bad or good). We want to see the journey. Edit it into a 2-minute video. 103 POINTS


GISHWHES, an acronym for The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, is just that. It’s a seven day scavenger hunt that’ll have you saying and doing things you never thought you would, questioning your own sanity, becoming friends with complete strangers all over the world, revitalizing your creativity, and is quite possible the most fun you’ve had in your life.

For those unfamiliar with GISHWHES, it was started by actor Misha Collins who plays the angel Castiel on Supernatural. Misha also runs a non-profit called Random Acts, dedicated to spreading kindness throughout the world. Not all items on the list are just strange and weird, some do good and help people. That’s thousands of people all over the world doing kind things for people and making the world better. That is what GISHWHES is about.


This was my first year participating in GISHWHES and I could not have asked for a more fantastic team. My team, The Angels Have Fallen Loves Mishas Minions, is a mishmash of 15 women from all over the world: 7 scattered around Great Britain, 3 from Canada, 3 from California, and 2 from Arizona. Aside from the friends we signed up with, we didn’t know anyone else on our team. That soon would change. Leading up to the start of the clock we all met online and got to know each other. We talked of strategy, each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and how we were going to win this because we were clearly the best team out there. We were confident. Excited. Out of our minds.

All Hell broke loose.

On Sunday, August 18th 2013 at 1:32pm Arizona Time the list was posted online for all teams to see, however, with so many people logging in to get the list the site crashed. It was the most agonizing 40 minutes of our lives. We sat there clicking, refreshing the page until finally one person had access to the list. Then another. Then another. Then all Hell broke loose.


The item list consisted of 154 items, all with varied point values and levels of difficulty, though the two never seemed to go hand in hand. The goal was simple, get the most points and win the grand prize: a three-day, all-expense-paid trip to Vancouver, BC (Canada), where the winning team will take a chartered seaplane to a majestic island and be joined by Misha Collins for fish stew, a séance, and something strange, exciting and Viking-related. You can find the full list here.

What followed was a flurry of messages back and forth between our team members claiming the item numbers they wanted to tackle. For each item you had to either take a photo or video (specified by item) of whatever it asked for and upload it, so in this respect it’s a digital scavenger hunt. I offered to be the person in charge of submitting the items for our team and I came up with an easy way to update the list and allow everyone access to see who claimed which items and the level of completion of each item. It was my sneaky way of seeing all of my team’s incredible submissions.

This was such an amazing experience and one that’s certainly too difficult to put into words, so I’ll just let the images speak for themselves.

67. IMAGE: Use a smartphone or tablet computer to find water. You must be riding a camel. 92 POINTS

13. IMAGE: A fully dressed nun in her habit going down a waterslide or swinging on a rope into a river. 100 POINTS

36. IMAGE: (CALENDAR ITEM) Make yourself into a truly irresistible pastry or desert. Place yourself where we might find such a treat: on a countertop, in a display case, at a buffet, in a picnic basket, etc. 82 POINTS

5. IMAGE: A stormtrooper at a laundry mat folding clothes. 56 POINTS

41. IMAGE: Have a pool party with at least three guests swimming. In this case, your “pool” shall be made from a large garbage can or dumpster. The party must also include towels, a BBQ, cocktails and floatation devices. All three people must be in the “pool”. Bonus points if it’s a dumpster. 80 POINTS

31. IMAGE: Miriam Weiss. Have at least six men in military, police or fire uniforms holding you over their heads as you sunbathe on your beach chair. 48 POINTS

10. IMAGE: Jennifer Kristiansen. While showing some sign of the dragon-attack on your clothing or body, panhandle on a sidewalk (NOT ON A MEDIAN IN TRAFFIC!) with a sign that reads: “A DRAGON BURNED MY CASTLE DOWN.” Donate any money given to you to your local food bank. Bad karma if you don’t. 47 POINTS

60. IMAGE: Safari time! Construct an animal you would see in the African savanna entirely from feminine hygiene products. 47 POINTS

54. IMAGE: Decorate your cubicle or office as GOTTWHES “Greatest Office Trap the World Has Ever Seen,” including an enticement to lure strangers in. Sit in it and wait. 27 POINTS

53. VIDEO: Using clips of West Collins that his parents have exploitatively posted online, lay down a rockin’ beat (electronic or human beat box) and create an original rap song. The lead “singer” will be West. You provide the dancers. 46 POINTS

96. VIDEO: FLASH MOB! Musicians and singers playing and singing “Carry On My Wayward Son.” The performance must take place in a crowded place of people sitting and waiting: a large train station, a mall, a passport office, an airport, etc. The video must begin with all of the performers undercover, blending in with the rest of the public. Then, one musician stands and begins to play their instrument. Then the others slowly join in. Record the full song and 20 seconds before the song begins. There must be AT LEAST 6 musicians and 6 singers playing to a public crowd of at least 35. 200 POINTS

71. VIDEO: Dress up in your finest “steampunk” attire and get behind the wheel, rudder or other steering instrument of a steam-powered vehicle (train, steamboat, thresher, etc.). 66 POINTS

143. IMAGE: Create a grammatically correct anagram sentence using the first names of each of the members of your team. The image must show both the first names of your team members and the sentence. 27 POINTS

And I can’t wait for next year.