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Monday, July 27, 2009

United Nations

With only a couple days before the Competitours travel competition, my Canadian teammate and I met for a planning session in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Sunday. Up until that day, we spoke briefly on the phone and then communicated via e-mail before finally meeting face to face (see the video of the exact moment, here). 

It's clear that we're going to get on very well. We both love adventure, spending time outdoors; and most critical to this trip: we both admit to snoring, so we're bringing our ear plugs. 

We are going to dominate this competition. Sheila is a stickler for the details; since we received the first day's list of challenges, she's been reading clues and carefully plotting our time. I am relishing my role as the one-person "geek squad," looking for technological solutions to problems and visualizing how to document our daily tasks.

Together at Sara's, a diner located near the entrance to Presque Isle State Park, we started to plan our first day in Europe. Instead of pouring over the pages, the sky opened up and poured on us, getting everything completely soaking wet (see video here). We abandoned our post and heading to Romolo's Café where we continued our planning session.

After three hours, we were done and ready to head back home. As I dropped Sheila at her car, our Blackberries buzzed. We had just received notification that the second of our pre-trip challenges had been judged and the standings were posted. We looked at each other hopefully. "Maybe we won this one," we both thought. We anxiously clicked on the link, but nothing happened (bad connection). 

Not to be thwarted, we both hopped in our cars and drove to a spot where we could connect. And there it was. Under our team name, the number 5 jumped out at us (see video here). We had received 5 points for having a video that ranked in the top three for the second of our pre-trip challenges, which was to introduce our team mascot and why we chose it (see video here).

Not bad for a couple of strangers.

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