A Letter to The People Behind the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen

Dear Misha Collins, Jean Louis, and everyone else behind GISHWHES,

Thank you.

Because of you, my neighbors think I’m crazy, my brother’s neighbors think we’re crazy, and some of my co-workers have solid confirmation that I am, in fact, crazy.  But I don’t care.  I had more fun in the last few days working with people on the other side of the world to put together bizarre works of art than I have had in a very long time.  As an irrationally shy person, it was nice to make nine new friends without the anxiety that comes with meeting people face to face for the first time.  It was also nice to have an excuse to show my “quirkiness” early on in the relationship…

In the last 10 days, I have done things I’d never thought I would do and found out I had talents previously undiscovered.  Because of your crazy attempt at breaking a world record, I spent three days pondering the aerodynamics of Christmas trees and the physics of using helium to fly one then spent eight hours in a cold garage with my family inflating hundreds of balloons.  It was like a sweatshop but with cheese plates and craft beer.  We even had a small child sweeping the floors!*  Instead of spending the holiday weekend melting into a couch watching football, barely talking to one another, we laughed and challenged ourselves to do something crazy.  It might not have worked the way we’d planned, but it was great fun nonetheless.

For the first time since I was a small child, I painted with watercolors.  I made a television commercial.  I drew dinosaurs (and zombies) eating people.  I watched my teammates do crazy things and we all laughed together from our different time zones.  It was worth the lost sleep, foregoing family tradition, the 1,000+ unread emails, and the momentary dead time that my blog took (and my lack of productivity at work, don’t tell my boss).  GISHWHES made my life more interesting and challenged me to think beyond my little boring world.  I am very thankful for that.

I woke up this morning with a strange feeling of loss.  I didn’t know what to do without a crazy art project to plan during my monotonous days at work or phone calls to make that caused shop managers to question my sanity.  It will take some time to readjust to the normal world, but I plan to keep some of that GISHWHES crazy infused in my life.

Perhaps we won’t win (though we totally should), but it will have been worth it all the same.  I hope the disaster of the melting database doesn’t dissuade you from doing this again.  Next year I won’t hesitate until an hour before deadline to sign up.  I’ll be first in line.

Thank you for all your hard work in putting GISHWHES together.  I hope you’ve had as much fun as I did.


Leslie Flynn
Austin, TX
Team #473



* My two year old nephew has a strange fondness for sweeping.  We didn’t make him do it, I swear.