To some, that phrase may bring fear and uncertainty. To others it could bring joy and excitement. But mostly it brings confusion, weird looks, and a ton of questions. As a Gisher (one who participates in GISHWHES), we are used to the latter.

I am still some what new to this community. I have only participated twice. I went in blind my first year (2015). I had no clue what to expect and I didn’t know anyone. A week or two before the hunt the final teams are released and if you signed up solo, or had an incomplete team, this is when you would learn who you’d be sharing this crazy journey with. And I was lucky. The people I was placed with my first year were/are amazing, and we are back and we are in it for the win!

And to have fun. And, you know, to spread cheer and happiness and stuff. Blah blah blah….[insert winning trip location here], here we come!


This is the most frequently asked question I get when I tell people what I am doing. GISHWHES stands for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. It takes place for one week during the summer, usually the first week of August. You either form teams, or are placed on teams consisting of 15 members. It does cost a bit to join ($21.99 this year: 2017), but the money goes right back into the hunt, funds the winners trip, and also goes towards a great organization: Random Acts. If you truly don’t have the money to join, you can apply for a Gisholarship, which is a generous donation from other awesome Gishers.

What Exactly Happens During GISHWHES?

On the first day, a list is released. That list will consist of almost 200-ish items.

At first glance, you will think “there is no way in hell this can be done!” Then you will panic and begin searching for something you may find feasible. You then panic again because “you want me to have an army helicopter lift an army tank in the air while hanging with a GISHWHES banner?!” But once the initial shock has worn off, and you have a cup of calming tea (or a shot, I don’t judge), you realize that your uncertainty has now turned into determination. And before you know it you are sleeping maybe 5 hours a day, your house/room looks like a craft store exploded, and you are out and about either making a fool of yourself or doing something worthwhile like volunteering. Or both.

Who Are Your Teammates?

Your teammates for GISHWHES are either your friends you have recruited, or you can be placed on a team. Your teammates can be from all over the world, which could be inconvenient due to time zones and such, but convenient due to some items being required for you to live in certain areas and regions.

They will also be your rock. They are your support system. My team and I constantly communicate. This is like a full time job plus overtime. Only it’s way more fun than my actual job. How can I make this my job….?

How Do You Submit Your Finished Items?

Once the hunt is under way, visit the website and login. You will now see an option to submit completed items. You can either submit them separately or leave one person in charge of submitting them. Make sure you pay very close attention to the guidelines about the items. Some have specific instructions as how to complete and upload. You don’t want to be penalized and risk losing valuable points!

Other Helpful Tips and Advice?

  • Sleep now, because you won’t during the hunt.
  • Do some research. See if you can look through past lists just to get a better idea of what’s coming. Stock up on feminine hygiene products (just trust me on this one), and craft supplies.
  • Make sure you have a good camera to use! This is very important as you want your images to be clear and precise, not grainy or blurry. I personally have a Nikon D3300, but you don’t need a fancy camera.
  • If you don’t already have one, create a youtube and imgur account. This is how you will be required to submit your items.
  • Start communicating with your teammates as soon as possible! Start making a plan of action. You will want to be very organized. Maybe elect a team captain, someone who can motivate and make sure things are running smoothly. Find a system that works best for you, as every team does things a little differently.
  • Read and then re-read the Commandments. Some of them actually contain important information, believe it or not!
  • Follow GISHWHES on social media outlets. Especially Facebook and Twitter. There will be constant updates.

Enjoy Yourself

Seriously. This is a chance to break out of your comfort zone. You will make people question your own sanity, but it’s all worth it. You will meet people from all over and potentially make some great friends along the way! Don’t shy away because you think you can’t do this, because you can! This is a strange little world we are all in. Your fears and doubt are shared with all those participating.

In a world that is currently filled with such hate and violence, and Donald Trump, this is our chance to make a difference and put a smile on someone’s face!

Happy Gishing, everyone!