What the hek is a trekdek? (Repost)

So I was looking around for this post and I think I somehow deleted it. I found my original word document and decided to repost it.

The concept:

An online community composed of people who create, accomplish, and write about Trekdek travel challenges. The original 52 challenges (52 coming from a “dek” of cards) will be created by me.

The challenges:

The challenges are designed to truly immerse travelers in their new environments and to get them to “Live Well, Travel Well.” Instead of going to every place mentioned in your Lonely Planet guidebook, you will instead complete challenges like, “Take the local public transportation , get off at a random stop and go exploring” or “Go to a restaurant and find out where your server’s favorite place to hang out is.” The idea is that these small challenges will lead to some crazy experiences that engage you with your surroundings and the people around you. Though these challenges will sometimes be awkward and uncomfortable (they are challenges after all), I believe they will ultimately be more rewarding than any sort of guided tour.

Why I started this project:

Though I’m not the most veteran traveler out there, I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel a few places like France, Morocco, Greece, and Egypt. When traveling to all these places, I noticed that I develop a heightened sense of awareness of my new surroundings and my own thoughts. This awareness comes from the simple fact of displacement. Even the mundane details of everyday life like getting groceries or getting back home become an adventure. Trust me, I definitely feel more connected to my surroundings in a Moroccan Souk than I do at Trader Joes.

This sense of awareness also seems to diminish when I focus too much on a checklist of things I have to see and places I have to go i.e. the Lonely Planet Guide. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the travel guide and it is definitely useful for information, but the best times I’ve had while traveling were the times I didn’t plan anything. Instead of focusing on the checklist, I’m paying attention to where I am and who I’m with.

I realize that Trekdek has the potential to become a checklist of challenges, but it’s my hope that the challenge will merely help focus the traveler on being present. Maybe that restaurant server will invite the traveler to hang out with him and his friends at a local pub. Maybe that random stop the traveler got off at led to the discovery of a beautiful mosque that wasn’t mentioned in his guidebook. Who knows what will happen when travelers deviate from a set itinerary.

Every time I’ve stayed at a hostel; I inevitably ended up trading travel stories with my fellow travelers: Crazy security checkpoints at airports, overzealous local Casanovas, and that time I ate some insert weird animal part without knowing it. I hope to replicate that “sharing stories with people you’ve just met and loving it” feeling online. I will consider Trekdek successful when an Australian from Melbourne and a Moroccan from Fez can trade stories on trekdek.com about that time they were in Istanbul and hopped on the public transportation and ended up at a Korean restaurant eating Kimchi with the Turkish owner.

 

-Dale

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2 responses to this post.

  1. […] having understood those issues, I decided it was still worth it to outsource the  manufacturing of TrekDek playing […]

    Reply

  2. Posted by George Scott on May 9, 2011 at 1:08 am

    I had an idea about this. If you had a facebook user, and that user starts friending as many people as possible, then finds relationships within those friends (shared friends) then posts to the wall of each user the challenge (same challenged shared between each friend) on the post the link would link out to your website with an id number loading that challenge and who is it for.

    Then after the challenge you could charge for memorabilia.

    Reply

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