Pair win global hunt
Kiwi ingenuity and a sense of adventure helped a former Matamata couple take out the title of the World’s Greatest Travellers earlier this month.
Saskia van Waaijenburg and partner Andrew Parsonage ventured 40,000 kilometres around the globe to win the 2012 Global Scavenger Hunt – a competition similar to the Amazing Race.
The couple, who met at Matamata College, were one of 20 twoperson teams to travel through 11 countries in 23 days, relying on strangers they met to complete various tasks.
‘‘We work so well as a team,’’ said Ms van Waaijenburg. ‘‘I have no problem chatting to people and trying crazy things and Andrew is great at reading maps and taking care of the logistical side. We just did what we would usually do when we go travelling.’’
This was the first year New Zealand was represented in the competition, with a South Auckland team also competing.
Working as a history teacher in Auckland, Ms Waaijenburg said the couple jumped at the chance to enter the race.
‘‘ Andrew is an investment banker and works such long hours so we don’t get to spend much time together. We really liked the idea of turning up at an airport, not knowing where we were going and having to really rely on each other to get things done.’’
Starting in San Francisco, the teams travelled through Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Oman, Cypress, Italy, Rome, Slovenia, Austria, and Prague, ending up in Washington DC.
Some of the tasks included eating a rattlesnake in Taiwan, playing soccer at an orphanage in Burma, walking 39,000 steps across Rome to find Romulus and Remus and buying a goat from a market in Oman.
The race is designed to test participants’ overall travel IQ, including overcoming language barriers, inter- cultural competence and logistic challenges.
Ms Waaijenburg has visited 90 countries and aims to reach 100 before she turns 40 in five years’ time.
‘‘I’m happiest when I’m camping out in a tent in a place I have never been before.’’
The intrepid couple won free entry into the race next year when they will defend their title.
World’s Greatest Travellers: Former Matamata couple Saskia van Waaijenburg and partner Andrew Parsonage walked for 11 hours to find Romulus and Remus as part of the 2012 Global Scavenger Hunt.