Gishwhes: Silliness Can Save The World

For those of you who don’t know what G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. is, it is the “greatest international scavenger hunt the world has ever seen.” It is the brain child of actor Misha Collins, known best for his role as Castiel from Supernatural. Gishwhes is really, really hard to describe, but basically it’s a scavenger hunt with hundreds of thousands of participants all across the globe. Everyone is grouped into teams of 15, and together teams attempt to interpret and accomplish items for points on the silliest, most wonderful scavenger hunt list ever, all to win an all expense paid trip with Misha himself. My description may certainly not be doing it justice, so feel free to visit their website here for a better description, or look up the hashtag #gishwhes to get a peek into some of the crazy things members past and present have done for the hunt.

Now, this year has been touted as the last year of Gishwhes “as we know it,” so the 6 Nerdy Chicks figured we had to participate! And boy, are we ever glad we did. (Did I just use the royal we? Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. But if I did, Gishwhes made me do it).

Judging from the pictures and videos I had seen before signing up, I knew there would be insurmountable amounts of fun had. But I did not realize that Gishwhes would put me in touch with my inner child that I didn’t realize I missed. Putting together some of the tasks reminded me of arts and crafts in the first grade. For example, one of the items asked for a mixed media artwork displaying fireworks with spaghetti and vegetables.

Spaghetti and Vegetable Fireworks

As I was creating this, I felt as though I was making the science fair project I never got to create as a kid. We even had teammates dressed as ghosts, aliens, chickens, and bears for various hunt items.

Our Team Name!

Generally I consider myself a crafty person and have actually done quite a bit of creating in the past year for my wedding; however, it was so much fun being able to create something and being able to do things just for the fun of it, that could be ridiculously silly, and that wouldn’t be judged (well, it would be judged but not for how “good” it was but for its creativity and silliness). So thank you for that, Misha. I will forever do my best to nurture that inner child—the world will certainly be a better place for it.

What I also realized through this crazy week is that while our world may be in such turmoil, humans are fundamentally kind, and we can make the world a better place by just being kind to one another! As a person who regularly makes a fool of herself to make those she loves smile, it was refreshing bringing smiles to strangers’ faces. Gishwhes certainly forced me to go out of my comfort zone and to dig deep to be courageous as I made a fool of myself in public; however, the reaction I got from strangers really surprised me.

For example, one of the tasks was to play the flute or pan flute for strangers in an elevator, dressed as a wood nymph. As somebody who is always afraid of being judged by others, even strangers, this was a hard task for me. But I did it anyway. I knew I couldn’t play a real song on the pan flute, so I thought I should just be as silly as I could and hopefully the people in the elevator would at least think I was funny. Check out my efforts:

Well, in this case, the family may have been uncomfortable and confused, but just at the end of this clip after my friend had stopped filming and the doors opened, the father actually applauded and cheered, and the family left the elevator laughing. I had never been more proud of not being able to legitimately play an instrument before in my life. Not only did I experience kindness from strangers while completing the tasks, but there was also so much kindness from the other Gishers supporting each other in the social media feeds and groups. Yes, at times they may have been a bit testy with each other, but a lack of sleep might do that to a person!

The week was filled with so many silly moments with strangers and  serious moments too that made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside; it certainly made me want to continue being kind to others, and to show appreciation to those who deserve it.

What was the most striking to me is how much healing a person can do through creativity and silliness. It’s difficult to admit but in the weeks prior to Gishwhes, I had been in a “funk” or, as some may put it, I was depressed. I had been struggling with trying to figure out my future as far as careers are concerned, especially being confronted with the fact that with school starting (I’m an adjunct college English teacher for my dear readers who don’t know), I was returning to a job where I felt unappreciated by the administration and that I felt wasn’t leading anywhere. I still have a lot to sort out, but with the onset of Gishwhes, and with silly and fun tasks to drive my day, I was certainly lifted out of that funk. I’m feeling more positive about returning to work, and I plan to return with much more silliness and positivity than I had originally planned. And, reading through social media posts, I know that this lifting of spirits  didn’t only happen for me.

Adri baked cookies for the Murrieta Police

Overall, it was a crazy, silly, refreshing, fun week. I’m sure all of my teammates and even all Gishers would agree when I say that I learned so much about myself this week, and Gishwhes has certainly  made the world a better place. It is bitter sweet as it was the last ever Gishwhes “as we know it,” but I will continue to hold onto the hope that that simply means there are bigger and better things to come in the future.

Are you a gisher and did you participate this year or have you participated in past years? We would love to see your work! Feel free to tag us on all of your work with @6nerdychicks ! We’d also love to hear any and all of your stories in the comments below!

Melody Kowach

Writer, Editor, and Liaison for 6NC, Melody is a jack of all nerdoms but master of none probably because she has a weird dislike for watching things she's already watched since there are so many new things to watch! Melody enjoys anime, indie games, books, and sci-fi, and when she's not at home binge watching a show or gaming, she can usually be found at Disneyland.

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