Challenge! StayCay to Far Away

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The Frequent Miler team is ready for our next challenge!  In last year’s 40K to Far Away Challenge, we each had a budget of 40,000 points and $400 to travel as far as possible.  And we traveled incredibly far.  Nick visited Hawaii, Japan, and New Zealand before making his way to a tiny island country named Niue in the South Pacific.  Stephen went to Europe and back and managed to visit 6 countries and 9 cities along the way.  After visiting Madrid, Spain, I toured Africa from Senegal to South Africa to the Seychelles.  At the end of the contest (which I won handily… but I won’t rub it in) we asked readers for suggestions for the next challenge.  And readers came through with awesome ideas.

We then planned the 2020 challenge with a combination of reader ideas and our own.  We picked dates.  And then… COVID-19.  Oops.  Our 2020 challenge plans originally involved a lot of travel.  Obviously that’s not going to happen.  So we regrouped and came up with a new challenge that we’re super excited about…

StayCay to Far Away Challenge

For this year’s challenge we’re going to travel far away… virtually.  We’ve defined four mini travel-themed challenges that we’re each going to take on.  And, just like last year, the winner will be decided by you.  Read on for details.

Destination Cooking Challenge


Challenge Details: Create a mini cooking show demonstrating how to prepare some kind of food from someplace in the world.  At Frequent Miler (speaking mostly for myself) we’re not too advanced in the cooking department.  And so, if all goes well, things will go disastrously and comically wrong.

Travel Themed Life Hack


Challenge Details: Create a video showing off one or more life hacks that relate to travel.  Using travel amenity kit eyeshades as a COVID-19 face mask is an example of the type of thing we’re looking for.  Another example is folding a hotel key card to make a usable phone stand.  Of course, the goal here is to come up with new travel related life hacks so those two are off limits.

During our 2019 40K to Far Away Challenge, I used a hotel key to prop up my backup phone to use as video player during one of my several long flights across Africa.

Imitation Travel


Challenge Details: Create a video showing off a destination, but without using real photos or videos. The idea is to creatively use items found around the house to recreate a destination.  The end result could be anything from recreation of a single scene (and a video showing the making of that scene) to a complete moving tour of a recreated destination.

Improv Travel (Unprepared Travel Presenter)


Challenge Details: Each contestant will receive a video tour of a real destination assembled by another team member from their real travel photos and videos.  The contestant won’t know what the footage is until they start recording with their face in front.  The goal is to create an improv tour of whatever the heck it is.  Without seeing the video first, the contestant will use Zoom to record themselves in front of the footage and will have to spontaneously describe whatever they see behind them.  For an example of something similar, check out the following video where I recreated my hike along England’s Southwest Coast Path:

Audience Participation

Are you interested in doing this challenge with us?  If so, please comment below.  If we get enough interest we’ll publish guidelines describing how to participate.

StayCay to Far Away Rules and Procedures

Rules?  We don’t need no stinkin’ rules!  But, we do have a few guidelines…

  • Guideline 1: Contestant videos should be around 3 minutes long.
  • Guideline 2: Each video and a short accompanying blog post should be published by noon eastern time (sorry Stephen and Carrie) on the due date.
  • Guideline 3: The winners will be chosen by our audience.  See the “winner selection” section below for more details.

Video due dates…

We’ve created a schedule to spread out the challenges among the participants so that a different mini-challenge will be completed Sunday through Wednesday on each of the next four weeks.  Look for Destination Cooking videos to come out on Sundays; Travel Themed Life Hacks on Mondays; Imitation Travel on Tuesdays (AKA “No-Travel-Footage Travel Footage”); and Improv Travel (AKA Unprepared Travel Presenter) on Wednesdays.

Here is a calendar with the individual assignments:

Winner Selection

We will pick a different weekly winner at the end of each of the four weeks.  Then, after the four weeks are over, we’ll pick mini-challenge winners.  And finally, we’ll pick one overall winner.  Here’s how this will work (but we reserve the right to change things up if we find that this isn’t working as planned):

Weekly Winner: Most YouTube “Likes”

That’s it.  The title says it all.  We’re going to count up each video’s “likes” (thumbs ups).

When you’re viewing a video embedded in a blog post, it’s a little tricky to give it a thumbs up.  Here’s how: Hover your mouse over the video (or click the video if viewing on your phone) and then click the video title to go to YouTube.  Once there, click the thumbs up icon to “like” the video.


We understand that there are plenty of problems with this approach.  For example, the cooking contestants, who publish on Sundays each week, will have an advantage since their videos will have been available longer and therefore could potentially garner more votes.  Other contestants may have an advantage if their day of week is for some reason more popular for people to watch videos.  Another issue is that some viewers may withhold “likes” until they can compare videos of the same mini-challenge produced by other contestants (please don’t do that though!).  And yet another issue is that a contestant (looking at you, Nick) could ignore the contest guidelines altogether and still get the most “likes”.

Despite all of the above issues, we’re happy with this solution because it’s simple.  And it’s not like we’re picking a Nobel Peace Prize winner.  This is for nothing but weekly bragging rights.

Mini Challenge Winner: Most YouTube “Likes”

Just like the weekly winner, the final winner of each mini-challenge will be decided by counting up the YouTube “likes”.  There will be a Destination Cooking winner, a Travel Themed Life Hack winner, etc.

Yes, this approach is also loaded with issues.  I won’t list them here.  See my comment above about this not being the Nobel Prize.

Overall Winner: Reader Poll

Once all of the challenges are done, we’ll post a reader poll.  Just like with last year’s 40K to Far Away challenge, the winner of the StayCay to Far Away challenge will be chosen by you (the collective you).

To give you an idea of what that will look like, I’ll ask you here and now to make a prediction.  Who do you think will win this challenge?  Pick your predicted winner below:

Who do you think will win the StayCay to Far Away challenge?

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