By: The (Collected) Canadian
When you’ve been drenched in syrup, and gravity has caused it to pool into your shoes, it can feel a bit like walking in mud. Each step requires additional effort to move forward to the next. Envision yourself like this—on the streets of Los Angeles. It’s a July afternoon. The temperature is nothing shy of scorching. Sidewalks are crowded. This time everyone is staring at you. Some people scrutinize, while others smile. Your friend is holding a sign that explains everything: Free Hugs 4 GISHWHES! It’s an (abnosome) experience that will become one of your most memorable, in a good way. You are part of the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt, or GISH, because that really is easier to type.
I first described this moment to my co-workers. They asked me, “Why?” Why subject yourself to this? My answer was the same as the postal worker who did hug me that day, “Why not?” Why not place yourself outside your comfort zone? Why not try to make someone smile? Why not exercise your creativity? GISH can be an excuse to do these things, or it can serve as a motivation to do these things more often. This year’s hunt is already underway, and I’ve found myself smiling at the works of art shared across social media.
Did I encounter setbacks during my GISH experience? Yes. A man asked if he could lick the syrup off of me, I got sunburned, and I discovered a large number of people did not want to “hug a Canadian,” but…
some did. I saw expressions shift from upset to happy, and shared laughs with strangers. GISH helped me find fulfillment in doing. Taking risks. Challenging creativity. Moving forward, even if it felt like I was stuck in mud. I became part of a team, thus a community, which strengthened my resolve to participate the following years. Together, we’ve surmounted challenges. Together, we’ve given the world hope.
Wherever you may be in the creative chaos, The Collective applauds your hard efforts. Kindness is contagious, and we’ve been infected with the GISH virus. We’re here to help! Go forth and GISH! Our planet needs you.