Alienware challenge 2011 Kicks off

If you were an avid reader of my website last summer, you’ll know that I participated in the Alienware Backpacking Challenge, where 4 bloggers were sent out to the big bad world with the bare minimum, a minimal budget and a sweet M11x laptop. We had to endure weekly challenges for 8 weeks, followed by a final public vote for the $5000 winner. I won by the skin of my teeth, which was the icing on the cake. I had so much fun and it was such an incredible experience so I was delighted when I saw that they would be doing the challenge again this summer.

    Introducing the contestants
  • Emer Sugrue
  • John Reily
  • Miguel Alonso
  • Petya Jeleva
  • You can follow their weekly challenges and adventures on the Alienware Challenge website. This week they’ve got to make a tourism video about London! That’s pretty cool since there are soooooo many places that one could use in the video. At the end of the week, you’ll be able to vote for your favourite submission.

    For those who may be interested in backpacking around Europe or are following this years Alienware challenge, here are some travel tips from last year:

    1. Be wise with your money
    This point had to be made on video.

    2. Be with your friends
    As the only female in this contest, I did not travel alone anywhere. These days it’s not safe and I really didn’t feel like being taken advantage of. So I have not really spent a single moment alone in the past 7 weeks as I have been surrounded by my friends.

    The only time I was with someone kind of random, I got touched when I fell asleep in the car That was weird.

    Not only is it a lot more fun to have someone to share your experiences (and expenses) with, but i’m very humbled by how nice they all were about the weekly challenges. Every single week I have had help from my friends to complete the challenges; wheather they were filming, calling up MMA gyms, helping me with ideas and just generally being supportive.

    I felt sorry for the other guys, especially during the sports challenge week as 2 of them didn’t have anyone to film them really doing the sport! So while they had to get creative to show the challenge in other ways, i’m sure their submissions would have been much cooler had they had someone to film them

    The best times from my trip (and there were so many, I can’t pick one) were all shared with someone and these people were the ones to help make my trip that much more amazing, special and incredible.

    3. Double check EVERYTHING
    Normally i’m pretty thorough with checking all the bookings but I think this lesson has been learned by both Ben and I. Earlier in the challenge (maybe around week 2) remember Ben was homeless? I’m sure it could have been avoided by double checking the train station his train was leaving from.

    For me I learned this when leaving the Netherlands for Istanbul. Remember the first blog from there? Well it all started when I said to Ed at the airport “Please don’t be mad but… we’re going to another airport than I originally thought”. In my defense I only selected the main airport when booking the tickets but somehow we ended up booked to another airport anyway.

    I had no idea where this airport was so when we landed I had to ask exactly where on the map we were. Turns out we were over an hour away from the city. Fantastic. This is where we got scammed into paying for a non-existant shuttle, followed by a “private cab ride”.

    4. Research places before you go there
    There are so many amazing places in Europe to see and depending on what you like; beaches, archaeological sites, museums, monuments, clubbing etc

    Do a little bit of research beforehand to make a rough “plan of attack” about what you want to see and do. Don’t do what I did and think “Hmm this place looks cool from google image search, and it’s sunny… let’s go here!”.

    This method CAN work out for you as it’s pretty adventurous to stumble upon places that you’d never expect to, but it’s also really nice to know the history behind everything.

    A good website to use is wikitravel.

    5. Bring an M11x!
    Everyone who i’ve been around has loved this laptop, if only for the disco setting i’ve put the keyboard on. In all seriousness, it’s been my home away from home for the past 7 weeks. Right now I’m in Turkey and I’m enjoying QuakeCon as if I was at home!

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