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Teams to travel across Europe bartering with Red Bull and earning points

Would you travel across Europe with no cash, no cards and no personal phones, just Red Bulls and a backpack?

If you and two of your friends had the opportunity to create your own strategic and adventurous journey by traveling more than 225,000 miles across Europe in a week from April 12 until April 19, that’s exactly what’s ahead of you. You will only be allowed to use smart phones provided by Red Bull, your backpack and 24 Red Bull’s to use as currency. Applications are open until Feb. 14.

“Who wouldn’t want to go to Europe for free and challenge yourself by bartering your way around?” said Antonio Aidan Arruza, a junior marine science major, who already started making a video with two of his friends.

“I am most looking forward to gaining a new perspective and outlook on life due to the challenge provided.”

There’s one goal in mind: reaching at least six checkpoints before the final destination,  meanwhile, posting photos and videos of your journey, completing different tasks from the adventure list. The team with the most points wins a European summer adventure presented by Contiki Travel Ambassadors.

The challenge calls for teams of three. All of the applying teams — from all over the world — will be 165 chosen for the adventure, and 18 are from the U.S.

However, there is also a wildcard single submission where anyone can apply without having a team and will eventually be placed into one international team of four during the beginning of the challenge.

You might wonder how each checkpoint works. A checkpoint allows each team to earn points. There will be 45 of them throughout Europe provided with a challenge to complete, testing each person’s body and mind.

In 2014, there were many opportunities that allowed teams to trade the Red Bulls as currency for accommodation, food and traveling. For example, trading two cans of Red Bull equaled a ride to the Alps to see snow for the first time, three cans for tickets to a champion’s league quarterfinal match and 24 cans for a ride on a private jet.

If this all seems like your cup of tea, here is how to apply: first-step is to gather a team of three, including yourself, to represent FGCU. The team must include three students of ages 18 and older and also have a passport for at least six months. Make sure your team members are willing to explore new challenges throughout Europe that may be outside of their comfort zones. Then your team’s next step is to apply online by visiting the website, redbullcanyoumakeit.com

Once your team has registered and set up an account, the final step to almost creating the adventure of a lifetime is to create an original 60-second video of why your team has the right personality that will fit to the “Red Bull Can You Make It” challenge.

The goal for each team is to get the most views on their video. There are several ideas how to promote your team, such as social media, online websites, campaigns and word of mouth.

This year, teams can even create a video by using Snapchat.

Arruza said his team will utilize social media as well as the power of living on a university to talk to people and spread the word.

“This is a major challenge to us because we are not that savvy in making movies but a great learning experience nonetheless,” Arruza said. “For us, the ideas on making the video come when we are all together.

Once the team’s video is created, the application will provide a link to copy and submit it through YouTube or Vimeo.

Hilary Banks, a senior double majoring in sociology and communication, is another FGCU student who has already started the application with a team.

“I decided to join because it’s a great opportunity, really,” Banks said. “It’s not something you come across every day. I’m very interested in traveling, and I’ve done something similar in Europe for a month, but this would be a different challenge. It’s something else to backpack using only Red Bulls as a currency, and I think I’m up for the challenge.”

Using Red Bulls as a currency is rather unusual, so here is how it works.

Being a risk-taker is something that molds the “Red Bull Can You Make It” challenge. Every team has to creatively think outside of the box when coming up with new ideas in using Red Bull to count as currency and get something in exchange for the energy drink.

Your team would have to be resourceful to combine imagination and skills for necessities in food, lodging and transportation. You might be surprised how generous everyday people can be to help your team find resources. A team last year went to Berlin from Paris with a free airline trip by telling the marketing manager about the Red Bull challenge. While another team convinced someone to take a private jet for free.

“I look forward to meeting different people and connecting with the places we might see,” Banks said. “The kids in my team have been in my life since freshman year at FGCU. I think our strength is our diversity. We’re basically an American, a German and a Brazilian. We all know Europe and are very familiar and comfortable and prepared to what’s ahead of us.”

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