Can you recall what you got for your 18th birthday (or 21st if that’s the age of majority in your country)? Money? Alcohol? Some books or music? And if you can, isn’t it just because everyone would receive that? I can’t recall any presents apart from a surprise treasure hunt that my friends prepared for me a few days earlier.
How did the treasure hunt proceed?
We rented a small dance hall for the party, and organised food, beverages and music ourselves. That is why one of my friends visited me. We were supposed to go to a friend of hers to borrow some CDs. We were on our way, when suddenly I was literally kidnapped by two men in dark clothes and balaclavas. Luckily they didn’t put a bag over my head because that surely would have given me a heart attack. Seeing that my friend was not trying to rescue me, I only struggled enough to show that I would not surrender without a fight.
The boys, who later turned out to be my friends from school, led me to a “beauty parlour” held by other two boys in a forest. The whole idea of the treasure hunt was to prepare me for my party. These boys – not very apt at using cosmetics – painted my lips, eyes and cheeks and forwarded me to the “hair stylists”. At the next stop my task was to write a short poem praising my beauty. Then I was supposed to put together a dance partner for the party from a rope and whatever I would find in the forest. And when it turned dark, I had only two matches to fit together a photo from parts that I had received at each point. As a reward I was given a cake and a drink and was allowed to celebrate around a bonfire with a whole bunch of people who were involved in the hunt.
Why do I remember the treasure hunt so well?
For several reasons. Firstly, the treasure hunt was totally unexpected although my friends told me they had to come up with something superb after what had been prepared for their birthdays. Secondly, it was in fact something great even though every individual’s contribution was rather minor. Thirdly, on this very day I realised how many people were ready to dedicate their time and energy especially for me and promised myself that I would never again assume that I have no good friends. I have prepared and received many creative gifts earlier and afterwards, but it was this particular one that has most contributed to who I am now – a happy person.
What do you remember from your eighteenth birthday?
- I learned from the plan of the treasure hunt provided by my friend that she had anticipated totally different people to take part in it. So don’t despair if the people you counted on fail. Motivating others is a very difficult task. As soon as I have mastered it, I’ll let you know 😉 Until then, maybe you could give me some hints?
- It is virtually impossible to assemble a photo in the light of just two matches if you don’t know what the picture is supposed to look like. You need either more light or an easy picture.
- If you want to recreate the kidnapping part, pick strong men to play the roles of the bandits. My friends told me they were amazed by how hard I had struggled to free myself powered by adrenaline. Also remember to find a secluded spot in order not to attract too much attention of passers-by, who might call the Police.
- The details of the treasure hunt are up to you. The heart of it consists of the element of surprise and the involvement of as many people as possible to ensure good fun.