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  • Writer's pictureMoriah Joy

Roaming Through Norfolk: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Words and Images courtesy of Moriah Joy.

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time staying still. I don’t like being in one place too much or doing the same thing over and over, which is partly why I’m so drawn to theatre. Nothing is ever exactly the same and it offers the opportunity to look at the world differently. Recently, I’ve been trying to find different adventures I can go on that are low risk, and I stumbled upon a scavenger hunt app. Fun fact: scavenger hunts actually date back to the 1930’s, when actress, pianist, and professional hostess Elsa Maxwell incorporated them into her famous, exclusive New York parties. So chances are if you enjoy theatre, puzzles, or exploring, you would have fun on a scavenger hunt.

Think you know Hampton Roads pretty well? If you’re like me and from a different city or even a different state, odds are that you have a couple of favorite places or restaurants, but you may not typically go outside of that box unless someone invites you to try something new. Even though I’ve been in the Hampton Roads area for almost three years, I’ve never really taken the time to see what’s around town outside of Google searches, so I thought I’d try a scavenger hunt of my own.

There are numerous apps to choose from, some of which have hunts specific to a location and some that focus on activities that can be done anywhere, or you can even make your own scavenger hunt if you’re feeling really creative. For my adventure, though, I decided to use the Let’s Roam app and chose the Mystery of Norfolk standard hunt. In the Hampton Roads Area, Let’s Roam offers three different courses to choose from, one in Norfolk and two in Virginia Beach, one of which is a bar crawl. The hunts that they provide guide you to different historical buildings or points of interest and art in those areas that may otherwise be easily overlooked. Once you get to the different locations, the app will prompt you with different trivia questions about things that can be found in that area.

Let’s Roam has a lot of free trials and ways to earn free scavenger hunts if money is tight by completing daily challenges to earn coins that can purchase the adventures. However, you can always purchase coins directly to do the hunts as well. For example, a standard hunt is 1,000 coins which equals roughly $14. You can also upgrade the hunt to a special event like a bachelor/bachelorette party, birthday, or date night.

Now, I was a pretty avid Pokemon Go Player two years ago, and I was always around the Pagoda whenever there was an event going on. I thought that I knew the Downtown Norfolk area pretty well, but I was very wrong! I realized that I never paid attention to all the details and the history that this city has. I felt myself get lost a few times looking at all the murals and sculptures throughout the city. One of the places that really stuck out to me was the Slover Library. I had passed it many times before but never before taken the time to really look at the building's fusion of architectural styles in addition to the art that’s across the street. Unfortunately, when I was doing my scavenger hunt the library was closed, but I am excited about the prospect of further exploring this gorgeous building and all it has to offer.

Throughout the hunt, it felt as though my fellow explorer and I were performing bits of improv, as we would randomly have to pose or create a scene, like rowing an invisible boat or performing on an imaginary stage, both which were included in the main hunt. We never knew what to expect from one moment to the next, and it was exhilarating. Also, if you’re considering making a scavenger hunt for yourself, I highly recommend thinking of the most unusual things to find. For example, I was most proud of myself for one of the team challenges where we had to find a cowboy hat. While wandering through the MacArthur Center, I figured there wouldn’t be any cowboy hats for sale in winter, but I knew there was a GameStop, and viola! Red Dead Redemption II.

Some of my favorite parts about the scavenger hunt were the personal challenges that the app gives to individual players based on the type of avatar chosen. For example, I chose the explorer avatar, so most of my challenges were to take photos, though I did also receive a few trivia questions to answer for extra points. Meanwhile, my teammate chose the brainiac avatar, so trivia questions ended up being most of his side challenges. I’ve always found that I like the side quests in video games better than the main challenges, and this was no different. I’m also extremely competitive, and I really enjoyed how the challenges throughout the hunt could either be accomplished by working together or by going head to head.

Not everyone will be up for a bunch of walking or feel safe going out right now, and that’s okay. There are lots of apps and websites that are offering versions of their hunts to do at home so you can still spark your inner adventurer. If you’re really creative, you could even go as far as creating your own version as a way to have a fun family activity.

My challenge for you this year, fellow reader, is to unleash your curiosity. Try something you normally wouldn’t, learn more about something you’re interested in, and maybe between those little sparks, life will start to seem a little more beautiful again.

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