I got dropped to a mystery location with no money for Lost 2017 – here’s what happened
We made it back to campus in under six hours with no money
The challenge was organised by Jailbreak society and it entailed being blind folded and driven to a secret location. Once we arrived, we had to make our way back to campus within 36 hours. This had to be done without using any money on transport, while completing challenges and trying not to break the law! Although, some rules are made to be broken.
The journey to the unknown
At 8am we checked in with the exec at the SU and took loads of selfies before boarding the coach. The windows had been blacked out, a sheet had been used as a barrier between us and the windscreen and blindfolds had been handed out. Our phones were off and the four-hour journey to the unknown began.
The grand reveal
It was around 2pm when we arrived at the location. We took off our blindfolds and behind us stood The Angel of the North. For most teams, this was a moment of realisation that we had in fact been driven all the way up north to county Durham. Rather embarrassingly for Kazia, Anna and I, the landmark gave away no clues of our mystery location. Thankfully, none of us study geography, so it was only the turn of the wind which seemed to suggest we were up North.
On the run
We quickly disassociated ourselves from the animal onesies, fancy dress outfits and colourful signs of our competitors. So that we could figure out where we were and begin our journey back to the Midlands.
Our first move was to approach the tourists visiting the landmark, and ask directions to the nearest town/city. We also unsuccessfully chanced our luck at catching a ride with the young bloke waiting for his burger at the food van, but he was understandably more interested in his lunch than us.
So we re-focused our attention to the main road. We were well equipped with a large ‘HITCHHIKE FOR CHARITY’ sign, bodies full of glow-sticks, matching neon jackets and a bucket of ‘FREE SWEETS’. This combination quickly gained attention, and within ten minutes of standing on the road side we caught our first ride!
The Geordie Lass
Our first helpful driver was a young woman from Newcastle. She kindly drove us to the nearest service station, which is where our real journey began.
The cute elderly couple
We actually got chucked out of the service station; apparently it’s illegal to try and catch a ride inside! But, that wasn’t before we approached a lovely elderly couple. The man was really interested in our challenge and even spent a good ten minutes rearranging his car to squeeze us. Although cradling an icebox, shopping bags and some sort of boot cover was neither ideal nor comfortable, we were in luck- they were heading all the way down to Sheffield!
We spent around 2 hours in the car with our newly adopted grandparents. Personally, this was one of my favourite parts of the experience. The couple shared their love story with us, along with personal experience of war-time England and even told us the best places to eat in their hometown in Scotland! We parted with our new favourite couple, who even offered to buy us coffee and lunch in a service station just outside Sheffield.
The Welsh Lads
Sheffield service station is where we found the Welsh lads who promised to give us a lift all the way to Birmingham on their way to Bristol: result! A completely opposite dynamic to our last lift; this journey was full of banter, and stories were shared of messy nights out and travelling experiences. What more could you want from a 2-hour road trip with complete strangers? Our new mates Harri and Tom even did a little 10-minute detour to drop us directly outside Birmingham International rail station.
We did it
At this point, we were about 5 hours into the competition and we began to realise how far we’d travelled in such a short amount of time!
Thankfully, the barriers were open at Birmingham International station, and we jumped on a train to Canley. I really hope London Midland trains aren’t reading this. We took the opportunity to complete a few challenges, and managed to blag ourselves a free pint of beer from our fellow train passengers and got our LOST hat signed.
We jumped off the train at Canley, and ran all the way back to campus to find the exec and solidify ourselves as the winning team!
Faith in humanity
Being three young girls, it would have been surprising if our friends and families were not slightly apprehensive of the vulnerable position we were putting ourselves in when taking up this challenge. But along the way, neither one of us felt scared, threatened or unsafe which makes me proud of the society we live in. We were lucky enough to meet kind-hearted people along the way who aided us in travelling all the way from Durham back to Campus in only 5 hours and 52 minutes.
Through this challenge, I was lucky enough to have met wonderful people I wouldn’t have come across in everyday life. This experience has given me funny stories which I will forever remember; I strongly recommend getting involved next year!
Around 50 of us took part in this challenge and so far we have exceeded our target of £2,340 and raised over £4,700 collectively for various charities. I personally raised £425 for Great Ormond Street Hospital; a charity which I’m strongly indebted to after saving the life of my dear cousin who was born with a hole in her heart.