ENCINITAS — After being laid off by Kyocera in the fall of 2010, Chris Geirman went ahead on a planned white water kayaking trip to Bhutan, Nepal. Because he didn’t have a job to return to, he extended the trip to include Southeast Asia.
Just prior to the layoff, he read the Timothy Ferriss’ book, “The 4-Hour Workweek.” It provided food-for-thought during his journey.
“It changed the way I thought about providing for myself,” he explained. “I decided to create my own opportunities going forward. The ultimate goal was to have more free time to travel and more control over my life.”
Geirman signed up for a local social club that offered house parties, volleyball, outings to concerts and scavenger hunts. The latter caught his attention.
“I thought, ‘I want to do that … I can do that,’” he recalled.
The experience led to the birth of his business, FrogQuest Photo Scavenger Hunts.
Geirman hosted his first two events in San Diego. On June 9, FrogQuest is making its North County debut with a photo scavenger hunt beginning at 1 p.m. at the Lumberyard Tavern and Grill in Encinitas. A social gathering, including a slide show of the day’s photographs, will follow.
Anyone can participate whether they are part of a (four to six-person) team, or come alone and are willing to be assigned to a team. Geirman said the only requirements are a sense of adventure and a web-enabled phone with camera.
At the beginning of the event, each team receives a list of about 70 photo quests valued with points, the number of which is based on the level of difficulty. Previous photo quests have included a synchronized group handstand or persuading a store manager to allow a team member to pose with a mannequin in a display window and dressed in the same apparel.
“Another one was having an entire team gather inside a portable toilet,” Geirman said. “Participants received bonus points for each stranger who was in there with them.”
One team member is assigned responsibility for taking a photo and emailing it to Geirman. A former IT professional and web developer, Geirman designed a software program that enables him to validate photographs to ensure adherence to contest criteria, then organize them into a slide show that is shown at a post-FrogQuest celebration.
Geirman has been cruising Encinitas the last few weeks getting ideas for photo quests.
“Developing the quests isn’t that easy,” he said. “I’ve searched the Internet for inspiration and gleaned inspiration from those around me, and now I’m constantly thinking about what would make a fun quest. I’m growing my database one inspiration at a time, but am always happy to hear suggestions from others.”
The second-place team at the last San Diego FrogQuest in April, called “Frog Whisperers,” is returning for the Encinitas event with two of the original members, including Andy Hughes.
“San Diego FrogQuest was a fun, social event that was different than most things you do,” he said. “There were certain themes such as ‘stores and escalators,’ so we went over to Horton Plaza and knocked off a bunch of quests there. The goal is not to do all the quests. You go for the high-point ones, keeping the others in mind. As long as you are capable of walking, I think it appeals to anyone with a sense of adventure and challenge and competition.”
Participating teams are required to come up with a name and costume theme in advance to show solidarity. Other teams who have participated include the “Irresistibles” (wearing black dress, red lipstick and carrying a microphone) and “Tenacious T” (wearing green, hand-painted shirts).
To register, visit frogquest.com and sign up for a newsletter. Early notification is $20 for solo participants; $100 for a team of four to six members. Late notification is $35 for solo participants; $175 for teams. The deadline is 10 p.m. June 8.
People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to participate. “It’s all photo-based, so it’s not a physical challenge,” Geirman said.
The Lumberyard Tavern and Grill is located at 967 S. Coast Highway, Encinitas.