Team Cali Crush, consisting of biological sciences junior Andrew Jess, mechanical engineering junior Brian Danis and agricultural business junior Carl Wilke, is back from its “Red Bull Can You Make It?” journey through Europe, having finished 23rd out of 165 teams.
“Red Bull Can You Make It?” was a weeklong challenge where teams traveled across Europe using only Red Bull as currency, with no access to money or phones. The team had to reach checkpoints and collect “Social Points” by getting their social media posts liked and shared, as well as “Adventure Points” by completing tasks off of a list.
The team was able to get around Europe by trading Red Bull cans for train rides, or by hitchhiking.
“I’m not sure if this is necessarily legal, but basically we were hopping on trains and once we were on the train a ticket person would come up, they’d ask us for our tickets,” Jess said. “We’d describe what we were doing on the trip and either they’d get really stoked and let us stay on or they’d ask us to get off or they’d call the police.”
One highlight from the team’s trip was their time in Switzerland, which was unanimously their favorite place to visit.
“One of the ‘Adventure Points’ options was to take a shower under a waterfall,” Danis said. “We did that in Switzerland, it was ice cold and we did it for 30 seconds. We all froze to death, but it was a great experience.”
Other memorable experiences included singing and dancing with a bride and groom in Paris, riding scooters down hills in Switzerland and celebrating Jess’ 21st birthday at a bar with the Eiffel Tower as their view.
The team was able trade Red Bull for food, but was unlucky in trading Red Bull for a place to sleep.
“We found sleeping to be one of the most challenging parts but also one of the most fun parts,” Wilke said. “We were sleeping out in the streets, in parks and even on the beach one night.”
Language barriers were another struggle, though the team did have a sheet that explained what they were doing in several languages. The team’s lowest point was being stranded in Northern Italy for almost a day.
“We made a plan to get adventurous and hitchhike from Northern Italy to the next checkpoint in Switzerland and it worked out for the most part, but we got stranded in the middle of nowhere,” Wilke said. “It started raining and we were just beat. Finally, after hours of hitchhiking, this awesome Argentinian couple picked us up and drove us all the way to the doorstep of the checkpoint.”
Though they were only getting a few hours of sleep every night and weren’t eating regularly, the team kept a positive attitude.
“We knew we had this once-in-a-lifetime trip so we decided to make the best of it and always try to be the happiest people we could,” Danis said.
Though they have no specific plans yet, Danis, Wilke and Jess all hope to travel again together in the future, possibly back to Europe.