That was definitely a first for me. Last week, Heather and I put a heavy, round metal object through Austin airport security (it was actually ticking – I’m not kidding) and boarded a plane to [an undisclosed, amazing destination], and buried it in the earth. Then we played for a couple of days and came home.
Easily one of the greatest trips of my life. Not just because we had a few days away from the kids as a couple, but also because going on a secret mission like that was something I’ve never really done before. No one knew where we were – not our friends, not our children, and not even our mother-in-law who graciously flew in to Austin to watch the kids. We couldn’t bring any souvenirs back when we returned, and we couldn’t share a single detail of the trip.
All we can share is this: somewhere on the planet, there’s a rosebush. And buried beneath the rosebush is a sturdy wooden crate containing a moisture-proof barrier bag, which houses a weathered leather satchel. Inside the satchel, wrapped in burlap, lies a shiny aluminum globe with pure gold-plated continents and a blood-red ruby where X marks the spot. It’s beautiful and substantial, but it’s also a mysterious mechanical device (hence the ticking). If you press in the continents in the right order – tracing Magellan’s travels around the world – one of the continents will actually pop out to reveal a secret drawer. And the best part – inside the drawer is the key to a safe deposit box at a nearby bank which holds a college scholarship fund of $10,000 USD. That’s all anyone needs to know for now.
When we go back to the rosebush at the end of the summer, it won’t be secretive at all – we’ll have bloggers blogging, social media tweeting away, and plenty of cameras rolling. I can’t wait to see the look on the lucky student’s face when their shovel hits the crate and they open the hatch. I’m hoping it will be as big of an adventure for them as it’s been for us. But for now, kids across the country are starting their summer countdowns, we’re hustling to get the final pieces in place for the Summer Challenge, and the Globe of Magellan is sitting tight in a leather satchel under a rosebush.