Lisa Quinn, a teacher from Fort Lauderdale, certainly has plenty of tales from her travels. The former beauty pageant contestant has been around the world; she's touched down on every continent except Antarctica, and she plans to go there soon.
But right now Lisa needs your help in her effort to become the "World's Unluckiest Traveler."
Throughout this past year,
, a travel insurance company, has encouraged people with tales of tumultuous travel to submit their stories for a chance to win a $10,000 dream vacation. And now Lisa is one of the 11 finalists vying for the title.
Lisa's story came from a trip she took four years ago with her family: "My story is more funny than horrifying like the others," she says. She was in Africa, driving from the Ngorogoro crater in Tanzania to plains of the Serengeti. As the rolled slowly down the dusty, bumpy dirt road, they came upon a strange sight. "We just saw four boys--all between maybe 11- and 15-years-old," she says. "And they were all wearing tribal clothing and white paint all over their faces and they each had long, hand-carved walking sticks."
Lisa's family pulled the car over and the group asked (communicating as well as they could) to take some photos of the boys. The young men agreed, but only in exchange for something.
What did Lisa and her family have?
"My husband gave them his Nike sneakers," she says. "We started giving them pencils. We gave them every American dollar we had. We gave them candy and gum, tons of gum. We even a little Hello Kitty watch. It was so surreal to see one of these boys wearing a Hello Kitty watch."
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She says the entire exchange "felt like real capitalism."
In the end, she left with some great -- if not strange -- photos, and the boys left with the odd artifacts of what might have been their first encounter with Western culture.
After Lisa heard about this contest, she wrote her story up and posted it to the Travel Guard website. She received more votes than anyone else in the month of June (and as a result, won a Flip camera). Now though, she's hoping to get enough votes to win the $10,000 grand prize, which she'd get to apply towards a dream vacation anywhere in the world.
"I'm not one of these women who would rather shop than anything else," Lisa explains. "I could care less about a Prada bag. Give me a plane ticket instead."