Sunday, 12 December 2010
The Amazing Race 17, Episode 12 (Season Finale)
Seoul (Republic of Korea) - Los Angeles, CA (USA) - Long Beach, CA (USA) - Pasadena, CA (USA) - Los Angeles, CA (USA) - Beverly Hills, CA (USA)
After they arrived at the finish line (don't you wish your trip around the world could end by coming "home" to a mansion in Beverly Hills?) there was much fuss made about this season's winners of The Amazing Race being the first pair of women in 17 seasons to win the reality-TV race.
What I suspect proved most significant in their victory, however, wasn't their gender but the occupation through which they had met: They are both doctors.
It wasn't that they or other racers needed to use their medical skills to make it through the race. The TV production crew has doctors on call wherever the race goes, and Nat is accustomed to managing her own diabetes. But both the practice of medicine and the training for it requires aptitudes that translate into the ability to deal with travel complications and crises.
Travelling successfully, even in difficult situations, isn't so much about making all the right decisions as about coping with the mistakes that even the most experienced travellers make, and being able to continue to function even when everything seems to be going wrong.
You don't need to make it through medical training to be a successful world traveller. But doctors need to be able to make decisions, and to act on them, under uncertainty, sleep deprivation, time pressure, distractions, and other forms of stress. They need to be able to discern, quickly and from a complex and unlabeled field of sensory stimuli, which are significant (and what pattern they fall into) and which can be ignored. They need to be able to make decisions -- inevitably including some wrong decisions -- and immediately move on to coping with the consequences, and to the next decision to be made, without wasting time on recriminations or "what if's" about what's already done. Compared to a resident's shift on duty in an emergency room, almost anything that can go wrong while travelling seems minor.
Congratulations to doctors and travelling companions Kat and Nat! Here's hoping their next trip around the world, without the time pressure and the scavenger-hunt tasks and the omnipresent television cameras of the race, requires fewer of these coping skills!
For the rest of us, the next season of The Amazing Race premieres 20 February 2010 on CBS-TV in the USA, featuring a "second chance" cast of teams from previous seasons that viewers wanted to see more of, but who didn't win the race their first time around. There's a lesson there too: travel is addictive. The first thought of those who've just completed a trip around the world is typically, "How soon can we do this again?"
Bon voyage!Link | Posted by Edward on Sunday, 12 December 2010, 23:59 (11:59 PM)