These three UL students were a part of Red Bull’s “Can You Make It?” Challenge, and had to travel across Europe using only cans of Red Bull as currency. Caitlin Jacob, The Daily Advertiser
Three University of Louisiana at Lafayette seniors spent a week in Europe using only the energy drink Red Bull as currency. They traded cans for train rides, food and shelter as they made their way from Rome to Amsterdam in about five days.
We talked with Sam Riehl, Brandii Champagne and Emily Daigle after they returned from the trip and finished their final weeks of college.
The trio, called The Cajuns in the Red Bull “Can You Make It?” competition, graduated with bachelor’s degrees Friday.
Just a few days earlier, they tried to narrow down their epic experience into a few bullet points. Here are a few things they left Europe with.
“It was an adventure, to say the least,” Daigle said. “It was probably one of the hardest things any of us has ever done in our entire lives.”
All three agreed they’d absolutely do it again if they could.
“We made like a year’s worth of memories in seven days,” Riehl said.
One of Riehl’s favorite moments in the trip was dancing in the rain in Bolgna, Italy, and meeting a sheikh after narrowly losing a challenge to stay at a five-star hotel in Munich.
A little background: Can these 3 La. students make it across Europe with only Red Bull as currency?
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“My favorite part, surprisingly, was the second day in Munich,” Champagne said.
This was when they were trying to score a night at a five-star hotel, going through a rollercoaster of emotions because one manager said yes and then another came back with no.
Instead they met up with 12 other teams and camped out in a park. It was freezing and obviously not as comfortable as that hotel would have been.
But Champagne found something special in being with “so many other people in the same exact situation as you.”
They only spent a few days with the other teams, but they built a pretty strong bond in that short time.
“Even if you don’t get to know someone so well, the fact that we both endured this trip, and we both know what it took to endure this trip, is something special,” Daigle said.
The Cajuns came in 15th place out of the global competition and were the highest-ranking U.S. team.
They hit their last checkpoint on day five and then made it to Amsterdam with two days to go before they could access their phones and money. That’s when they got a little stingy with their remaining cans of Red Bull, Champagne said.
They traveled 3,017 kilometers (more than 1,253 miles) through five countries. They got 139,950 “adventure points” and more than 60,000 “social points,” which was the seventh highest in the competition.
“Lafayette just came together,” Daigle said, crediting the community around the Ragin’ Cajuns and the university for so much social media love.
The team earned 168 cans of the energy drink and 21,000 points by making it to seven checkpoints. Overall they traded 179 cans.
The most “expensive” part of the trip was a dance challenge in Bologna, Italy. It cost the team about 10 cans.
They had 24 hours to choreograph a 30-second dance with 20 other people and get it on video. A bunch of middle school students helped them out, but they almost all wanted their own can.
Then there was transportation. They made it across Europe mostly by train.
They got their spiel down after a few days, and usually it only cost them a can or two to ride. But once they had to pay eight cans because the train needed to restock its bar.
Other than trains, they took one car ride, a bus, a scooter, motorcycle and the metro. They even got a ride in a cop car in Germany, Champagne said.
“There’s so many life lessons that transfer over from this trip into real life,” Riehl said, whether that’s coming back to a few more years of college or heading into the next chapter.
For the three Cajuns, that’s Chicago. The trio are moving there together. This crazy bonding experience was just a trial run.
And it taught them things like “keep going, don’t stop in the face of adversity, there’s going to be highs and lows, just keeping pushing through it,” Riehl said.
It wasn’t as hard when the people they were trying to convince spoke English.
“When they didn’t, it was like we were trying to scream at them with Red Bull,” Riehl said, laughing.
But the challenge wasn’t meant to be easy, they said.
“That’s not what the trip was about,” Daigle said. “It wasn’t about being comfortable. It was about the adventure.”
And the final night in Amsterdam taught them another lesson — that “in the end, it’s a big, ol’ party,” Riehl said with a smile.
This article was originally sourced from here.