Last week, Brooklyn-based Nick Johnson, who happens to be a friend of mine, publicly declared himself to be the first Pokémon Go player to catch all of the 142 Pokémon that we know are available in the US.
According to the original video games that Pokémon Go is based on, there are 151 total monsters. We know that there are 142 you can catch in the US, six rare Pokémon that are currently unaccounted for, plus three more exclusive to certain international regions.
That’s why Johnson is taking a Pokémon journey around the world, so he can catch those three regional-exclusive monsters and complete his collection — with a free trip sponsored by Marriott Rewards and Expedia.
First, Johnson and his girlfriend will fly to Paris on Friday evening, with flights covered by Expedia, to catch Europe’s exclusive Mr. Mime. A day later, they will take off for Hong Kong in search of Farfetch’d, and then a day after that it’s off to Sydney for two days to catch Australia’s Kangaskhan.
Johnson says that he’s going to be relying on each city’s local Pokémon Go player community to point him towards each missing monster. While hunting for new Pokémon, he prefers not to use popular mapping tools like PokeVision.
“I will be scouring Reddit on my flight over and have a battle plan by the time I get there,” Johnson tells Business Insider. “I will travel across the land, searching far and wide. Basically.”
Then, with his Pokémon collection complete (or at least, as complete as possible), the couple will fly to Tokyo for a few days for a victory lap and some vacation time.
Marriott is covering the hotels in each city, and he’ll be staying in style: Johnson will be staying at the Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe, the Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View, Pier One Sydney Harbour, and the Tokyo Marriott Hotel.
At each stop, Johnson will be writing for Expedia’s Viewfinder blog and doing media interviews. He says he’ll also be sharing updates on his trip on Twitter and Snapchat. Here’s his Snapchat QR code if you want to follow along:
Johnson says that his Pokémon Go mastery has also made him something of a celebrity — he’s been doing TV and newspaper interviews, including an appearance on Good Morning America, and an impressed Uber driver insisted on taking a selfie with Johnson, so he could show his child.
Still, he says, the chance to go around the world and catch Pokémon is the craziest thing to yet happen.
“I get to travel the world and catch Pokémon!” exclaims Johnson.
His company, tech startup Applico, is also enjoying the attention that Johnson’s achievement has brought: Johnson did an interview with CBS New York at the office, and gave a presentation on Pokémon Go at a company-sponsored event.
“We’re a platform innovation company. We help build and scale platform businesses,” Johnson says. “So my interest in the game is a natural extension of the work I do at Applico. And everything I’ve learned about these kinds of games while catching ’em all will directly translate to our work with clients.”
In other words, Johnson didn’t have any trouble getting time off for this adventure.
As for those final six rare Pokémon that nobody can find — Pokémon Go developer Niantic recently hinted that they could be coming soon, and might have something to do with the three teams that players choose early on in the game.
Marriott Rewards and Expedia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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