A Challenger Approaches: Episode 2

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My name is Luke Hayduk, and I quit my job to travel the world and challenge its people to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! A little over a month ago, in the very first episode of “A New Challenger Approaches,” I traveled from New Jersey to St. Petersburg, Florida, where I faced off against my friend, Justin, and his pet boa, Ruby. Follow the link to read about Justin and life in St. Petersburg, Florida and watch our “Best of 3” match to see who wins in my first challenge.
I won!

After my challenge against Justin in Florida, I headed west towards Austin, Texas. The plan was to stay at the Drifter Jack Hostel, which is a popular hostel for international travelers. There, I hoped to find my next challenge.

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A mural outside of the Drifter Jack Hostel.

The Drifter Jack Hostel is located in downtown Austin, right next to the University of Texas at Austin. Some university students showed their affection for a certain Mario character while I was there.

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Monty Mole!

The street art in Austin is like none other. The art in front of the hostel was beautiful, as you can see in the first image above. All of the street art in this city was colorful and entertaining in some shape or form. Pickle Rick was even there!

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A gigantic Pickle Rick on Guadalupe Street.

I also wanted to gain a sense of the “weirdness” Austin had to offer. I ended up at an antique and thrift store called Uncommon Objects. Here, you could find every antique you could imagine… and then some.

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Hmmmmmmmmm

Uncommon Objects was more than just a store—it was a museum and art gallery all in one. There were artifacts from the past as well as strange dolls with deer heads, shown above.

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A collection of masks in "Uncommon Objects".

After checking out the city, I returned to the hostel to see if I could find my next challenger. I set up my Switch in the common room and fired up Ultimate. Not even five minutes later, a man wandered in and gasped, “Is that Super Smash Bros.?!” Of course it was. He sat down and introduced himself as Ed. Ed was from Australia on a two-month-long vacation traveling across North and Central America. After some chatting, I ended up learning about one of the most interesting lifestyles I’ve heard of yet. I asked him for an interview, and he agreed:

Luke: Ed, where do you currently live, and what’s one thing you like about living there?
Ed: I currently live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and I like the everyday adventure of living in such a wild place. Stepping out your front door leads to something new every day.

L: Are you originally from there? If not, where are you from?
E: No. Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia.

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Beautiful clouds of a Texas sunset.

L: Wow, that’s quite a distance from your origin! How did you end up in Hanoi?
E: I’ve always had a fascination with traveling, and I’ve always wanted to live abroad. I studied Politics and International Relations at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. Following graduation, I settled upon the idea of teaching English as a foreign language and decided to look for work in Hanoi.

L: That sounds pretty amazing. Can anyone try to apply for these types of jobs?
E: The jobs I was applying for required a native level of English, a university degree, and an English teaching certificate. The certificate was quite easy to get, unlike the degree.

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A vibrant grasshopper I found in the Fort Davis State Park.

L: What is your definition of success, and do you consider yourself successful?
E: Success is the accomplishment of a goal, in its most simple form. By that definition, I’ve achieved my goal through the whole journey of going to teach in Vietnam, so I consider it a monumental success.

L: When was the first time you played a Smash game?
E: I guess I probably would have been about 12 when I first played the one on N64.

L: Wow, so your history goes way back! Do you play Super Smash Bros. now?
E: No, I actually don’t play any video games. Back in the day, I always played Smash 64 at a mate’s house.

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The Guadalupe Mountains National Park in the western part of Texas.

L: So who was the character you played most as? Who is your “main”?
E: Donkey Kong. It was my first ever gameboy game, so I always loved him.

L: So wherever you go in the world, and you see Super Smash Bros, you’re always down for a game right?
E: Absolutely. As long as there’s a Nintendo around!
L: Awesome! Are you ready to face a “New Challenger”?
E: Yeah! Show us what you got!

Unfortunately, I forgot to save the battles when we faced each other. Honestly, it’s better that I forgot to save the battles. Ed was one of the most amiable people I have ever met, so I think it would be cruel to Ed to show the community the matches. Ed put up a valiant fight with his Donkey Kong, but in the end, I took the win with Captain Falcon 2-0.

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Otherworldly flora of the the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Regardless of the outcome from the match, Ed taught us about a great opportunity to work comfortably in a foreign country, which is an opportunity that most English speakers should try to take! Living in another country allows people to experience things they would never normally get to experience. These experiences allow us to grow and we become better people as a result! Living in a foreign country may seem like an unattainable goal to some, but teaching English may make attaining that goal that easier.

Vietnam may not be the most ideal location for some people, but it’s certainly a cultural experience. Cultural experiences broadens a person’s view on the world and positively impacts a person’s character. Push yourself out of your comfort zone! Maybe this is the right opportunity for you. I may even give it a shot at teaching English in a foreign when I’m done with this adventure!

Look out for the next episode of “A Challenger Approaches” when I match up against Smashboards editor and content manager, "ThirdKoopa"! If you’re interested in seeing my photos in better resolution, reading more stories from my travels, or just want to say “Hi,” check out my blog at panboys.net, or follow me on Instagram @LukasHaydukas.
 
Luke Hayduk

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