Johnson makes a friend in Tokyo.
Nick Johnson, America’s first Pokémon Go master, recently got back from his successful trip around the world to catch all of the 145 Pokémon available in the game.
That trip, sponsored by Marriott and Expedia, brought him to Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Tokyo, in a whirlwind 12-day trip across continents.
It was a fun vacation from his day job as Head of Platform at New York-based startup Applico. Still, it was exhausting.
On his journey to catch ‘em all, Johnson had to deal with a typhoon, hordes of fans, and most distressingly of all, Pokémon Go developer Niantic, which reshuffled the locations of most of the Pokémon in the game the very day that he left.
It was worth it, he says: The best part was “getting to interact with and meet new people in every country and bonding with them over Pokémon,” Johnson says.
Here’s what Johnson’s global Pokémon journey was like, with photos taken with permission from his Snapchat and social media.
Johnson’s trip began on July 29th, flying from New York’s JFK airport to Paris.
On the flight, Johnson started scouring local Pokémon Go Reddit and Facebook groups to gather intel on where to find his target: Mr. Mime, the Pokémon exclusive to Europe.
While in France, Johnson stayed at the Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe. Expedia paid for Johnson’s travel; Marriott Rewards paid for his hotel.
Johnson was greeted at the hotel by an employee in a Pikachu onesie. It wouldn’t be the first time the hotel celebrated his mission to catch ‘em all.
But Johnson’s trip got off to an inauspicious start. The day of his departure from the USA, Pokémon Go developer Niantic had reshuffled the locations of all of the titular monsters…meaning most of Johnson’s research was for naught. So while he was able to catch some monsters like Dratini here…
…Mr. Mime was nowhere to be found. Johnson had been walking around Paris all day, and couldn’t find one, let alone catch it. And time was running out before he had to leave for Hong Kong, his next stop.
Luckily, thanks to a tip from a fan watching his quest via social media, Johnson was able to find what seemed to be the last Mr. Mime nest in Paris, in a park on the city’s south side.
Finally, Johnson had his Mr. Mime. In fact, he caught two.
The next stop was Hong Kong, to catch Asia’s exclusive Pokémon, Farfetch’d. But the day that Johnson was slated to fly in, the city was hit with Typhoon Nida, which flooded the city.
That meant Johnson spent a full day layover in the Dubai airport while they waited for the storm to clear. Johnson took the opportunity to keep catching Pokémon. But he was getting stressed out: The delay meant he’d only have 12 hours in Hong Kong, total.
He also kept in the mood for Pokémon Go by watching the Pokémon cartoon on his laptop during his downtime.
Still, there was time for a little sleep. He was greeted at his hotel yet again by a Marriott Rewards employee in a Pikachu hoodie…
…and by this awesome little Pikachu cupcake.
Johnson had fans and media trailing him at each city he stopped at. While in Hong Kong, he got so caught up talking to people that he ended up behind his tight schedule. His Expedia trip sponsors had to drive him around for 30 minutes to find Farfetch’d before taking him to the airport.
Still, he made it, and the next stop was Sydney, Australia. Despite all of this travel, and the rigors of hunting Pokémon, Johnson says he didn’t want to stop looking for monsters for a moment.
He got picked up from the Sydney airport in this sweet old-school ride.
Once again, the Marriott Rewards staff in Sydney greeted Johnson with some Pokémon spirit.
Johnson set off in Sydney in search of Australia’s exclusive Kangaskhan. But while he was able to see some of the sights, like the famous Opera House, and catch some Pokémon, like Bulbasaur, Kangaskhan was nowhere to be found.
So Johnson planned to stake out Sydney’s Hyde Park, where he stayed for 5 hours. But then one of his Snapchat followers texted him a tip: Kangaskhan had been spotted downtown!
So Johnson hopped in an Uber as fast as he could to claim his prize. But when he was stopped by road construction, he ended up having to get out of the car and dashing to his final destination. Oh, and it was raining.
You can watch Johnson’s celebration upon actually catching Kangaskhan here. He describes his mood as “lit.”
With Kangaskhan’s capture, it was official: Johnson was very probably the first person to catch all of the 145 Pokémon available in Pokémon Go. His trip was a total success.
“After that, I went home, took a nice long bath in the world’s dopest bath tub, then got ready to do Australian morning TV,” Johnson says.
His mission complete, Johnson jetted off to Tokyo for a victory lap. He got to do some sightseeing…while still making time to catch Pokémon, of course.
Fans and media alike came out to help Johnson celebrate. Like this guy who dressed as a Farfetch’d. Note the hangars around their necks: This is a device designed to hold your phone in front of you while you play Pokémon Go.
Johnson also made the trip to Tokyo’s neighboring city of Yokohama for Pikachu Outbreak, where literally thousands of Pikachus march through the streets.
It was a fitting Pokémon-themed capper for Johnson’s journey.
It was also a good chance to make new friends, like this guy, YouTube streamer Kohachu.
And when he went to Nobu in Tokyo, they commemorated his victory with dessert.
It was a whirlwind, “but every time I got stressed I’d just remind myself that I was getting a free trip around the world to catch Pokemon,” Johnson says. Still, he says he had “3 days of deep, coma-like sleep” when he got home.
Now that he’s safely back in Brooklyn, he’s still playing Pokémon Go: One day soon, he hopes, the missing 6 Pokémon will make their debut in the game. And he’ll be there to once again catch ‘em all.
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