Most people only dream of world travel, but for one Manhattan resident, a nine-day, multi-continental trip was all part of a master plan to catch ‘em all.
Pokemon Go inspired Eric Finkelstein, 28, to use his miles and points to fly around the world in search of continent-exclusive Pokemon. Finkelstein – who lives in Kips Bay but travels weekly to Los Angeles for work as a healthcare IT consultant – is passionate about frequent travel and the many miles that come with it.
Not long after he started making frequent trips for work in 2013, Finkelstein began going on something called “mileage runs” in his spare time. The goal of these trips is to gain the top frequent-flier status at airlines by taking long-distance – but cheap – flights.
Those mileage runs paid off big for the Pokemon Go player. After using his domestic travels to catch the 142 Pokemon available in North America, Finkelstein’s friends alerted him of three Pokemon that would require going abroad: Farfetch’d, only available in Asia; Mr. Mime, who can be found in Europe; and Kangaskhan, native only to Australia.
“I immediately booked the flight to Europe,” he said.
Finkelstein’s first attempt to nab Mr. Mime fell short. The European Pokemon evaded Finkelstein over the course of his 23-hour trip to Paris, which began on Aug. 7. But he tried again on Aug. 11, this time heading to Tokyo in search of Farfetch’d, which Finkelstein “caught pretty immediately.”
Two days later, he caught Kangaskhan in Sydney, and then he was off to Madrid to hunt once again for Mr. Mime. This time, Finkelstein was victorious. By Aug. 20, he was stateside once again, with a full Pokedex and a few more stamps in his passport.
Another benefit to “Pokemon Go?” Finkelstein said he’s dropped 12 pounds since he downloaded the app in July and doesn’t even do cardio anymore. “My cardio is the game — it has had me quite literally sprinting around,” he said.
Despite catching ‘em all, Finkelstein won’t be giving up on the game anytime soon. “I am trying to complete all the medals, so that’s something I’m going to be doing,” he said.