May 21, 2024

A former Nau employee wins $1 million in a Saudi treasure hunt

A mental puzzle, effort and a little luck: a woman from Lucerne won a treasure hunt in Saudi Arabia. This changes her life in one fell swoop.

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Riyadh Season – A former Now employee wins $1 million during a Saudi treasure hunt.

The basics in a nutshell

  • Stephanie van de Wel from Lucerne received a check for US$1 million in Riyadh.
  • While searching for treasure, the photographer with Dutch roots reached extremes.
  • She wants to spend the money she has earned carefully. There is a tragic reason for this.

Sometimes the best things happen when you least expect them. This is what happened to Stephanie van de Wiel from Lucerne. The 26-year-old former employee, who grew up in the Netherlands, once won US$1 million on a treasure hunt!

She can't believe her luck: Stephanie Van de Wiel wins $1 million on a treasure hunt in Saudi Arabia. – Riyadh season

“When I realized I had won, I cried,” she recalled in an interview with “I never thought some of my biggest problems would be a thing of the past so soon,” says the freelance photographer. “If you make the right decisions now, you don't have to worry anymore.”

Tiktok paves the way for the million

It all started in December. Stephanie Van de Wiel learned about “Riyadh Season’s Treasure” via the TikTok application. This is a competition at a festival in Saudi Arabia. This year a treasure hunt was conducted for the first time.

Stephanie Van de Wiel was also fascinated by the Tiktok post. She solved all the tasks within a few hours. She had no idea that this app would change her life.

At the end of January, a Saudi email arrived in her inbox. When she opened the letter, she couldn't believe her eyes. She was among the ten fastest and was allowed to go to Saudi Arabia!

“At first I wasn’t sure if the message was real or if it was a scam,” she recalls. Finally she scanned her passport and handed it over.

Relief followed at the end of January: a confirmation that included a plane ticket to Riyadh. “I became very nervous when I realized things were getting serious.”

Head to Saudi Arabia to search for treasure

She wasn't able to prepare much for this challenge. She couldn't know what to expect. I just learned a little about the Middle Eastern country and did some sports. She contacted a colleague from Florida (USA): Corey Sereno.

Corey Sereno was Stephanie Van de Wiel's playing partner for the first three challenges. – Riyadh season

When they arrived in Saudi Arabia, the treasure hunters were initially surrounded by cameras. Soon the first tasks began. She competed in a team of two with Sereno. In the semi-finals and final she was ultimately on her own.

In the Middle East, things continued as before on the app: solving puzzles and searching for clues was the order of the day. Once again, not only skill was required, but speed as well.

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In the final, Stephanie van de Wiel reached her limits. “I pushed so hard that I had to go to hospital after the final.” Fortunately, I was able to recover quickly from the effort.

Stephanie Van de Wiel suffers from a chronic illness

Reason for the breakdown: The freelance photographer suffers from a chronic disease that affects her heart.

Money cannot cure her illness, but it gives her life new motivation. Debt and financial losses caused by your health should be a thing of the past in the future.

Financial problems are now a thing of the past for Stephanie van de Wiel. – Riyadh season

Therefore, the 26-year-old wants to invest her money wisely in her future. Now it has a financial cushion to build new bases. She has long dreamed of being able to sell her photos and art.

She hopes that she can then sit back and travel with peace of mind and money. Then it wants to continue working, increase its profits and invest.

For the plan to work, the first part of your profit does not end up in the airline's account. But: “First and foremost, I would hire a financial advisor.”