Leah Walker April 28, 2012

I’ve never been at a loss for words. After all, I kissed the Blarney stone twice. But on Friday morning, it happened.

I didn’t sleep well, waking up at 1:30, 3:30, and finally at 5:45 am with my alarm. I nervously checked my computer, refreshing the Go with Oh Web page. Each time there was no change. I assumed that being in Barcelona, Go with Oh would have announced their winner of a month’s free accommodation by the time my alarm sounded. I was wrong, and the anticipation was killing me. I headed off to work and took my place in my cube as usual. I fired up the computer, and checked the Go with Oh page again. Nothing. I re-read my Florence entry.

On my iPhone, I was emailing a couple of friends about an upcoming Chicago trip. At 9:23 am CST, I pressed send, and then was taken back to my inbox. That’s when I saw it, an unread message with the title,

“Big Congratulations! You get to ‘Go with Oh’!”

I still wasn’t sure if I’d won the grand prize. After all, there was going to be three runners up announced as well. I opened up the email and read,

“We’re extremely happy to announce that you are our next ‘Go with Oh’ Blogger!”

I lept from my chair and started to run to my boss’ office. Her door was shut! I bounded over to a co-worker’s cube and shoved my iPhone in her face.“Read it!” Once able to focus on the small screen, she understood why I was so excited. I started to cry and pace about like a crazy person. I didn’t need the whole office gossiping out my outburst, so I headed to the parking lot to call my husband in Arizona. He was on a golfing trip, and I thought, “You better answer the damn phone.”

He did, and I cried again.“I’m so proud of you,”  he exclaimed. I could hear it in his voice, and I cried. Again. Sheesh!

Lola, my travel partner in crime and Go with Oh tag-a-long, was the next person I dialed. She immediately answered, “What do you know?”  Not a hello or hi. I blurted out that I’d won, and we celebrated, she in Massachusetts and me in car-filled parking lot in Houston.

After we hung up, I stood next to my car for a while. I wished my mom was there to celebrate with me. After all, this site is dedicated to her. She was my biggest supporter and cheerleader. I knew she was there with me though. I imagined her hugging me and telling me how deserving I was, just as she did so many other times throughout my life. She was celebrating my achievement. I couldn’t see it, but I could feel it.

I tried to continue the rest of my Friday workday as best as I could. It proved to be impossible. The blast of texts, tweets, Facebook comments, and phone calls left me humbled once again. Each one of them offered congratulations and genuine excitement for this fantastic opportunity. Everyone wanted to know how I felt, but I really couldn’t give them an answer. I had such a mix of emotions, that there was no really good explanation. It wasn’t until I walked into my house that I was able to come up with an appropriate adjective that described how winning Go with Oh made me feel. It goes something like this:

It’s Saturday morning, and I’m still in a state of shock. I feel like an up-and-coming actress who just scored the role of a lifetime. For me, the opportunity to Go with Oh is more than just a month’s worth of free accommodations in Europe. I believe being aligned with such a respected company, many other doors will open, too. My dreams of being a full-time travel writer could be realized sooner than I thought. That’s the big picture, but right now, at least for the rest of the weekend, I’m going to enjoy this supercalifragilisticexpialidocious feeling.

A hearty congratulations goes out to Mike and Jess, Robin Fritz, and Gillian for being named runners up. The number of fantastic entries makes my winning even more of an honor. I enjoyed reading each and every entry. And believe me, I read ALL of them!

Another Texas-sized thank you to everyone who followed along and helped on this journey. The best is yet to come. I do hope you’ll come along with me.

Featured Photo

Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.


  1. Congratulations! I didn’t really follow along with the contest much or read the competing entries, but since I follow your blog I did know about your entry and I must say I thought the flat Stanley type idea and resulting video was clever and clearly showed a commitment and effort worthy of winning. Enjoy!

  2. you are BRILLIANT & BEAUTIFUL & i’m so proud of you! you DO deserve this golden opportunity and i can’t wait to hug & congratulate you in person in less than 2 weeks!!

    xo my dear travelin friend

    1. YES! Two more weeks and we’ll get to properly celebrate. Thank you for listening to all my crazy babbling over the last month, as well as your cheerleading. We are going to do big things together, Miss Lola.

  3. To everyone that is reading this post. Leah promised a house party WHEN, she won this contest. To Leah: tell me when the party is, I can arrange some food.

  4. Oh wow! CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a great opportunity!
    And, I just checked out your winning post – it was amazing! Much deserved!
    Looking forward to reading about your month in Europe…..I guess now the tough decisions are about which other cities to include!

    1. What an incredibly sweet thing to say, Tash. Thank you! Yes, I think picking will be tough with such an outstanding group. I don’t think I could go wrong with any of them. I do have some front-runners, though. You’ll have to check back and see which ones they are. 😉 Judging by your Twitter stream, you’re about to start an adventure yourself. Safe travels.

  5. I’m so happy for you, Leah! It’s good to see nice gals finish first. I was hoping you would win because it was obvious how much you wanted it. You’ll do a fantastic job, no doubt. Maybe I can pop over to one of your cities and meet you for a cafe con leche/au lait/mit milch :)

    1. Oh, go on, Jenna! Thank you! To say that I was slightly obsessed would be an understatement. 😉 That’d be awesome if you could come visit. I’ll be announcing the other three cities I’ll visit next week.

  6. YAYYYYY!!! (Somehow I missed this this weekend! I suppose finals week will do that to you…) Congratulations! Your win was well-deserved!

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