Gratitude
Leah Walker April 12, 2012

When I hit the publish button on my Go with Oh to Florence entry the night of March 25, I had no idea that I would awake a few hours later with an all-consuming idea.

I was very pleased with my submission. However, there were about three weeks left in the Go with Oh contest, and I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd. Forgotten. Thus, at 3:30 am on March 26, the sign proclaiming “I Want @L_E_A_H to @GoWithOh” was born.

Before I knew it, my inbox was full of wonderful photos with the simple sign. From Alaska to New York City, Beijing to Lisbon, Iraq to Namibia, and tons of points in between, I had people taking time from their day to show  support for me. A couple of people I’d known since elementary school, others I’d met through Twitter or Facebook, and some were complete strangers.

I am seriously humbled and deeply honored by the outpouring of support, and not just from the people who took the photographs. Every like and comment on my personal and Leah Travels Facebook pages are very much appreciated. I am grateful for all the tweets and retweets that helped get the word out. And the comments cheering me on in the actual Go with Oh to Florence entry still make me smile.

I’ve put together a compilation of the wonderful photos I’ve been given set to one of my favorite songs. Can you identify where in the world each of them are?

Now, I want to take the time to show my gratitude to each one of you.

My boss: I ambushed Sarah with the idea as soon as she walked in the door. With no coffee, she smiled like a pro.

Maui:  I’ve known Tamara since second grade, and within two hours, I had the perfect pineapple shot on the beach. Awesome!

Wales: True to form, Gareth and Shauna Roughley of Roughly Originals, sent me a dozen or so options, which were all perfect. Keep capturing the world beautifully, Roughlys.

Namibia:  Riding on a drill ship from South Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, Navin grabbed a shot near the Skeleton Coast. He’s a great guy for all you single ladies out there. 😉

Baghdad: Andy’s lived in every crazy-dangerous place you can imagine. He, however, orchestrated this shot (no pun intended) all the way from his fancy apartment in Bangkok. Nice!

Bangkok:  On his spring break from Seoul, Damon enlisted some of his students to take a picture with my sign. How cool is that?

Memphis, Tennessee:  From his office in St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Jerry got the shot of the other famous landmark in Memphis that isn’t Graceland. Thank you, Jerry and Michelle.

Rio de Janeiro:  From their balcony in the Lagoa neighborhood of Rio, Seth and Xochitl got the perfect picture with Christ the Redeemer in the background. So very special.

Edmonton: Patti braved the Alberta snow to capture several shots for someone she’d never met. Many thanks.

Orange County, California:  I wish I could have published every single photo Sandy sent me of Huntington Beach. She put so much thought and attention into each one. You have my eternal gratitude.

Laos: Jaime and her husband Billy were on vacation, but they still took the time to capture a great photo of my sign. Sweet!

Aberdeen: Even though Christi had just gotten back from Disneyland Paris, she took her boys out to get some photos for me. So nice.

Detroit: Aaron from The Adventures of elatlboy, got the most bang for his buck with the US and Canada in his shot. How creative is that? Very, very cool, Aaron.

Costa Rica:  I had to write in Spanish in order to explain to Soma what I needed. I guess I did ok, because he got a great picture. Gracias, Soma.

Dubai: My husband went to the Dubai Mall with the intentions of getting a picture at the ski slopes. That didn’t work out so well, but I really like the one he ended up with. Thanks, honey.

Lake Charles, Louisiana:  The brilliant photographer, Frank DiCasare gets the award for most artistic shot. He’s helped me in so many ways. You’re the best, Frank.

Houston:  NASA was an easy choice for my sister-in-law and two nieces. I love y’all!

Wisconsin: Nathan of Cardinal Cruise and Travel, braved the rain and a dairy farm to get the quintessential Wisconsin shot for me. Very, very nice.

Lubbock, Texas:  I spent many years in Lubbock, so I was thrilled when Sabrina of Country Skipper, got this special shot of my alma mater, Texas Tech. Wreck ’em, Sabrina!

Lisbon:  Ana, otherwise known as Mrs. O Around the World, and her look-alike sister, spent part of their Easter Sunday getting a variety of shots for me. Ten thousand thanks to the both of you. Sending y’all hugs from Texas.

Kuala Lumpur:  Once home from Laos, Jamie and Billy captured the most famous landmark in KL with their trusty iPad. You both are much appreciated.

Boston:  One of my biggest fans and my travel partner in crime, Lauren DiMarco of Lola Travels, wouldn’t dream of not getting me a shot in Beantown. After all, if I win, so does she. She’s going to Go with Oh, too!

Nelson, New Zealand: Arceli was willing to jump out of a plane to get a picture for me. Now that’s going the extra mile. Cheers, Celi.

Washington DC: Within an hour, Raul from Ilivetotravel, left his office and walked the block and a half to get a variety of shots with my sign and the White House. I think he got the stink eye from security, too. Thanks, Raul. I’m glad I didn’t get you arrested.

New York City:  Right in the middle of Times Square, model, actress, and tv personality, Millana Snow stood with a hand-sketched version of my sign. Very cool!

Beijing:  I could have chosen any of the twelve photos that Qiqi sent me. I really loved the Bird’s Nest though. She went above and beyond. I hope to meet you one day soon. Thank you, Qiqi and Karlin.

Austin:  I should have known that pro photographer, Whitney Martin would come up with something cute. I simply love this wall on South Congress. In January I took a photo at the same place. Great minds? Maybe. I know she has a great eye. Thanks, Whit.

Singapore: What you don’t see in this photo is that Yu is holding a baby along with my sign. That’s a really awesome thing to do for someone you’ve never met. You’re a fine man, Yu.

Deadhorse, Alaska: Yes, someone that doesn’t know me from Adam, went out into the frozen tundra of Alaska and the Arctic Ocean to get this picture. Charles is someone I’ve got to meet. Thank you!

Tel Aviv, Israel:  A marathon was going on in Tel Aviv, and there were flags up all over the city. When Jonathan pulled over to get a picture of the sign with the flags, the Israeli police told him to move along. Apparently you don’t mess with the Israeli police. He instead got me an indoor photo. Thanks for not getting thrown in the slammer, Jonathan.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: Jessica went above and beyond the call of duty for someone she doesn’t even know. I have several fantastic photos from her. Many thanks, Jessica.

Seoul:  Rung modeled as Damon got her shot in front of the World Trade Center just after President Obama visited for the Nuclear Summit. That’s really pretty awesome. Thanks, y’all!

Alberta: Frank set out on a cold, yet sunny day in Alberta to get a picture of my sign with a frozen lake. Did I mention I’ve never even spoken a word to him? That’s really a cool thing to do. Thank you, Frank and Jason.

Dunedin, New Zealand:  In my month-long adventure in New Zealand, I met many friendly Kiwis, but none were as vibrant, energetic, and welcoming as Sarah Bond. It came as no surprise to me that she’d supply me with a great photo. Cheers, Sarah!

Kathmandu, Nepal: Who just decides they’re going to take off for Nepal to climb Mount Everest? Andy does. I’m glad he did. It’s hard to see in the photo, but behind the small range of mountains are the snow-covered Himalayas. You’re too cool for school, Dr. Andy.

Oahu, Hawaii:  I loved the picture of these green turtles so much. What an awesome thing to see with or without my sign. Thanks, Jessica.

Powerscourt Estate, Ireland:  When I saw the Japanese Garden at the Powerscourt Estate just outside of Dublin, I knew I had to have a photo with my sign. It was just too lovely not to share.

Wales: The photos that Shauna and Gareth sent were too great not to share more than one. Beautiful, y’all.

Blarney, Ireland: I’d been warned against kissing the Blarney Stone, but I thought it’d be ok since it rained just before I’d arrived. I kissed that dang thing just for good measure.

Christchurch, New Zealand:  Brindi is someone I’ve never met, but I sure hope to on my return trip to New Zealand. Thank you so much, Brindi.

I’ve yet to publish some of the photos, but still want to thank those that helped without spoiling the surprises. So to  Francesca of The Working Mom’s Travels, Heather of Fortylicious.ca, Ginger of Time Travel Tours, Patrick from Cork to Belfast, I want to offer a Texas-sized thank you.

A very special thank you goes to my dad. He not only took a picture in the Texas bluebonnets, but he also listened to me go on and on each day about the various photos. You’re the best, Dad!

The winner for the Go with Oh competition will be announced April 27. I hope to be writing another blog post proclaiming my victory, the four European cities I will visit, and of course, my gratitude to all of you again.

A million times, thank you!

Leah Walker

Leah has a marketing management company specializing in strategy, content creation and implementation for luxury brands and destinations. She's also a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. Leah documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. She sometimes freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, USA Today 10 Best, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel and wine ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's lived in Paris for four years, and was awarded additional time with a Passeport Talent visa renewal. Though, her talent for speaking French is abysmal.

27 Comments

  1. Happy to help and thrilled to be a small part of your journey. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for you! 🙂

    1. Yes, yes, yes! If I win, it will be a requirement that you meet me for a weekend. I’d love to see Europe from Mrs. O’s eyes.

    1. The world is a wonderful place and so are most of the people in it. You and I will have the best time if we Go with Oh! It’ll be like Laverne and Shirley, Thelma and Louise, Lucy and Ethel, and Romy and Michelle. Soooo exciting!

  2. Happy to help anytime! Your entry is awesome and I hope you get to do all of the things you listed and more 🙂 April 27th? Just a few more weeks! Keeping my fingers crossed!!

  3. Love the single plug on my post 🙂 . We are all cheering for you Leah. Being on this boring ship, it was great every morning to see your post and where people were posting your sign up from. The power of a great person (you) plus the power of social networking = Greatness!!

    1. I’m just trying to help you out, Navin. Any girl would be lucky for even a date with you. 😉 I’m so glad that I could be the ship’s entertainment. It must be REALLY boring out there. LOL! Thanks again!

  4. Awesome video! I think I may have gotten a little teary eyed. And the song can’t think of a better song that was fitting. We were all born to to fly, to soar with out dreams in hand. As human beings its our destiny to help other to fly. I am just glad I was asked to to contribute to this. Thank you and still have my fingers crossed. Lol, wish they would hurry I think my fingers are permanently stuck in this position. Good Luck Again.

  5. Btw never type a thank you comment at 5:30 in the morning without coffee and not proof read it. Sorry … It’s the thought and effort that count right?

  6. Well believe me it’s not by my choice. For some reason the husband thinks he needs to tell me goodbye and give me a kiss before he leaves for work. I have tried to tell him that this gal needs her beauty sleep more than a kiss goodbye. But in his true korny, yet romantic fashion, he told me once I was his Sleeping Beauty and was grateful that his kiss awakened me. I guess he is my Prince! With that I just let him wake me up with a kiss goodbye and most of the time a list of errands he’d like me to try and accomplished since he didn’t. Gotta love Prince Charming. As I did tell him that Princes usually have servants to do their beckoning for them. As he put it he got two for the price of one. A sleeping beauty servant married to a pauper who has to fulfill both positions! God love that man!

    1. I’d love to take another trip with you, Whitney. I’ll write and you capture it with your wonderful talent. I just hope that I can do your photos justice.

    1. LOL! Seriously, D.J.? I figured you’d unliked my page on Facebook for all the pictures I’d posted. Haha! Well, I’m glad that you know about it now. Better late than never, right? I have also found a whole lot of kindred spirits in the travel community. What an awesome group indeed. Thanks for your wishes!

    1. Thank you, Caz, for reading and commenting. I think it’s really nice that you take the time to reply to all of your comments, and have chosen to model the same behavior. I sure hope you’re reading my victory post as well! Thanks again!

  7. Wow Leah! That’s super cool, can’t believe you’ve got such a wacky and devoted legion of fans. Just don’t go the same way Christ did OK?

    I’m sure you won’t, owing to the fact that Go with Oh can only take you to Europe and not Golgotha. No worries there!

    1. They’re pretty zealous, right? They must have drunk the Kool-Aid I was passing out. Then there was the all-expenses paid trip to Ibiza I promised. Kidding, of course. I can’t stand Kool-Aid. I’m laughing at your analogy though.

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