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!
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.
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.
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!