Day 151

Today's my final day at BooneOakley, so I want to begin by thanking Dave Oakley and the entire team for being so wonderful to me over the past month. I had the privilege to working alongside a great group of creatives, who treated me like one of their own. They’re all amazing individuals, even if my cubicle mate, Mary, did yell at me a lot.* I got to work on some intriguing projects for the likes of Cheerwine and Bojangles, in addition to experiencing them both for the very first time (spoiler: they’re delicious). All in all, I can certainly say that Charlotte continued the project’s steak of extremely positive experiences.

So, what’s next? Well, at approximately 2:45am, I board a train to my next stop—Memphis, TN. However, this journey comes with a one-night-only detour to New Orleans…. during the New Orleans Jazz Festival… which is during Cinco de Mayo weekend. Sure, I could’ve taken a flight to Memphis, rather than the 2-day, 21+ hour Amtrak ride, but I figured it might be my only chance to visit Louisiana and as the kids say, #YOLO. Although I’m only there for a total of 19 hours, I plan on making the most of my time in the Big Easy. So, if I don’t eat a Po Boy, while listening to a 4-piece brass band tomorrow, I’ll be rather disappointed.

When I finally arrive in Memphis, #TGAA will take up residency at the magnificent RedDeluxe. I’ve heard a lot of good things about what they’re doing over there and I’m thrilled to be joining them, if only for a brief moment. I’ve actually never stepped foot in Memphis, so I’m also curious to see what the city—and the famous Beale St.—have to offer. In fact, to kick the month off right, I purchased a ticket to Day 3 of the Beale St. Music Festival, which is part of the Memphis in May celebration. It should be a perfect opportunity to meet some new people, encounter the vibe of the city and partake in some local culinary delights.

That’s about it for now. I’m keeping today’s post a bit short, as I plan on writing another “On the Rails” entry from New Orleans; so keep an eye out this weekend. I’ll see you in Tennessee and thanks for following along!

*just kidding Mary... kind of

-Steve-

Day 148

As I begin my final week in Charlotte, I wanted to take time to answer another question I received through the #TGAA website. I'd also like to preface it with a resounding, “Thank you,” to everyone who continues sending me questions and comments. It means a lot. 

This inquiry comes from Allan T. of Altoona, PA:

“Hi Steve, I’ve been reading your stuff for the past couple months and I’m curious; does it ever get lonely out there on the road? Thanks and I hope things continue going up and up. It’s cool to follow along with what you’re doing.”

Thanks for the question! Truth be told, it can get rather lonely from time to time. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s hard to leave my friends and family for such an extended period of time. I mean, even when I was living in Brooklyn I’d still visit home every few months. However, this project is 14 months of non-stop travel. I do my best to call or text people regularly, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough. I’m experiencing so many wonderful things on my journey and I wish my friends were here to take part—but it is what it is. They understand and support what I’m trying to accomplish, so even though they aren’t here physically, I know they’re here in spirit.

Having said that, I'm not as alone as it would seem. I did manage to catch up with a lot of old friends and co-workers at my stop in the Big Apple and I have some friends in three of my future stops too. Another great thing is the number of people I’ve been meeting along the way. It’s been a blast getting to know everyone and becoming a part of their lives. Sure, it isn’t very fun when I leave after a month, but just encountering all these interesting people is a blessing in itself. I also think I’ve changed a lot personally from when I started this journey. I’ve never been the most social person, but experiencing so many new things has really forced me to open up. If 6 months ago you had told me I’d be taking part in run clubs and bar hops, I would have called you crazy. 

In the end, nothing feels the same as having good times with best friends, but I like to think things are going rather well. I also believe that by keeping this blog, I’m bringing everyone along for the ride. So, in a sense, I’m never alone. I’m only a few clicks away from sharing my next experience with the world.

Thanks for following along! I’m glad you could join me. 

-Steve-

Day 144

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on my journey so far, it’s that all of my agencies are connected in some way—whether they know it or not. For instance, at BEAM Interactive, I worked with Jarrod Wicker, who used to intern at BooneOakley. Then at Red Tettemer, I was introduced to John Cruz, who was previously an Associate Creative Director at Red Deluxe. Heck, there are even two people at BooneOakley who are from my neck of the woods in northeast Ohio. In fact, Ashley Reker is from Hudson, a city that directly borders my hometown of Stow.

It truly is a small, small world.

It’s extremely exciting to find these connections, because it goes to show just how intertwined the industry truly is. It also proves you can find your ideal agency just about anywhere. One purpose of this project is to prove that you don’t have to settle. You may work at an incredible agency, but if it doesn’t suit your personality or lifestyle, there’s little reason to not search elsewhere. And the same can be said for the city you call home too.

To meet these people and hear about their journeys across different agencies, cities and states is absolutely mesmerizing. Their tales make me even more determined to accomplish everything I set out to do with this project. In addition, it shows just how much an individual can add to an agency’s personality. For instance, if you work in a Pittsburgh agency and the entire staff hails from Pittsburgh, you’re going to have a hard time attracting outside clients. That’s because you need a diversity of perspective and experience to enrich the work you’re doing. If everyone thinks the same way, you’ll always achieve the same result.

This is also why I continue to be floored by the agency cultures I’m encountering on #TGAA. Each one is the direct result of those who work there. Whether it’s the purposeful relaxation you encounter at BooneOakley or the controlled chaos of Red Tettemer, you can’t help but be enveloped by their uniquely wonderful settings.

I truly hope this project will encourage others to follow in the footsteps of the Jareds and Johns of the world, so everyone can find their ideal fit within the industry. After all, how can you ever expect to reach your creative peak, if you don’t enjoy the journey there?

Lastly, I wanted to mention that I had another wonderful evening with the BooneOakley team last night, as they introduced me to the NoDa Brewing Run Club. Not only did I get to see and experience one of the city's hippest neighborhoods, but I tested my limits by running the entire 10k. I've heard the group meets every Wednesday, so I'm hoping I'll have a chance to do it all again next week. 

-Steve-