Day 425

WE DID IT! As of tomorrow evening, we've officially completed The Great Agency Adventure and although it took 14 months to get here, a part of me wishes it could continue for another 14.

For the past few months, I’ve constantly found myself wondering how best to close out this unbelievable journey. I’d write down some ideas here and there, but they were all deleted out of frustration. I just couldn't come up with a summary that gives this tremendous experience the curtain call it deserves. There’s too much to discuss; too many people to thank.

I’ve met so many wonderful individuals across this great nation of ours and connected with thousands more via social media. I’ve found friends in places I’d only read about in books. I’ve seen sights that some only experience through pictures. This project has been a dream come true and I hope everyone enjoyed taking part in it. That’s why I’ve decided to use this blog to highlight the individuals that helped make #TGAA not only possible, but incredible. If there’s one thing I learned time and time again, it’s that friends make all the difference. Friends are a constant that transcend boundaries, borders and state lines. Friends open up your world, introduce you to new things and stand by you regardless of where you are.

So, while I know this list is available on the “Great People” page of the site, I wanted to include it in my final #TGAA blog as well. Everyone below deserves an endless amount of praise, because they helped make this entire thing happen and I’ll never forget that.

Connie Taylor — John E. Taylor — Louis Maldarelli — Peter Gargiulo — Tim Horak — Andrew Brienza — Tom Albrighton — Shawn Webster — Joe Meadows — The lovely individuals at Kreative.com — Birch Norton — Brittany Birkett — Chris Jungjohann — David Oakley — Dion Hughes — Jason Schwartz — Jim Harper — Kim Berndt — Laura Kubinski — Leila Thabet — Maureen Morrison — Rufina Chang — Steve O'Connell — Tim Dyer — Tim Zeller — Vera Fischer — Alison Strickland — Barbara Levy — Dave McMurray — Monica Saylor — Kelly White — John R. Taylor — Tom Lix — Jillian Kurvers — Mark Gross — Juan Sanchez — Theresa and Dennis Balogh — Kyle Klein — Becky Gorman —Orlando Rosas — Holly Jee — Bria Topper —Alison Murphy — Zack Kinslow — Allan Kneale — Kristina Jansons — Jared Scott — June Leddy — Dave Batista — Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Smith — Jared Wicker — Ben Whitla — Jeremy Borthwick — Andy Primeau — Josh Sims — Richard Shideler — Josh Teixeira — Scott Niejadlik — Marita Stapleton — Josh Deane— Tim T. at This Advertising Life — Levi Patterson — Scott Huber — Davis Cox — Stephen Swift — Ryan Work — Ashley Riehlin — Miranda Fung — Rebecca Gibson — Ceci Menchetti — Grace Gordon — Luke Carrell — Jillian Pavsner — Melanie Hope — Nicole Ghobrial — Jacob Wilson —Alexandra Skae — Melanie Niklas — Fiona Callaghan — Jay Newell — Garrett Close — Kristen DiLandro — Kristen DiLandro — Benjamin Arnold — Connor Rose — Roxanne Oliver — Charlie Glover — Dan Kleinman — Daniel Stein — Todd Taylor — Woodbine — Ben McCool — The great people at DesignTaxi.com — Allison Berger — Dan Orlando — Jillian Wong — Pete Norwood — Rafael Oliveira — Meg Dibley — Andy Joos — Bryan McGee — Vic Carreno — Doug Keith — Allison Berger — Steve Red — Kelsey Kovalcik — Annie Heckenberger — Mark Likosky at the Philly Egotist — Farheen Aqueel — Jason Sicilliano — Abbas Naqvi — Ray Bartkus — Daniel Harris at IWG — Gordon Young at TheDrum.com — Philip Di Salvo at Wired.it — Jason Schoch — Drew Shaman — Cristen Capron — Mike Borell — Nick Nemeth — Danny Gassaway — Ashley Reker — Mary Gross — Maggie Deininger — Emily Haney — David Hamrick — Fran Taylor — Curtis Petraglia — Matt Mroczka — Ben Santoriello — Matt Rubel — Jennifer Faull — Kenya Madyun — Eliza Carney — Lindsey King — Adam Oldfield — Claire Oakley — Geri Holmes — Ben Couvillion — Mandy Young — Kelsey Taylor — Blaine Loyd — Hallie Miller — Laura Drangmeister — Martin Wilford — Ben Colar — Warner Russell — Michael Phillips — Andrew Lebowitz — Casey Latiolais — Sara Latiolais — Jeff Rifkin — Sarah Rockwell — Holly Whitfield — Jake Houvenagle — Dave Scott — Parker Gibson — Rick Hecke — Monica Castello — Darrick Hays — Wesley Hoffman — Javier Leiva — Kevin Kelly — Matt Reedy — Joe Stephens — Archie McKinlay — Claire Wasserman — Jon Copp — Tony Biaggne — Heather Durham — Craig Miller — Ben Ruggiero — Aleksa Westwater — Gary Hudson — Amado Carrasco — Louis Feider — Kyle Goethals — Jeff Canzona — Angela Vitzthum — Luke Hausman — Eric Guth — Aleksa Westwater — Bob Berg — Judy Oskam — Eric Fawcett — Kevin Hughes — Eric Fawcett — Lotti Anderson — Danielle Fullerton — Bill Roden — Debbie Fischer — Heath Rudduck — Dustin Naugle – Matt Thompson — Elyse Ash — Sam Johnsrud — Russ LeBlanc — Perry Morris — Maria Roepke — Heather McCollum — Brian Skalak — Chris Spong — Andy Sims — Tim Letscher — Eric Husband — Victoria Sullivan — Russ LeBlanc — Mary Funk — Briana Chenkin — Olivia Claypool — Zoe Cooper — Kristen Humphrey — Daniel Alvarez — Carson Barker — E. Gigi Taylor Ph.D. — Larry Coffman — Amanda Wood — Jim Haven — Phil Shigo — Matt Peterson — Elise Drake — Hilary Lee — Gage Mitchell — Michelle Taraba —  Alison Tintle — Jaclyn Hardgrove — Chelsea Nybo — Jaime Diskin — Benj Burke — David Alkire — Nicole Gleadle — Chet Ford — Ryan Hammill — Ryan Mitchell — Jake Ferrigno — M'Elena Holder — Anna Taylor — Maria Scheleen — Lauren Willoughby — Erin Leach-Kemon — Ben Waldron — Rob Rosenthal — Maschell Cha — Josh Schield — Barry Amundson — Travis Fulton — Katelyn Kerns — Ann Kaleshnik — Craig Schommer — Dave Becker — Lenny Self — Chad Wallace — Duncan Alexander — Scott Carver — Adam Shaylor —  Simeon Roane — Buck Wise — Jesus Cameron — Ursula Tran — Christine Hurty — David Bird — Miranda Maney — Patrick Maravi — Alex Grinton — Steve Babcock — Lee McKenna — Shane Ginsberg — James Gassel — Michelle Sjöberg — Michelle Maben — Jacqui Abel — Karin Djelaj — Matt Dimmer — Ryan Scott — Joanna Mostov — Aaron Thompson 

As for my blog, I’ll continue to update it once I’ve had some time to reconnect with my family (I haven’t seen them in over a year after all). I’m not sure what’s next for me or where I’ll end up, but until I figure all of that out I can’t consider the project over. So, be sure to stay tuned as we begin the next chapter.

I hope to see you again soon,

-Steve-

Day 200!

Collaboration is a big part of what #TGAA is all about. That’s why, as we celebrate Day 200(!) of the project, I encourage everyone to keep spreading the word about what we're doing here. I realize some might believe it selfish that I want to promote my own project; but I see this as an opportunity to expand my capability to connect individuals across the country—something I've been doing since Day 1. 

For instance, while in Memphis I met the guys behind the Creative Memphis podcast. With one simple—and minute— detail about their need for stickers, I was able to tell them about the great work Jakprints does. Sure, it’s nothing earth shattering, but I view every new relationship I can help create as a victory for #TGAA. Another example is when I discovered Boxing Clever Records has plans to ramp up their offerings very soon. That news got me thinking of Honeybucket, a band from Cleveland that features former Recess Creative Web Developer, Adam Reifsnyder. I, again, was able to help introduce the two parties. 

Going on a book tour? Let me tell you about this creative festival I know. Need a new way to translate your social efforts? I have a sponsor you might want to hear about. These are just a few examples of what I've been able to accomplish so far. In each new city I visit, I do my best to think of those I’ve already met, so I can support their talents, services and abilities by letting others know about them. Not only is it personally rewarding, but my hope is that in turn, both individuals will pass the good will along to help bring more and more people together.

As this project progresses, I’m finding these opportunities are growing more frequent by the stop. I know that I could use this project to my advantage and spend my days and nights trying to land a job, but that isn’t the purpose of any of this. It is—and always has been—about connecting people around the world to new ideas, opportunities and views on where they want to be or go. So, as I reach the halfway point of this whole crazy adventure, I just want to thank everyone I’ve met over the past 7 months. Without any of you, this would be one hell of a boring story.

Keep spreading the word. Keep being yourself. Keep connecting the world. Always. 

-Steve-

Day Forty

I'll have one of those Lions someday. 

My first week in Boston is coming to a close and I’ve already learned so many new things. First, I’ve learned that I’m not really cut out for hostel living—at least not for such a long period of time. Don’t get my wrong; I love the experience of it all. There are just too many things giving me anxiety—from people entering and exiting the showers without sandals to un-flushed toilets and relentless radiators. As I’ve been telling my friends, a hostel is basically an adult dorm, right down to the broken closet doors.

Another thing I’ve learned this week is what I’m calling the “creative time differential.” In Ohio and New York, I was never the first person in the office. No matter what time I arrived, there was always someone waiting to greet me. I became accustomed to arriving early and leaving around 5pm. However, I’m noticing at BEAM, creatives prefer to arrive later and stay later. I’m not sure if this is common throughout the city, but I’m very interested to see how my other stops measure up. For now, all I know is that no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to make it in any later than 9am. I guess I'm just permanently wired to be a morning person. 

I also learned to always book transportation before housing. I’ve just about scheduled all my trips and housing through October. But I had to shuffle a few things around because I don’t know geography as well as I thought. However, I did find out that my train from Charlotte to Memphis has a day layover in New Orleans. So, it seems I get to visit a bit more of the south than I had originally planned. I can’t wait to stuff some delicious jambalaya in my face! 

As for the weekend, it appears warm weather is on the way, so I plan on doing A LOT of walking. There are so many places I want to visit in my time here and I figure I should get as many in as possible. Because you never when another arctic blast may it.

Lastly, I want to send a shout out to my sponsors CLE Clothing Co. and Jakprints. Everyone in Boston loves my shirts, pins and stickers. I can't wait to show them off across the country. 

-Steve-