When I first heard about Daniel Seddiqui, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by his story. After graduating from college with a degree in economics, Seddiqui found it difficult to find a job, which is when he moved back home into his parents’ house in California. It didn’t take long for Seddiqui to become anxious to “leave the nest” again, but he struggled to figure out his career path. That’s when he decided to head out on the road, to work 50 jobs in 50 states in 50 weeks. He wrote a book about his experience, which ultimately led to a career in travel writing and speaking engagements.
Now, Seddiqui is working on his fourth book, titled A Piece Of Your City. Speaking to Seddiqui earlier today, he told me that the book deals more with craftsmanship and people’s passions. To that end, he’s traveling the US in search of inspirational places and people, where he can get in on the ground floor of a number of trades.
Seddiqui began his latest journey by embarking from Portland, Maine. He told me that Buffalo is the 8th city on his list – this weekend he will be arriving to The Roycroft Campus in East Aurora, where he will be immersing himself in the world of printing and bookmaking.
When I asked Seddiqui about what drives him to travel from state to state in search of authentic experiences, he told me, “The average person only visits 8 states in a lifetime. My goal is to inspire people… to make them curious. I want people to have a meaningful experience… to learn to make something.”
Seddiqui’s first book, 50 Jobs in 50 States, turned out to be a game-changer for the young man, as the “mission” took him out of his comfort zone. He told me that a “rodeo experience” was his first shock, but that he has had many other “immersions” that were similarly challenging, each in their own unique way. Seddiqui has worked as a model (lead image), built furniture with an Amish community, and even sung in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Each of these experiences closely correlated to the corresponding city and state that he visits. And he has never duplicated an experience.
I asked Seddiqui if participating in so many jobs and artisanal trades and passions ever brings about a sense of normalcy. He said that it did – he has become so accustomed to change, that change has become his comfort zone. It’s one of the reasons that he has spoken at 300 college campuses throughout the US, including Villa Maria College.
“I want to inspire these young people, to spark their curiosity, Seddiqui told me. “I want them to get out of their bubbles, which can be tough to do.”
Seddiqui mentioned that his favorite aspect of his job is coming up with the various careers and trades that he participates in. He’s constantly thinking of new adventures to share with his readers.
As for the Roycroft experience, Seddiqui will be featuring this regional gem in his new book, which will put the Roycroft Campus (and Buffalo) on a lot of people’s radar who were previously unfamiliar with the geographical and cultural landscape of WNY.
Interestingly enough, Seddiqui told me that he himself is relatively unfamiliar with Buffalo. He said that he is aware of the city’s connection to “flour mills and chicken wings.” That’s why he will be touring the silos when he is in town this weekend. He also wants to visit the terminus of the Erie Canal.
We should all be inspired by our surroundings. Life is for learning after all. We start by exploring our immediate neighborhoods, before venturing out into the great unknown. Seddiqui has taken this exploratory process to an entirely different level. He’s incorporated an interactive component into it as well. Thankfully, he’s done all of this so that the rest of us can pick and choose what we want to try our hand at… and what we might want to avoid altogether.
After visiting The Roycroft Campus, Seddiqui will have completed his tour of the Northeast, which includes brewing beer at New England’s first brewery. In Boston, he made loose tea on the Boston Tea Party Ships. In Providence, he crafted an ornament from glassblowing. In New York City, he had a tennis lesson at the US Open (Queens), cooked on an Italian cooking show (Staten Island), learned hip-hop dance (Bronx), made graffiti art (Brooklyn), and drew a cartoon with a New Yorker Magazine artist (Manhattan). In Wilmington, he made macaroons at the famous Hotel Du Pont, and currency at the US Mint in Philadelphia.
For further information, you can visit www.livingthemap.com.