Where Next?

Oh, me. What have I done?

It was a typical Monday morning. I woke up about 6, crawled out of bed and walked directly to the kitchen to get my coffee started. While it brewed, I parked myself in front of my computer and started scrolling through my clients’ social media pages, then turned my attention to the emails which had come in the evening before. 

Click, trash, click, trash, click, trash. I dumped all the emails until I came across one from Air Canada whose subject line read, “Beijing or Shanghai $672.”

Neither Beijing nor Shanghai, nor China really, had ever been on my bucket list but $672 spoke to me. I could manage that. I clicked open the email to make sure it was legit—and it was—so I googled both Beijing and Shanghai. Images of those cities’ skylines came up and there was no comparison. Shanghai’s incredibly innovative skyline wowed me. And that’s how I chose my next city to walk.

shanghai skyline

That decision was made back in July and I’ve been almost embarrassed to tell anyone about my upcoming trip. Feeling irresponsible maybe. Impulsive. A bit self-indulgent? Yes, all of the above.

“BUT,” I remind myself, “walking cities pulls me out of my own stale comfort zone and forces me to think more creatively, more worldly!” It benefits my work in marketing. I’ve brought home ideas from France, for instance, where “ads aim at the heart, not the wallet,” quoting the New York Times. It was while riding the subways under Manhattan that I realized New Yorkers digest their media differently than we do here in Atlanta. And not until I spent time in the country of Panama did I change the way I marketed my retail client. The Hispanic community generally shops in families versus me, who typically shops alone.

Walking new places also removes my singularly-focused lens and forces me to see the world through others’ perspectives. Never would I have stopped and really tried to understand the crisis in Syria until I saw, firsthand, real-life refugees pouring off a bus in Athens, Greece. Never would I have sensed the kinship between we Christians and Muslims had I not walked the streets in Istanbul, especially during Ramadan. Not until I watched a young Mexican father emerge from a tiny dirt-floor hut and walk his daughter to school did I see the gift in living a much simpler and less hectic life. 

Yes, I’ve decided to listen to my impish little inner voice and quit trying to subdue this urge to travel. I will continue walking cities as long as these old legs will carry me. In return for this privilege I feel a responsibility to share what I find. If you’d like to walk along with me on my next trip, just CLICK HERE.

(…or follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter)

(Later this week: The obstacles I’ve faced preparing for my first trip to a Communist country)

  • Robert
    Posted at 07:37h, 13 November

    Nice article. I am looking forward to reading about your trip. My son went to China for tow weeks with school exchange program. He had great stories to tell and grew a lot. Travel safe.

    • lisaweldon
      Posted at 17:43h, 13 November

      Oh, wow! How old is that son! I still remember him as being too little to go off to some faraway place! I’d love to get with you before I go. Are you available for lunch?

  • Kim Bolton
    Posted at 10:39h, 13 November

    Happy Travels! That was the last trip my Mom ever made and I was not able to go with her-so wish I had! She said it was one of her most favorite trips! And as for the self indulgent crap, you cannot take it with you when it’s over! Have fun my friend and post lots of pictures!

    • lisaweldon
      Posted at 17:41h, 13 November

      So, I say you take Carrie and the two of you go!