American experience: Chronic nomad tours country, stops in the CLE today for a 'piece of our city'

In 2008, Daniel Seddiqui was having a hard time finding a job after graduating from University of Southern California. So, he started traveling around the country, looking for work, meeting new people, and getting to know the country.

The Los Altos, California native who now lives in Bend, Oregon eventually turned his travels into a full-blown nationwide job opportunity—performing 50 jobs in 50 states. One of his stops was Cleveland, where he worked for a week with the WKYC Channel 3 morning weather team.

Daniel Seddiqui working with the WKYC Channel 3 morning weather team“I chose that job because Cleveland has the most unpredictable weather in the country,” Seddiqui says. 

The 50 jobs experience got national attention and turned into a best-selling book for Seddiqui.

After his 2009 experience, Seddiqui, now 39, has completed three cross-country trips and his currently on his fourth tour, stopping in Cleveland today, Monday, June 21, on his “Piece of Your City” journey—on which he is visiting every major U.S. city.  

“Piece of Your City is really about piecing together America through learning crafts and creating a meaningful memento,” Seddiqui explains. “Since people are eager to travel again, I want to inspire hands-on experiences that connect with the local history, culture, and industry.” 

This will be Seddiqui’s third visit to Cleveland. Topping the agenda today is Gotta Groove Records at 10 a.m. in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood’s Tyler Village. Gotta Groove makes sense as Seddiqui’s top destination in town. After all, it’s the perfect blend of Cleveland—manufacturing and rock and roll.

“I chose vinyl records to make because of the history of rock and roll and this is where the name originated, plus the [Rock and Roll] Hall of Fame,” explains Seddiqui. “I’m always thinking of something unique in each city to make, and I don’t repeat anything elsewhere.” 

Daniel Seddiqui making macaroons at Hotel DupontHe adds that he also plants to visit the Rock Hall, the Christmas Story House, and Edgewater Park.

While Seddiqui funds his trips out of his own pocket, the local convention and tourism bureaus usually host him and put him up during his stay. Destination Cleveland is hosting Seddiqui’s stay at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

Seddiqui began the Piece of Your City tour in April with New England—hitting Portland, Maine; Boston; Providence, Rhode Island; Wilmington, Delaware; Philadelphia; and New York. He then made a stop home to visit his four-month-old daughter.

On this segment, he’s already visited Pittsburg and Buffalo, and from Cleveland will go to Detroit, where he will make a model car; Columbus, where he will make fudge at Schmidt's Fudge Haus; and Cincinnati , where he will make goetta at Eckerlin Meats. He’s then on to Louisville, Kentucky, and Indianapolis.

Some of Seddiqui’s projects in other cities included making a Pittsburgh Steelers “Terrible Towel;” creating graffiti art in Brooklyn, making U.S. currency at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia; baking macaroons at Hotel du Pont in Wilmington; and making a blown-glass ornament in Providence.

Seddiqui says he plans to return home again in July, and in August will start the next leg in Minneapolis before going down to Oklahoma City. By the time he is finished, he says he will have visited 65 cities on the “Piece of Your City” tour.

Daniel Seddiqui working on coins in PhiladelphiaSeddiqui's two previous tours (after the 50 Jobs tour) also had themes. "The 2nd journey was called Going the Extra Mile, where I addressed social issues of communities that suffer from an epidemic," he says. "For instance, I went to Mississippi to train an entire town for a 5k road race to address obesity. My 3rd journey was experiencing cultural events and activities." 

Despite four tours across the United States, Seddiqui says he doesn’t have a favorite city, although he does like cities that embrace their natural resources—like Cleveland. “They’re all incredible in their own way,” he says. “The lake is incredible!”

When he’s not touring the country, Seddiqui works in employer relations for an online school and coaches athletics.

He will be at Gotta Groove, 3615 Superior Ave., from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. today, Monday, June 21.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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