Most traveled person in America sets sights on U.P.

Daniel Seddiqui shows off a lobster at one of the 50 jobs he has held across all 50 states. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Seddiqui)

MARQUETTE — Daniel Seddiqui, known as the most traveled person in America, has visited all 50 states over 20 times and now plans to visit the Upper Peninsula. for the first time.

His goal is to immerse himself in the local culture by participating in activities like making pasties, taking a sauna, riding a snowmobile and ice climbing.

“To be honest, I know little about it,” Seddiqui said. “And that’s why I like to keep it that way, just because I like the element of surprise.”

This trip to the U.P. will not only round out Seddiqui’s U.S. travels, but will also provide research material for his upcoming book on the “Bold North.” The latest in his 10-part series on the diverse regions of America, it will cover his experiences from Rapid City, South Dakota, to Traverse City, Michigan, shining a light on the residents of the North and how they adapt to their harsh environment through recreation.

“I’m really curious about the U.P.,” Seddiqui said. “It’s a region I’ve been looking at on the map for a long, long, long time.”

In fact, his fascination with travel began with staring at maps with a deep curiosity as a child.

“Starting at the age of six I used to just be a curious kid about what places were like,” he said. “I collected atlases and I had a globe in my room and (there) were just maps everywhere. And I didn’t realize (that) 30 plus years later I would visit every spot on the U.S. map.”

Seddiqui’s journey started during the 2008 recession when he was an unemployed college graduate living out of a rental car.

“I went through about 120 rounds of job interviews,” he said. “And then I was just broke, and then I came up with this idea to do a different job in every state.”

He created a website, bought a vehicle and took 50 different jobs over 50 weeks. He caught the attention of publishers and media outlets and ended up writing a book about his experiences, “50 Jobs in 50 States.”

One of Seddiqui’s most memorable experiences took place in a sushi restaurant in North Carolina. He was working at a modeling agency for one of his 50 jobs and was having lunch with his boss who introduced him to a group at the next table. One of the individuals immediately recognized him from the South Korean news and told Seddiqui that he had recently moved to America because of him.

“He said I inspired him to open up his world because he felt he was kind of stuck in … his circumstances in South Korea,” Seddiqui said. “I found that to be extremely fascinating, that my little story can make an impact (on) someone from across the world.”

Throughout his travels, Seddiqui has encountered many people who have touched his life, especially his many host families.

He has stayed with an Amish family in Pennsylvania, a Lebanese family in Michigan and a family of Packers fans in Wisconsin, just to name a few.

“I didn’t realize I would be embraced as much as I (was),” Seddiqui said. “And having (started) in 2008 and still having contact with a majority of them is pretty remarkable.”

He said some of the biggest lessons he has learned throughout his journey are how to persist in spite of rejection and just how unique each part of the U.S. and its people are.

“I want to show how awesome the country is, how much we can offer,” Seddiqui said. “I mean, politics aside, people are incredible. They’re generous, they’re thoughtful, innovative.”

Seddiqui is the founder of Living the Map, an organization which “raises awareness of the varying cultures, careers, and environments around the globe through outreach, educational endeavors, and community building.” He is also an international bestselling author of numerous books on his adventures across America.

His future plans include a tour of the Northwest to research the region’s iconic beverages and the hope to start a travel business focusing on hands-on experiences.

Seddiqui is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and a graduate of the University of Southern California, where he studied economics.

He currently lives in Bend, Oregon and works as a career counselor for the local school district.

Hannah Jenkins can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 550. Her email address is hjenkins@miningjournal.net.


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