I recently returned from trip to the city of Seattle and my faith in human goodwill has been restored.
I admit that I have been bogged down by the constant barrage of designer shoes and reality TV. I began to wonder if I was the only person in America who couldn’t tell a Jimmy Choo from a Reebok. I began to doubt that there was anything more to America than name brands and celebrities.
But sometimes it takes a change of scenery to knock the cobwebs from my perspective. My recent trip to Seattle did just that – it reminded me that life is full of rich experiences beyond name brands. It reminded me that the majority of America operates outside of the Fortune 500.
How, you may ask? First of all, I was warmly welcomed by all I came across, friend and stranger alike (and I was even wearing shoes I bought at Payless). Because I was going to a city I had never visited before, I envisioned more of the same of New York, Boston, DC, with imposing companies, structures and people. I saw evidences of Fortune 500 companies, yes, but more importantly, I engaged in commerce with thriving businesses you’ve never heard of. I worked with a privately owned software company, stayed at a regional-brand hotel, ate food at locally owned restaurants, and didn’t even have to drink Starbucks. After my business was complete, I spent a day sight-seeing, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, by myself, yet meeting so many friendly people along the way.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming to me, peddling quality software in a world in which giant marketing machines reign supreme. But this trip reminded me that there is so much more to America than the big brands, so many rich experiences for us all to share in, and for that I am inexpressedly thankful.