Daniel Seddiqui is known for touring American cities and creating “souvenirs that characterize the culture and industry of the city”.
BOISE, Idaho- This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.
On a recent Tuesday, Daniel Seddiqui cooked clams, shrimp and chorizo at a restaurant near the Basque block of Boise.
The next day, he chiseled rocks and dirt away from 16-million-year-old crocodile fossils in Utah.
No, he’s not a professional chef or paleontologist. He simply tiptoed into their worlds as he traveled the country to create, taste and discover the unique and intricate details that contribute to each city’s character.
Seddiqui, whose exploits have been featured in national publications and on television, visited Boise last week on his ‘A Piece of Your Town’ excursion which took him to more than 50 large and medium-sized cities. the United States. At each stop, he crafts “souvenirs that characterize the culture and industry of the city.” He created graffiti in Brooklyn, New York; learned to dance the polka in Milwaukee; forged a knife from a railroad spike in Birmingham, Alabama; and much more since he began his journey in April.
By the time Seddiqui completes his adventure, he will have visited 65 cities.
“It’s been an amazing way to experience a city, this very unique angle of learning something new to create and then creating a memory and still having a piece of that city,” Seddiqui told the Idaho Press. . “It’s cool because I can have a genuine connection with a local through their pride and passion.”
He had never tried Basque cuisine until he met Dan Ansotegui, co-owner of Ansots Basque Chorizos & Catering at 560 W Main St. Seddiqui, a self-proclaimed cooking novice, helped Ansotegui prepare clams and chorizo motzak, a dish consisting of clams, prawns, chorizo, garlic, chili peppers, clam broth and white wine – a simple but popular menu item and, for Seddiqui, a souvenir that took about 4 minutes to make.
Plus a few more minutes to eat.
“It was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had,” Seddiqui said.
Seddiqui stayed at Hotel 43 in downtown Boise and packed his two-night layover with visits to Camel’s Back Park, Hyde Park and North End, Eighth Street – “where it always jumps,” he said. he noted – the Boise State University campus and the Basque Museum and Cultural Center. He was particularly fascinated by the art of downtown traffic boxes and marveled at the masonry and architecture of the “Gothic type”, as he described it, which distinguishes some of the oldest buildings in the city. , many of which were designed by architects John E. Tourtellotte and Charles F. Hummel. They also designed the Idaho State Capitol building.
“Some of the tops of the buildings have this influence from Transylvania, these cone-shaped buildings,” Seddiqui said. “I’ve seen this in Idaho and only in Idaho. Super unique to the state.”
This isn’t the first time Seddiqui has scaled the US map or visited Boise.
From September 2008 to September 2009, he worked 50 jobs in 50 states in 50 weeks, indulging his curiosity about faraway places and people, but also filling a need – despite earning a degree in economics from the University of Southern California, Seddiqui struggled to land a job for three years after college.
A native of San Jose, Calif., Seddiqui has worked as a corn farmer in Nebraska, a wedding coordinator in Las Vegas, a peanut sheller in Georgia, and a model in North Carolina, among other gigs. He even managed to sell real estate in Boise, helping sell “three or four” houses in his work week.
He still remembers his real estate partner from years ago.
“Her name is Megan Schomer. She was 19 at the time and she was a go-getter,” Seddiqui recalled. “It was great for me to observe him and learn more about the industry in Boise.”
Seddiqui traveled the country a few other times. He thought trying out 50 professions would quench his desire to learn, but it sparked more.
Its “American Bucket List Challenge” ticked off culturally authentic experiences in all 50 states, “to better understand people and their passions.” He sang with the Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square in Utah, judged a barbecue contest in Missouri, and archery with citizens of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, among other activities.
He addressed and sought to understand issues plaguing communities, such as unemployment in South Dakota, gang violence in Chicago, and obesity in Mississippi, during his “Going the Extra Mile” project.
Seddiqui has published several books and given motivational speeches that document his experiences.
“I love learning something new. And in those cases, I learn something every day,” Seddiqui said. “My whole adult life has been mostly with strangers.”
But after wrapping up that trip, in Reno, Nevada, on Feb. 1, Seddiqui could end his selfless adventures — for now, anyway. He is 39 years old, and a wife and 11-month-old child await his return to Bend, Oregon.
He also has a job in employer relations. It helps students find work so they don’t have to find a new job in a new state every week.
But maybe they will one day.
“There should never be an excuse not to. You can find any excuse not to go,” he said. “You’re just trying to find a balance to incorporate your passion. It’s absolutely necessary for a fulfilling life.”
This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press. Read more on IdahoPress.com
Check out the latest news from Treasure Valley and Gem State in our YouTube playlist: