I encourage you to pump up the Song of the Day: Wherever You Go (One Republic) as it sets the tone as you read my final piece about these silly ol’ donkeys.
As many of you know, I’ve spent the last month, and with focused intensity, this last week, hunting 57 Donkey statues that were scattered across the city of Philadelphia. During the Democrat National Convention (Go Hillary!), things heated up with a 4 day scavenger hunt, which I chose to fully (over) commit to with my full energy.
Please click here to see my full #DonkeysAroundTown adventure. If you haven’t checked it out, you’re in for the 57 best ass photos you’ve ever seen :). Spoiler Alert: I found them all, and it felt amazing.
After finding #57 (hey New York!) I felt a sense of bliss. I paraded towards my final stop, the Visitors Center, with more swagger and more confidence than I’ve felt since arriving here. It was like in the movies where someone is strutting down the street, winking at everyone. That was me, minus the winking. I had these moments of laughing out loud unabashedly, thinking about how silly this whole thing was, and how I really did it. I was so authentically happy over a bunch of donkeys.
When I arrived at the Visitors Center desk, I thrusted my cellphone out to the staff member, proudly declaring I found all 57 #DonkeysAroundTown. Her reaction: “I think you’re the first person to find every single one. Wow!” I felt like a Philly Superstar (Watch out Rocky!). She went to the back to collect my prizes: 4 passes to roller skating at Summerfest, 2 passes to the National Liberty Museum, Buy 3 get 3 Free Pretzels, 2 $5 off coupons for a Cheesesteak Tour (regular price: $55…), a Philly magnet, and a large #DonkeysAroundTown t-shirt.
Now, I’m fully aware of the silliness of this Donkey quest. I didn’t win one of the grand prizes, and really, people have forgotten that the DNC was even here at this point, and most still don’t understand what the donkeys were for to begin with. There are much bigger issues that need to be trumped globally, locally, and personally. At minimum, I should be working my LinkedIn account. But for me, this donkey hunt got me more focused and motivated than I have been since arriving. The reward really wasn’t the very large shirt, but how I felt engaged in this city in a new way.
It was about wandering the streets day and night, discovering new places, sharing this with friends and family. It was about the deeper sense of community that I found with the City of Brotherly Love. It was about the security guards, police officers, and hotel workers that attempted to help me on my quest. I met a Canadian in the rain, and we talked about… the weather (it felt just like home). I channeled my inner-American and went for it. It’s the random moments, like seeing Lance Bass in a hotel lobby, and giving a passionate interview about my donkey hunt to an Indonesian news station, that are the rewards.
I’m reading The How Of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, which speaks about savoring the moments -past, present and future- and how research shows that this will make us happier immediately, as well as for the long run. Initially, I felt a sense of lose and disappointment about 2 hours after my Donkey Hunt was over. A temporary high. Gone was that confident happy strut of success. I realize now that I need to savor that moment. By sharing it with you all, I’m smiling again about it. I’m keeping that sense of community and reward alight. Not by living in the past, but by savoring. By seeing that all things in life are temporary, yet there are possibilities everywhere. I just need to find it.
And hey, I finally have some American work experience to put on my resume: Treasure Hunter, City Explorer, and a pretty darn amazing Philadelphia #DonkeysAroundTown Finder.
Thank you all for your hints, your support, and your hours of driving me around (Derrick!)! In the comments below, I would love to hear about moments you savor! What donkey is your favorite?