'Tapping In: The Happiest People & Places on Earth' Creator Opens Up
as told to john vilanova| August 18, 2014 |
Linda Swain combines work and wanderlust for a new international travel series that starts in Philadelphia.
Linda Swain hosts the parenting show Moms on the Move and is launching a new pilot, Tapping In: The Happiest People & Places on Earth, this August.
Linda Swain has set foot in more than 50 countries. She’s photographed rhinos in Zimbabwe, ridden a 150-year-old tortoise in Kenya, and scuba dived Fiji’s Great White Wall. “I’ve pretty much danced with everyone around the world,” she jokes.
But after seeing the globe, the Haverford native and co-owner of Ardmore’s Swain Destinations, Emmy Award-winning host of parenting show Moms on the Move, and visionary behind the upcoming pilot Tapping In: The Happiest People & Places on Earth, finds a heartbeat of the world pumping strongly right here in Philadelphia. “I’ve felt an energy come through,” she says. “Great things are coming out of this city again.”
With the Tapping In pilot set to air on more than 120 national networks in the fall (debuting on Philadelphia’s WPVI Channel 6 in August), Swain wants to show audiences how other cultures seek satisfaction in life with a focus on finding happiness, whether it’s in Australia, Southeast Asia, or Philadelphia. “I’m going to show you everywhere,” she promises. “But I have to start with my home...”
“There’s the saying ‘home is where the heart is,’ so I always feel at home anywhere I am. But we’ve been here for the last 26 years, and I spent my youth here, so I believe Philadelphia is home. No matter where I wind up on my travels, I’m always drawn here. I love the people here. Philadelphia is very much a town, even though it’s a city.
I have been going to all of my favorite shops and salons for years. I started shopping at nicole Miller 20 years ago when the boutique in Manayunk first opened. My husband had bought me some dresses there. I instantly fell in love with the designs and fit. The same for lagos. For the last 10 years, my husband and I have celebrated Valentine’s Day with our friends Fred and Irene Shabel, Alex and Erik Neumann, and Karen Dougherty Buchholz and Carl Buchholz. Each year, the girls receive a surprise Lagos gift, so I have many of the “Love” pieces. Steven Lagos is so talented. And for the last 20 years I have been going to Francis Bellofatto, who is at oggi salon & spa for my cut and color. I hope he will always work within 10 miles of my hair. [Laughs.]
I went down to the italian Market recently and I had a great chat with Leo Pracopio of hollywood Meat Market and the other guys that work there. I love their fresh produce, but the Italian sausages at Leo’s shop mix well with his magnanimous Philly style. The food scene here is so diverse: There’s everything from Asian vegetarian restaurants to cheese steaks. Across town, one of my favorites is parc. I always order the warm shrimp salad. It’s amazing.
“We have our Sphinx, which is George Washington on his horse,” says Swain. “The Giza Plateau and Philadelphia line up similarly.”
Philadelphia was one of the first cities built on a grid—it has a real energy. The founding fathers were definitely into ancient kinds of philosophies and teachings, and they learned a lot through orders like the Rosae Crucis and the Masons. When you look at Philadelphia, we have a Temple of Diana, which is the Art Museum. We have our Sphinx, which is George Washington on his horse. But if you line up the Giza Plateau with Philadelphia, the two line up similarly. So it’s almost like our DNA is building these cities to engage us more intuitively. On Tapping In, I want to illustrate places like Philadelphia and investigate what the founding fathers were thinking. Why’d they build it on a grid? Did they build it for happiness? And remember what happened when they wrote the Declaration of Independence at independence hall, one of our city’s real treasures—they actually wrote about the right to the pursuit of happiness.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is equivalent to an ancient temple of Diana.
Happiness for me has always come from music—I composed an anthem for Philadelphia that inspired an IMAX movie, Home of Freedom. When doing the music for my new show, I visited Bill Jolly—a great Philadelphia icon of music. He’s worked with Mariah Carey, Celine Deon, Aretha Franklin, and recently performed in the off-Broadway version of the new play, Lady Day. He helped me write the jingle for Tapping In, and I love his studio. There’s a lot of talent in Philadelphia and I like to expose that, too.
The annual Mummers Parade is a highlight of Philadelphia life.
I’m drawn to things in the city that there are only one of, like the Mummers parade on New Year’s Day. Philadelphia is the only place the Mummers are. That started in the 17th century—people would bring in the New Year. But why? These guys who are regular people, they’re policemen, they’re carpenters, learning to play the accordion or the banjo, and every week they’re practicing with their families. It’s a generational thing, and Philadelphia has incredible roots.”