The Traveling Designer

Many of us have dreams of traveling that are often separate from the goals we have for our careers. It can be hard to imagine how traveling and your career can become one and the same. Maybe you occasionally witness someone else in a far-off walk of life make it work, but traveling as part of your career may not seem like a possible reality – I’m here to say it can be.

I wanted to introduce you to a friend of mine, Nadine. Nadine and I graduated from Architecture School together in March of 2014 and she has essentially been traveling and designing since. She has sought out many design opportunities around the world and is currently working in an office in Bangkok. Here is what she has to say about her experience thus far:

What made you decide to travel for work?

I’ve always traveled a lot, it’s always been a passion of mine. I find a lot of inspiration from traveling to new places. The most inconsequential and mundane details of life that you take for granted at home become really interesting and different when experienced in new cultures and places around the world. I draw a lot of inspiration from my surroundings when I’m traveling. Because it has been such a passion of mine, I’ve always tried to find ways to combine it with different career and design opportunities.

What kind of work do you participate in with your design firm in Bangkok?

The firm is an all-around design and creative consultancy. We do everything from branding, logos, graphic design, and packaging design, all the way up to installations, exhibits, and events. With my 3D modeling and architecture background I’m a part of the 3D team, so I have been focusing on a lot of sculptures, hanging installations, and event spaces.

How does your design experience in Bangkok compare to Calgary?

It has been fairly similar in terms of the design process where it is quite collaborative. To begin with, the office is setup very much like a studio where everyone can brainstorm ideas. At the same time we’re delegated certain projects that we work on independently and then we’ll get together as groups occasionally to talk about them further. It’s a very similar pattern of working.

You have been involved in design projects all over the world – Calgary, Ireland, Australia, Portugal, and Bangkok. So far, do you have a favourite place and/or experience?

They all stand out, but one doesn’t stand out more than the others because they have all been so different. The projects that I had been involved in while in Portugal and Ireland have been really neat because I had the chance to work with a bunch of international design students from all different disciplines and countries. You really get this eclectic mix of different people working together with a lot of different perspectives that result in a lot of different design outcomes when you have that type of collaboration. Also, I loved the time in Australia, especially in Al Dinga. We got to design and build a project and work with a community. I loved working through the design all the way to the end.

What advice would you pass on to designers interested in traveling with design?

Just do it! I think that a lot of times there is a fear of the unknown that holds a lot of people back. The first step is to make the decision to go. In terms of design, you can only benefit from travel. There is so much inspiration from new surroundings, people, and cultures. As a designer you often draw upon different aspects of your life for inspiration and travel really gives you so many of those experiences. All the sights, sounds, smell, etc., really grab your attention because they are all so new. Not to mention the opportunities to work with so many people of different backgrounds and areas of expertise.

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