I went to the woods

While I was visiting my sister a few years ago, we were sitting at our old family dining table sharing answers to a Proust Questionnaire. She asked me, “What is your life motto?” “Oh, that one’s easy,” I said, quoting Henry David Thoreau:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Like most of us, I had first read Thoreau in high school. However this quote has stuck with me all these years.

And so, after much doubt, joy, fear, excitement, and everything in between, I got on a plane at LAX with my dog, Lila, and flew to Paris to live in another culture. For one and a half years we lived in France and Croatia, and travelled in Italy, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Bosnia i Hercegovina. The two of us travelled out of a 22″ suitcase since it’s the largest I could carry. As Lila needed more things, I left behind some of mine to make space, and began to feel like her sherpa.

I liked renting small apartments so we could live like locals. We shopped in outdoor markets and small convenience stores, and enjoyed meeting so many friendly shopkeepers in dućani and boulangeries. Language was no barrier since most locals enjoy helping you out if you’re friendly. I rented a car to get Lila places that weren’t served by train or ferry, and the rest of the time we loved a wonderful and healthy walking lifestyle that is so foreign to Southern California.

Eventually you need to touch home again. So Lila and I returned to the US to visit family and friends. We drove twice across from coast to coast, with some smaller roadtrips in between. We stayed 3 years. But “fernweh” got the better of me, and I wanted to take Lila back to her favorite place, Opatija, for her retirement. So we flew to Germany, and with our same 22” suitcase, we travelled by train through Germany, Austria and Italy, back to Croatia. 

You can share some of our memories here.

What does this have to do with Graphic Design? Everything.

Design, like travel, like life, is driven by goals, fueled by challenge, made richer by perspective, and informed by the people and the world around us.