Why it is Essential for Designers to Travel

Flying is the closest I will ever get to time travel. I am entering a new time zone barreling over the Atlantic in a metal container next to my wife, surrounded by strangers separated by time and language. I am led by inspiration, aided by naivety and fueled by curiosity. Traveling for designers, no matter the cost, is valuable. It allows for learning to occur, redefines our process and changes our outlooks through comparative experiences.

The ability to experience as a learner
Having moments of uncertainty allows you to regain a sense of education about yourself and your environment. You only can have these souvenir moments by allowing yourself to be disconnected. Being disconnected is being vulnerable for these experiences to be found and reveal important things you did not know. Disconnection is turning off your devices—even yourself. By allowing these experiences of getting lost, not understanding a language, using foreign currency and many other what would seem intangible circumstances in your comfort zone, you are allowing yourself the ability of how to learn again in a space that is foreign to your understanding.

The routine designed for yourself can be broken
Our habitual routine defines who we are. Whether it is a certain style of work, thinking or problem solving, we grow accustomed to the routine(s) we have designed for ourselves. Traveling allows you, the designer, to reconfirm whether this style is even worth keeping, and allows for immediate change to your predisposed process. Routine and process are dictated steps towards a common goal, and are able to work hand-in-hand for the majority of cases. Despite this claim, your routine can definitely impact your process for better or worse. In route to an unknown place, a new state of being, routines are broken and temporary moments of rediscovery are implemented.

The opportunity for deep reflection through comparisons
Perspective comparisons are shown through every imaginable circumstance in your new destination. It is the food you eat, the textures on the walls, the sounds in motion, new landscapes, getting lost, meeting new people, finding beauty in graffiti, discovering new music…you get the idea. The fact is that comparative objects of discovery are literally everywhere. It is up to us to understand how new people, places and things apply to our own life through reflection. By equating what is new, we are able to change what is old. This usually comes at the end of your trip, once these experiences have had time to filter. These memories become keepsakes that promote change when you arrive back home and attempt to begin your daily functions.

As long as we are changing as designers, we are growing as designers. The continual pursuit of perpetual busyness can be laid aside. You are now free to move about the cabin.