David (DB): “Let’s quit our jobs and travel the world for a year,” Pari said to me one day.
Pari (PK): I got a burst of laughter followed by “You must’ve lost your mind. We can’t just quit our jobs. That’s not who we are.” He was right in a way...
It’s not. We both love our careers and are internally motivated to do good work and meet our responsibilities.
We don’t quit our jobs.
DB: But her idea never left the back of my mind. We both have an interest in learning about other cultures. (I minored in Anthropology and Pari has traveled extensively since she was a kid.) We both love food and trying cuisines new to us.
PK: And as designers, we’re always looking for sources of inspiration and are interested in learning how people from other cultures communicate through design and language.
We both have always envied people who step off the cliff and travel, living day by day and treating life like an adventure. But those are the people we follow on Instagram - they’re not us.
DB: “Were you serious about quitting our jobs and traveling?” I asked some time later.
PK: It had been a while and I had totally forgotten about our conversation, but when David asked me, I said “Yes” without missing a beat.
DB: While the decision had been made, you still can’t escape who you are. After reviewing finances and considering the long-term impact on our careers and bank accounts, we decided taking off for six months would be relatively more responsible than a year.
PK: So after the decision was made, I started doing my research and planning (Yes my OCD kicked in). In the process, I read a lot of travel blogs (which BTW are really helpful), and began to get inspired. So I said to David, “Let’s write a blog while we are traveling.”
DB: “That sounds an awful lot like work,” I said. The thought of sitting at a laptop every day made the vacation sound a lot less like a vacation. I had visions of sitting on a beach... or at a bar (PK: eye roll) and reading or playing games.
PK: “But we won’t do what everyone else does,” I said, “it’ll be about the design and branding we see and giving our perspectives as we travel.”
Since our design styles and sensibilities differ a bit, I think our blog would be a place to discuss the things we agree and disagree on. After some discussion (and squabbling) I think I convinced him. After all, I already had a name for the blog. Design Squabble.
So, the plan was to travel and use the free time as an opportunity to look at design and branding in other countries and share our thoughts. We also hoped to carry that information with us to enrich our work moving forward. Our original itinerary had been Dubai, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, South Korea, China, Bhutan and India followed by some time in Europe. We left home on Sunday, February 2, 2020 and followed three weeks in Dubai with an amazing 10 days in Sri Lanka and two weeks in India.
All of this was while the unthinkable was unfolding around the world as COVID-19 spread with no signs of slowing down. We reached a point when we knew it was unsafe and irresponsible to travel. We returned to Dubai and are staying inside and waiting it out with the rest of the world. Cutting our trip short is minor compared to what so many people are going through. We and our families are healthy, and we’re thankful for that. The blog has actually given us something to focus on while being stuck inside without other work to do, so we decided to continue.
We write this with six ideas from our travels, so what we do after that will require us to revise our goal of writing a blog focused on travel and design. We hope you’ll join us in our now sedentary adventures as we write about branding, user experience and visual design in a rapidly changing world. Please leave comments and feel free to offer insights into our topics from your own unique perspectives.