I love to travel and I do believe it benefits me as a designer. With that being said, you don't necessarily need to buy a plane ticket to Peru to broaden your creativity or become a better designer. We can find great diversity much closer to home. I live in North Carolina. It's interesting to see how different people can be in various areas of my state. Of course, we're not talking about the magnitude that you'd see if you were to visit Haiti, but I would argue that it's much better than nothing at all.
You don't have to spend a ton of money to travel locally, but you can experience some of the same diversity that you'd see overseas.
I completely agree with you and I think it's awesome that you've applied this back to interactions in your own community. Truly, the principles that I introduce in the article can be applied at any scale (even in small interactions at the local coffee shop).
While I didn't specifically mention it in the article, I especially think that designers in the US could benefit from getting to know even their own country better. Many of us are based out of major metro areas, where everyone thinks and acts a certain way, but we're designing for populations much larger and more diverse than that. If you're designing a product that's being used by Middle America, you're not even going to begin to understand your audience when living in New York or San Francisco. There are so many opportunities to get out there, experience different cultures, develop empathy and a deeper understanding, take away some inspiration, and apply that back to our work.
Of course traveling to another country is on a completely different level. But I agree with you. Those who understand this concept (and will end up getting the most out of it), are those that can see how it's applicable at any level.
At any rate, my main goal with this is to encourage designers to prioritize travel in their lives and see the opportunities that it can present to help them get better at what they do. This mindset could be used as motivation to save up for a trip to Peru, or as inspiration to re-think ordinary everyday interactions. Both are valuable.
Great idea! Did you try it? Today it is not so easy to go everywhere due to the pandemic. I regret that I didn't travel more when I was younger and single :)
Guess I'll continue to suck at design. Traveling abroad for some of us is a very expensive and privileged activity.
I expected a bitter reply like this at some point. Fear not, I do have some thoughts for you.
- Sucking at design: I never even remotely suggested that if you don't travel, you'll suck at design. I am simply encouraging designers to get out there, interact with different people, and apply that back to their work. There are infinite ways to do this. You won't suck at design if you don't travel. You'll suck at design if you approach every experience or suggestion with negativity, anger, and bitterness. You'll suck at design if you focus on being outraged and upset that others are doing something that you aren't, rather than using it as inspiration and motivation to better yourself or your work.
- Expensive and privileged: This is precisely why I suggested re-thinking vacation time as a first step. It's simply a repurposing of existing resources. You don't have to go to a different country. Just getting out in your community and spending time with different people could be immensely valuable. The concepts that I introduced could be applied at any place, with any budget, in any time frame. But make no mistake, I agree with you that travelling and living abroad is a privilege. A privilege that I worked very hard for and absolutely earned, and a privilege that I encourage you and other designers to work for as well. Whether or not it has to be expensive is a completely different thing. I have traveled and lived with many people who came from nothing, and to this day have nothing. They've just elected a certain lifestyle and arranged their priorities in a way that places a high importance on travel.
Either travel, or don't. It's completely up to you and I was just making a humble and friendly suggestion, sharing a point of view. But don't inflict your bitterness on people who choose to work and live differently than you.
I really wasn't being bitter, more like snarky. I don't even disagree with you.
Maybe I'm mostly fatigued by the sentiment of travel as some sort of cure-all trope for almost any ailment, even though many people can't safely afford it, or find the risks too great, priorities conflict, or, well...find themselves sitting on a resort being enlightened poolside with margaritas and jodi picoult paperbacks.
It's just as exhausting a topic as "should designers code" to me at this point, so yeah, my sincerest apologies for the infliction.
Ah yeah, I get what you're saying. Perhaps you've been blasted with one too many variations of "Eat. Pray. Love". Even so, that doesn't diminish the value that travel can bring to creativity. I would also argue that while nomadic lifestyles are popular right now, the specific perspective that I introduced here was a new one. But agreed, there is nothing wrong with slamming some margaritas next to a pool for your vacation :)
Everything, to some degree can be seen as a privileged activity.