I consider myself fortunate to have a day job where I get to travel often. I work as an entertainment producer by day and as a result have gotten to work and live in Los Angeles, New York City, New Orleans, Glasgow and recently even Doha, Qatar. When not producing I spend my time as an interior designer and having the opportunity to travel has made not just my life but my home that much richer.
I always knew I loved visiting other places, being a part of a new rhythm, a new culture, but each time I travel I am always slightly surprised by what I discover. I really shouldn’t be and yet, every new city is a new learning experience. There is something vulnerable about traveling, you are putting yourself out there and anytime you expose yourself you inevitably open yourself up.
Whenever I travel I come away with a new sense of appreciation for the people, the lifestyle, and the habits of the city I am in. It is no secret that traveling can make us better, more understanding and compassionate people, but it also makes us more creative by the widening of our experiences. This makes traveling a very personal practice.
I used to collect little mementos of places I travelled until one trip I decided I was done with the knick-knacks that collected dust and were quickly forgotten. I wanted something of worth, something substantial so I started saving my money to buy pieces I truly loved. I came home with a hand-made Mardi Gras mask from New Orleans, whiskey tea from Scotland and the most glorious glass lamp from the middle east. Each is unique to its place of origin and reminds me of the people, the experiences and the memories of where I have been.
As a designer we are taught to try and make a place harmonious-meaning a room should feel like it all goes together. So, at first thought all these random pieces should not go together. And truth be told if you are looking for a cookie cutter room in magazine proofed themes, then no my house is not going to work. But if you want something that is truly unique, that is special and holds meaning in every corner-then my house is brimming with it.
My travels have not just made me more interesting, it has made my home more interesting. It’s a place of treasures, memories and souvenirs that go beyond the airport gift shop. I am collecting pieces from around the world, hand crafted, artisan created, culturally significant pieces that make my rooms feel rich with history. Not everything I bring home is worth monetary value or is of museum quality, but it does not need to be. If it means something to me, if it is unique to me in some way and makes me feel something that I have not yet felt before- then it is of value.
I believe good designers can use what they have, take the pieces that evoke meaning and feelings and work a room around them. Your space should reflect who you are, what you like and makes you feel happy. Making a place look nice is only half the equation. Your home should be as unique as your story and that includes the places you have been.
So, travel often, even if you cannot go far. Open your world to something new, be vulnerable, and explore life! You (and your home) will be better for it.