The Working-Vacation Manifesto
“What do you do, Nishita?”
While at first I used to be a bit taken aback by this question, I now understand that it’s quite a valid one. I talk extensively of my travels, share photos and what not. But I barely ever bring forward the work which gives me the time (and money) to do all that travelling. So while today’s journal entry is not about any particular place or experience in itself, it is about the ideas and lifestyles that have influenced me as I traveled and learnt from new places and people. These ideas motivate me to design a life for myself in which I can be comfortable – physically, mentally and emotionally.
The answer to the “what” in the first question is not very difficult. It’s more about the “how”, I suppose, because the follow-up question is:
“How are you travelling all the time?”
I work as a visual & experience designer. I work on projects either independently under the name of Studio Folklore, or as a collaborator on bigger projects guided by seniors in the field. My job profile tends to evolve in accordance with the times, requirements and convenience. I have started dabbling in writing as well. While my skills and domain of work remain flexible, there is a single idea at the core of it all – to design a better way of life for myself and for others. (That’s a whole other 500 words, to be honest, and a story for another time which I will surely write.) Just last night, I managed to finally (FINALLY) complete my Portfolio which holds a large part of the work that I’ve created over the last 3 years. That’s more than 80 pieces of work in total – big and small, which I considered worth sharing. Putting all of that together over the last 2 weeks has certainly led to a lot of nostalgia and a bit of epiphanies.
I absolutely love my work.
It’s one of the most clichéd things that one can say. Obviously, like any other newbie in the professional space, I struggle immensely at times, in terms of managing my work, finances, dealing with clients and so on, but I am going to keep those out of today’s journal. Throughout all of that, I stay motivated simply because I love the work I do. I find it exciting to communicate stories to people – whether it is through a visual, a travel itinerary or an audio walk. It also does not tie me down to any particular location. I take up almost all the work that comes my way, big or small, and am working throughout the year regardless of my location, just not in the stereotypical “work-environment” that one would imagine. I freely set up my workstation wherever I am and my work travels with me because for me, “travel” is not the opposite of “work”. Both happily and graciously co-exist.
In a nutshell, I travel because I can. I can, because this is the life that I have picked for myself, and am constantly trying to improve.
Once back home, that working-vacation-mode lingers on even as I work from my living room couch in Delhi. From the siestas of Goa to the relaxed pace of life in Ladakh; from Copenhagen’s Hygge to Stockholm’s Fikas; from simple pleasures like eating the dessert first in my own ancestral culture to Kerala’s habit of drinking warm spiced water with every meal. The more I travel, the more I see, how beautiful life can possibly be. And there’s simply no reason for me to implement some of the many observations into my everyday life to make it better.
Manifesto: A public declaration of policy and aims
So here is my own little manifesto for the working-vacation state-of-mind, regardless of whether I am sitting in my own city or someone else's.
Like most other things which I write as a part of this travel journal, this is a reminder and guide for myself of the things that value the most.